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Rehkop v. Berwick Healthcare Corp.

September 12, 1996

ROBERT A. REHKOP,

APPELLANT

v.

BERWICK HEALTHCARE CORPORATION; BERWICK HOSPITAL CENTER; WYOMING VALLEY HEALTH CARE SYSTEM, INC.; ALEX KERIS; DAVID KASPUTIS; HENRY MANDEL; DAVID MATISSE; THOMAS SPATT; THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE BERWICK HEALTHCARE CORPORATION



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

(D.C. Civ. No. 95-cv-00668)

Before: BECKER and MANSMANN, Circuit Judges, and BROTMAN, District Judge. *fn*

MANSMANN, Circuit Judge.

Argued June 4, 1996

Filed September 12, 1996)

OPINION OF THE COURT

In this civil RICO complaint, Robert A. Rehkop alleged that he was discharged from his position as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist in retaliation for refusing to complete what he contends were fraudulent Medicare, Medicaid, and Medical Assistance forms and for reporting this activity to the FBI. The district court dismissed the complaint, holding that Rehkop did not suffer an injury "substantially caused" by the RICO enterprise pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section(s) 1962(c). The court further dismissed the section 1962(d) conspiracy count, after finding Rehkop's claim under section 1962(c) deficient.

We hold that the district court correctly dismissed the section 1962(c) count. Nonetheless, in light of our opinion in Shearin v. E.F. Hutton Group, Inc., 885 F.2d 1162 (3d Cir. 1989), Rehkop is not precluded from alleging a RICO conspiracy under section 1962(d). Thus we will reverse the district court's dismissal of the conspiracy count and remand also for reinstatement of the pendent state law claims.

I. *fn1

In January of 1990, Rehkop was hired as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist by the Berwick Healthcare Corporation to provide services at the Berwick Hospital Center. *fn2

Berwick Hospital Center provided anesthesia services to the public, participating in Medicare, Medicaid and Medical Assistance as these programs are established and administered by the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. An anesthesiologist, David Kasputis, M.D., was hired to provide the anesthesia services; Alex Keris was the Chief Nurse Anesthetist and Manager of the Anesthesia Department. Keris was Rehkop's direct supervisor. For the anesthesia services provided, Keris and Kasputis submitted claims for payment to the federal and state programs and received payment for covered patients.

Rehkop alleges that Keris and Kasputis submitted fraudulent claims and received payment, through the United States Postal Service, to which they were not entitled, subjecting them to civil and criminal penalties under 42 U.S.C. Section(s) 1320a, 7a and 7b and Pa. Stat. Ann. tit. 62, Section(s) 1407 and constituting mail fraud under 18 U.S.C. Section(s) 1341.

Rehkop further alleges that he was required to complete claim forms, but when he learned that the claims were fraudulent, he refused to do so. He contends that he reported the activity to Henry Mandel, Vice-President of Human Resources of Berwick Hospital Center. Although Mandel advised Rehkop that he would discuss the matter with Chief Financial Officer David Matisse, Mandel did not contact Rehkop, so Rehkop approached Matisse directly. Matisse allegedly told Rehkop that he had discussed the situation with both Thomas Spatt, Chief Executive Officer of Berwick Hospital Center, and with the Board of Directors of Berwick Healthcare Corporation and was told not to pursue the matter. Rehkop then reported these activities to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Rehkop contends that it was after these conversations that he began to receive unfounded and untrue disciplinary actions signed by Keris. He also experienced lengthy delays in the payment of funds due him for his professional services and as reimbursement for ...


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