Doctor suing lawyer for breaching alleged referral deal raises concerns
Steve Grover promised Dr. Jean-Pierre Kamel compensation for patient referrals, claims court documents
The Law Society of Alberta says it appears a Calgary lawyer may have breached the code of conduct for allegedly agreeing to split legal fees with a local doctor.
Court documents claim Steve Grover promised Dr. Jean-Pierre Kamel half of his legal fees in exchange for patient referrals.
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Dr. Kamel says in court documents obtained by CBC News that he referred 600 patients to Grover but wasn't paid.
He is seeking $2 million in a lawsuit. Grover hasn't filed a statement of defence yet.
Executive director Don Thompson says the law society is aware of the statement of claim but can't say whether an investigation is underway.
"One of those specific rules is that lawyers can't split their fees with a non-lawyer, so that really makes it improper for them to say, 'I'm going to take a referral fee or I'm going to work with some non-lawyer who brings me work and I split my fee with them.' So that's prohibited," he said.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons won't comment specifically on this case, but spokesperson Kelly Eby says if the agreement exists it may breach the physicans' code of conduct.
"There are two key pieces in the code of ethics, one is to not exploit patients for any personal benefit in any way, shape or form," she said. "That's also repeated in the CPSA code of conduct. And also in the code of ethics, physicians are required to recognize and disclose any conflicts of interest that they may have."
Dr. Ian Mitchell, an ethicist at the University of Calgary, says this appears to be a conflict.
"The difficulty is if you have conflicts of interests, even if they're declared, they may affect your judgment [and] you may not do the right thing medically," he said.
CBC News has tried to contact Dr. Kamel and Grover, but calls have not been returned.