Friday, July 19, 2019

Court Denies Dr. Wolfe TRO

Dr. Walter Wolfe will remain suspended from practicing medicine.  Hinds County Chancellor Tiffany Grove denied his petition for a temporary restraining order against the Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure.  The Board suspended his license last week without a hearing. 
The Board suspended his license without a hearing last week, claiming Dr. Wolfe posed an immediate danger to the public.  Dr. Wolfe asked Chancellor Tiffany Grove to issue a temporary restraining order against the Board and reinstate his license.

The Board began investigating Dr. Wolfe in November.  The Board said he had an affair with a patient and later impregnated her.  A physician assistant saw him kiss the patient before he gave her an ultrasound and reported him.  The woman's ex-husband sued him for alienation of affection.  The case settled a year ago.  The Board accused him of sexual assault and having sex with a patient.

Dr. Wolfe said the woman in question is now his wife and the baby is their child.  He said the Board investigated him for months yet suddenly decided to suspend him without a hearing.  The Board renewed his license on July 1.

The Board said it didn't suspend Dr. Wolfe until after it completed the investigation. It said the investigation took so long because Dr. Wolfe did everything in his power to stop it. He sued the Board in Hinds County Chancery Court in April in an effort to stop the investigation. He filed motions to quash all subpoenas in May. The Board says Dr. Wolfe is trying to have it both ways- going to court to delay the investigation while claiming its not fair to suspend him because the investigation took so long.

The Chancellor said it couldn't determine there was "a substantial likelihood that Dr. Wolfe would prevail on the merits."   She cited the Board's expert testimony as well:

The Board also submitted affidavits of their "expert witnesses," the same two physicians Ross consulted, who both opine that Dr. Wolfe poses an immediate threat to the public. One of the physicians consulted by the Board, C.M.A. (Max) Rogers, IV, M.D., stated in his affidavit that it is his professional opinion "that Dr. Wolfe is a sexual predator, utilizing his office, controlled substances, and his practice in Obstetrics and Gynecology, as a means of predation upon his vulnerable patients" and that Dr. Wolfe is "an imminent threat to not only the citizens of Mississippi, but to any patient that should enter his care." See Affidavit of CM.A. (Max) Rogers, IV, M.D., FACOG, ,i,i 4-6. In considering the Board's determination of imminent threat, "there is a rebuttable presumption in favor of the agency decision and the burden of proof is on the party challenging that decision." Montalvo v. Mississippi State Bd. of Medical Licensure, 671 So.2d 53, 56 (Miss. 1996).

Dr. Wolfe complained he was suspended without a hearing but the Chancellor said his rights are protected at the July 24 hearing.  He can appeal an unfavorable decision to Chancery Court.

MBML Executive Director Dr. Ken Cleveland submitted an affidavit to the Court yesterday.  The affidavit is posted below.  


Anonymous said...

Go, Ken Cleveland!!!! Yea!!!

Anonymous said...

The Chancellor "denied" Wolfe's motion for a TRO. The order is up now. She held the hearing yesterday.

Now, raise your hand if you argued on here that the chancellor would grant the TRO. No hands - thought so!

Anonymous said...

"Dr. Wolfe is a sexual predator".......

That's pretty rough.

Anonymous said...

The only persons claiming Wolfe would win his TRO petition in the other post was Wolfe himself, who clearly didn't know the law.

Anonymous said...


We are counting on you for this one. Go to the Board hearing, take your camera. This should be an interesting one.

Your Fandom

Anonymous said...

Not true, 2:33...Unless Wolfe posted forty times.

Anonymous said...

12:54, I said the TRO would be granted. You obviously don’t practice law. 1. All of those that predicted the outcome did so from a bird’s eye perspective. 2. Chancery is a court is equity and chancellors are given great discretion. I’ve had similar cases with similar facts decided differently just because of two different judges. 3. There’s a plethora of case law that shows judges reach the wrong conclusion all the time. My point is there is no shame in incorrectly predicting the judge’s decision. A different day and a different judge, and you might have been calling me a genius with a crystal ball.

Anonymous said...

I’ve litigated these cases. I expected the chancellor to grant the TRO. Oh well. Never know what you’re gonna get with a new chancellor. I’ve never been before her. The board has good counsel, as well.

Anonymous said...

I, too, believed it was more likely than not that the TRO would be granted based on the fact that there was no evidence that the doctor was an immediate danger to his patients. The Board's "expert" just declared Dr. Wolfe was an immediate danger.

As 7:31 alluded to, no lawyer would predict with certainty what a particular Judge will do in a specific case. It's just an educated guess. Plus Judge Grove was an unknown. I've not had a case with her since she took office earlier this year

Anonymous said...

I’m not as smart as you attorneys and I’ve noticed a few people have simply said there was no evidence. Do you really believe they have made all evidence public? Why would they?

Anonymous said...

Well, you were wrong. Stop making excuses.

Anonymous said...

The lawyers who predicted that the TRO would "not" be granted were the smartest lawyers. The doctor's lawyer and those lawyers in the other thread who predicted that the judge would grant the TRO obviously didn't understand the law or the practicalities.

Obviously, as the chancellor found, the four factors necessary for a TRO weren't proven by Wolfe's lawyer. Practically speaking, it would cause a public outrage if a judge were to grant a TRO to require the medical board to reinstate the license of an alleged "sexual predator" doctor after the medical board (that regulates doctors' licenses) had suspended him by taking emergency action provided by statute. The people who have common sense knew what would be the likely outcome.

Anonymous said...

7:31, 8:24 and 9:44 are either: a) the same lawyer; b) Wolfe; or c) lawyers that got their law degree online.

Anonymous said...

I sure am glad that the MS Bar can't revoke a lawyer's license, with no due process, because some "expert" declares him/her to be a sexual predator and an immediate danger, with no proof to support that allegation. The rule of law all of a sudden has meaning to you when you are in the crosshairs.

Anonymous said...

9:52, if that lawyer is also a practicing gynecologist, then yes, he could have his medical license revoked under those circumstances.

The chancellor ruled that the underlying controversy is whether Dr. Wolfe posed an immediate threat to the public (his patients). All those who insisted that the "likelihood of prevailing on the merits" issue was centered on the lack of due process got it wrong. Please admit it.

Anonymous said...

@9:52, if you've read the filings that Kingfish has been taking the time to make available on his blog, you'd know that the board's lawyer had previously provided the "expert" affidavit to Dr. Wolfe's lawyer, and stated that he would provide them to the chancellor in chambers instead of filing them for public view. Dr. Wolfe's lawyer should have been prepared for it, and he should have had an opposing expert at the hearing to counter the board's expert. But, he didn't.

Anonymous said...

At least Dr. Wolfe will have to keep his fingers out of the cookie jar for a while.

Anonymous said...

I said that the "likelihood of prevailing on the merits" issue was centered on the immediate danger issue. Some argued on here that it was about the liklihood that Dr. Wolfe would prevail at the Board hearing, which was incorrect.

I read the papers KF published, including the Board's Order where they discussed their so- called proof of immediate danger, which was zero, other than the expert declaring it.

Most Chancellors grant the TRO under these facts, as others have pointed out. The Board got lucky.

This argument, which has been fun, is really academic because even if the TRO had been granted, the Board is surely going to revoke his license permanently on July 24. Maison has a tough job going forward.

Anonymous said...

I didn't make any predictions about the granting or denial of the TRO, but I did suggest that the chancery courts were courts of equity and it didn't appear to be equitable _under this set of facts as pleaded_ that Wolfe should be qualified to have his license renewed on July 1 and suspended a week or so later because he was "a danger to the public" - the board apparently had the same information at renewal as at suspension and the allegations seem "iffy." I failed to consider what the chancellor concluded: that equity to the board should also be considered and weighed. Frankly, having read the chancellor's ruling, I would say she got it generally right: Wolfe's practice will not suffer substantive harm without the TRO since the "the public" is already aware of the suspension and the hearing is now less than a week away. Wolfe will be able to put forth his argument(s) and defense(s), which is his first step in this process. I think I now know why the TRO was sought, but I'll just keep it to myself at this point.

Kingfish said...

If I go, won't see much. Most, if not all of hearing, will be in executive session.

Anonymous said...

Lots of legal excuses and backtracking on here by the lawyer who predicted that Wolfe would get the TRO.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Wolfe lost on the TRO so he didn't get his license un-suspended, and he won't be practicing medicine before the hearing next week. All his lawyer did was piss off and alienate the Executive Director, essentially calling him incompetent and a liar. After the hearing, Dr. Wolfe won't be practicing medicine for a long time, and he will probably never practice as an OB-Gyn ever again. It's very possible that he may never get his license back at all, and never practice medicine again. This thing was poorly handled.

Anonymous said...

Something about this case has been bothering me to the point that I looked it up on a Friday night. How is it that the issue of "immediate threat," justifying revocation without a hearing under Section 73-25-89, is part of the "merits" of the underlying action, which is whether the Board proves by a preponderance of the evidence any of the grounds for revocation in Section 73-25-29?

I think the answer is that, under Section 73-25-27, an appeal to the chancery court from an adverse ruling of the Board acts as supercedeas, allowing the doctor to continue practicing until the chancery court rules on it. So, I suppose the Board has to prove the doctor is an immediate threat at the full hearing in order to prevent him from practicing while he appeals the Board's order.

Yes, I know I need to get a life.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable the number of learned 'your honors' and 'esquires' who predicted wrongly on this one. But, true to form, they're all crawfishing now and claiming they predicted this or nothing at all. Shall we play back the tape or read from the deposition?

Lawyers are no different from the general population. Only difference is they make less money.

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