Lawyer defends Swarup settlement decision


By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The law firm representing local ophthalmologist Dr. Jitendra Swarup on Friday defended Swarup’s decision to pay a $2.9 million settlement to resolve allegations he took kickbacks from medical suppliers.

The law firm, Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick and Raspanti, issued a press release about the settlement after The Daily Advance attempted to contact Swarup, a physician at Albemarle Eye Center in Elizabeth City, about the matter.

The U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Minnesota announced the settlement the week before last, reporting Swarup entered into the settlement to resolve a whistleblower’s claims he received “unlawful remunerations” from medical suppliers Sightpath and Precision Lens, including luxurious vacations and got excessive payments for consulting agreements

The U.S. Attorney’s Office noted that Swarup was not admitting wrongdoing by accepting the settlement — a point also noted by Swarup’s attorney, Marc Raspanti, in the press release.

“Dr. Swarup was forced to make a difficult business decision to avoid years of expensive and disruptive litigation, 1,300 miles away in Minnesota, and instead focus on continuing to provide high-quality care to his patients,” Raspanti said in the release.

The law firm’s press release also states that the allegations against Swarup “focused solely” on his business dealings with Sightpath, and claimed his written agreements were reviewed by legal counsel and “a significant portion of the payments that Dr. Swarup received were to reimburse him for using his own surgical technicians,” in a savings to Sightpath. Swarup also hasn’t received consulting payments from Sightpath since 2015, the release states.

The U.S. Attorney’s announcement also said the allegations against Swarup  involved payments from 2006 to 2015.

Raspanti’s release also stated Swarup “cooperated fully” with the government’s investigation, and “no criminal charges have been or will be filed against him.”

The release also notes Swarup was not accused of mistreating or overcharging patients, and touts his “unblemished” record with the N.C. Medical Board and the Board of Medicine in Virginia, which oversee physicians in their respective states and maintain records of adverse actions and malpractice claims against doctors.

The law firm’s release also noted Swarup will pay the settlement over three years.