Santa Barbara- S County

Surgeon at center of District Attorney investigation is subject of lawsuit

Staff surgeon sues Dr. Richard Scheinberg

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - NewsChannel 3 obtained new details in a legal battle involving a Santa Barbara surgeon whose office was raided by authorities last month.

Court documents now show a civil lawsuit was filed against Dr. Richard Scheinberg by another orthopedic surgeon.

The documents date back to a 2015 case and were unsealed just days ago by a judge.

Dr. Michael Price states in the complaint that he was hired by Scheinberg in 2014. Price claims during his employment, he became aware that Scheinberg was involved in "various illegal activities and schemes," including prescribing excessive medications to patients and allowing unlicensed staff members to sign prescriptions and other medical documents.

In the complaint, Price states that Scheinberg had "complete disregard of, the health, safety and welfare of patients, many of whom were indigent and unsophisticated."

Scheinberg has offices in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Oxnard and Bakersfield. According to the Scheinberg Orthopedic Group website, Scheinberg has more than 30 years practice experience and is currently on staff at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, the Pueblo Surgery Center and Carrillo Surgery Center.

Scheinberg retains his medical privileges despite an on-going investigation by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office. Police raided Scheinberg's offices at the end of June, at the same time District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced launching an investigation into his practice.

NewsChannel 3 reached out to both Scheinberg's and Price's attorneys, as well as the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

The D-A's office would neither confirm nor deny that Price's lawsuit is linked to its investigation into Scheinberg, however, did say that Dudley and investigators are "well aware of the contents of the complaint."

Glenn Vanzura, Scheinberg's attorney with Irell and Manella in Los Angeles, responded with the statement below:

"Dr. Scheinberg is one of the most well-respected medical professionals in Santa Barbara County. His priority has always been the health and care of his patients, and he is widely beloved by them for his dedication to their well-being. The years-old civil complaint by a disgruntled former employee is completely meritless, and we look forward to addressing it in court.

As to the District Attorney's investigation, we look forward to working with the investigators to ensure a speedy and just resolution. In the meantime, Dr. Scheinberg's focus remains on caring for his patients."

The attorney representing Price has not yet responded to NewsChannel 3's request for a statement. 

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