NJ Attorney General Pursues Case against abortionists Steven Brigham and Vikram Kaji

Attorney general says banned doctor still running Englewood abortion clinic

An abortion doctor who lost his license in New Jersey and has been banned from practicing in other states is illegally exerting control over women’s clinics in Englewood and several other locations, the state attorney general has charged.

Dr. Steven C. Brigham in a 2012 file photo.

AP FILE PHOTO
Dr. Steven C. Brigham in a 2012 file photo.

Additionally, the facility known as Englewood Women’s Services — one of 14 in a chain of clinics that extends to Maryland and Virginia — filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors this week after a federal judge in Maryland three weeks ago awarded $6.5 million to a former patient in a malpractice case.

Dr. Steven C. Brigham, who lost his New Jersey license in November 2014 after illegally performing abortions in Maryland, has been plagued by controversy throughout a career in which he estimated he performed 40,000 abortions — including late-term procedures — even though he never completed a residency in obstetrics or gynecology.

The website for the chain known as American Women’s Services promises low fees, immediate appointments and “private expert care with over 35 years experience.”

After New Jersey revoked Brigham’s license, the state ordered him to divest of all financial interest in the chain of clinics. The physician purported to sign over interests to another doctor who performed abortions at the clinic and then became a medical director after the state suspended Brigham’s license, the state alleges.

“We are arguing that the transfer of ownership was a sham and that through the management services agreement, Brigham is still exerting control over the practice that ought to be exercised by an owner,” said Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office.

There is no evidence or indication that Brigham “is engaging in any clinical practice,” Loriquet said.

The bankruptcy filing, which seeks Chapter 11 protection, lists “Dr. Steven C. Brighman” of Voorhees as an owner of the company. The Englewood clinic on Grand Avenue is behind $51,847 on rent, and an eviction is pending, according to court documents. Total assets and liabilities are estimated in the filing at no more than $50,000 each.

On Wednesday, the Englewood clinic’s landlord won a default judgment because no one appeared in court to represent the clinic, a court official said.

Hackensack lawyer Donald T. Bonomo, who is representing the Englewood clinic in bankruptcy court in Newark, said that it “will continue to operate” as it reorganizes. He declined to comment on the status of Brigham’s medical license or on clinic managers’ identities or credentials. As the bankruptcy attorney, he is not involved in those matters, he said.

A woman who answered the phone at the Englewood clinic this week identified herself as Skylar Hamilton, a “communications assistant,” and said Brigham was not available.

Joseph M. Gorrell, an attorney representing Brigham before the state Board of Medical Examiners, said Wednesday the physician has appealed the revocation, and oral arguments have not yet been scheduled. Brigham remains on the revoked physician list and owes the state more than $500,000 in fines and other costs, Loriquet said.

Began in South Jersey

Brigham, long accused of botched abortions in more than two dozen years of practice, lost his New Jersey license after questionable practices in Maryland.

He began the abortion process in a South Jersey clinic, then directed women — or had his staff drive them — to a clinic he owned in Maryland where the surgical part of the procedure would be performed. However, he was not licensed to conduct surgeries after the first trimester. In advanced cases, they have to be performed in hospitals and he doesn’t have admitting privileges or special qualifications, like residency training, which is required under New Jersey state law, officials said.

One patient from South Carolina claimed in a 2015 lawsuit against Brigham and others that in 2012 she underwent a failed non-surgical abortion at an American Women’s Services-affiliated clinic in Frederick, Md., resulting in the birth of a child more than 10 weeks premature, with hearing loss, developmental delays, heart defects and other problems.

On Aug. 5, Judge J. Frederick Motz granted the woman a $6.5 million judgment against Brigham and the other defendants.

The recent investigation into the control of the 14 clinics is tied to a complaint New Jersey filed against a physician affiliated with Brigham — Vikram H. Kaji — an 80-year-old board certified obstetrician and gynecologist, who has served as medical director at all clinic locations.

In addition to Englewood, clinics are located in: Elizabeth, Hamilton, Phillipsburg, Galloway, Toms River, Voorhees and Woodbridge in New Jersey. In Maryland, clinics are located in Baltimore, Cheverly, Frederick and Silver Spring.

In Virginia, there’s a clinic in Virginia Beach and Fairfax, but state regulators suspended the license of the Fairfax facility in April after finding a number of problems including unsanitary equipment, expired medication and failure to follow proper care protocols – 52 pages in all.

“The license remains suspended,” said Maribeth Brewster, a spokeswoman for Virginia regulators.

Kaji began working for Brigham as an independent contractor to perform abortions in 1996. In 2010, Kaji took over as medical director at all clinic locations when Brigham’s license was temporarily suspended and he was prohibited from serving in the job, according to the complaint the state filed against Kaji in June 2015.

The board received a stock certificate in March 2015 that purported to show Brigham transferred complete ownership to Kaji as a condition of Brigham’s losing his license. The two physicians also sent a transfer of ownership notice for three of the locations — Elizabeth, Englewood and Hamilton — to the state Department of Health, which registers the facilities, according to state documents.

In May 2015, Kaji testified under oath before a board panel and denied being the owner, according to the state complaint.

Kaji said Brigham continued to fulfill the obligations as owner in all clinic locations in New Jersey and beyond, state documents show. Kaji “expressly testified that ‘there is no other person around, [Brigham’s] the only one who runs the show,’” according to the complaint.

In fact, Kaji during testimony said of the ownership transfer: “It was just a technical paper transaction so the business could go on.”

Kaji “aided and abetted the unlicensed practice of medicine in allowing Brigham to maintain ownership of AWS, a professional service corporation, an activity for which a medical license is required,” the state complaint alleges.

Gorrell, who is also representing Kaji, declined to comment pending a hearing scheduled for Sept. 12 and 13 on the move to suspend Kaji’s license.

‘Cut enough corners’

Brigham has been the subject of many disciplinary hearings in New Jersey and elsewhere over the last two decades. Brigham left Pennsylvania in 1992, agreeing never to practice in the state again, according to a series of stories The Record published in 1994 on a three-state inquiry into the physician.

The agreement was reached after a confidential investigation by the Pennsylvania medical board, but authorities at the time refused to divulge further information. New York and New Jersey had investigated the physician on allegations of malpractice.

In November 1994, New York revoked the physician’s license after two women undergoing late-term abortions were injured, one of whom suffered a perforated uterus and one who bled for hours before being taken to an emergency room. New Jersey was undertaking its own efforts to revoke Brigham’s license, in some instance, citing the same cases, The Record found in 1994.

The attorney general pressed the state board at the time to revoke Brigham’s license, but the board chose to allow hearings to continue.

Two decades later, the New Jersey board revoked Brigham’s license after he practiced medicine in Maryland without a license. The order cited a New Jersey administrative law judge’s findings: After reviewing Brigham’s extensive track record of disciplinary actions in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida, the judge noted that “Dr. Brigham has finally cut enough corners.”

An attorney representing Brig­ham said there were 23 times that another doctor performed the surgery, not Brigham himself. He argued that he had a “consultive relationship” that allowed him to practice in Maryland.

Abortionist Who Lost License Manages Clinics

NJRTL’s comment:

Marie Tasy, executive director for New Jersey Right to Life, said she “applauded the Attorney General for pursuing this case and hopes their case against Kaji and Brigham will prevail.”

“This is just more of the usual legal semantic gymnastics and abuse of the law we have come to expect from Brigham and Kaji,” Tasy added. “The fact that Brigham is still in charge of these clinics in an administrative capacity is deeply disturbing and in contravention of New Jersey law. The real losers in all of this are unsuspecting women who frequent these clinics.”

steven brigham abortion doctor
Steven Chase Brigham, seen in this file photo at a Board of Medical Examiners hearing, manages the abortion clinics he said he no longer owns. The state revoked his license in 2014.

Susan K. Livio | NJ Advance Media for NJ.comBy Susan K. Livio | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on February 02, 2016 at 11:53 AM, updated February 02, 2016 at 4:45 PM

TRENTONThe doctor stripped of his license for committing “gross negligence”while performing late-term abortions is managing the seven clinics he used to own, according to a document released Tuesday by the state Board of Medical Examiners.

The revelation that Steven Brigham is still linked to American Women’s Services was contained in a 24-page decision from state’s physician disciplinary board that said the true ownership of the clinics ought to be decided by a judge.

The ruling is at least a temporary victory for Vikram Kaji, the clinics’ long-time medical director whom Brigham tapped to take ownership after the board revoked Brigham’s license in 2014. He had to divest himself from the business because the state requires medical practices to be owned by a physician.

In June, Deputy Attorney General Bindi Merchant asked the medical board to immediately suspend or revoke Kaji’s license for fraud, alleging the transfer from Brigham to Kaji was a “sham.”

Instead, an administrative law judge will decide the matter and turn the recommendation over to the board for a final decision.

N.J. Attorney General: Abortion doctor unlawfully owns clinics

N.J. Attorney General: Abortion doctor unlawfully owns clinics

The allegations accuse 79-year-old gynecologist Vikram H. Kaji of fraud for claiming he had assumed ownership of clinics after Steven Brigham’s license was yanked for gross negligence. Brigham has appealed the decision.

Merchant produced statements Kaji made to a state investigator in April and a committee of the board in May, denying he was the owner. “He expressly testified that ‘there is no other person around, (Brigham’s) the only one who runs the show,” according to the Merchant’s complaint.

But Joseph Gorrell, the attorney for both Kaji and Brigham, challenged the state’s case, producing records and new testimony from Kaji who he claimed was “confused” by the questions. No property had changed hands, and the business itself was losing money, so there was no actual sale, according to the decision.

Gorrell produced a contract that showed Kaji had hired Fidelity Venture Services, a management company owned by Brigham.

“He has absolutely no clinical responsibilities. He is acting as a manager which does not require a license,” Gorrell said. The management company was established long before the dispute, he added.

The board ultimately agreed that it could not move ahead on a decision about Kaji’s license under a summary judgment motion. “There are material facts that are genuinely disputed,” according to the decision.

“We are pleased with the decision, which we believe is correct because there are significant factual disputes in the case,” Gorrell said.

Marie Tasy, executive director for New Jersey Right to Life, said she “applauded the Attorney General for pursuing this case and hopes their case against Kaji and Brigham will prevail.”

“This is just more of the usual legal semantic gymnastics and abuse of the law we have come to expect from Brigham and Kaji,” Tasy added. “The fact that Brigham is still in charge of these clinics in an administrative capacity is deeply disturbing and in contravention of New Jersey law. The real losers in all of this are unsuspecting women who frequent these clinics.”

The board suspended Brigham’s license in 2010 after the state argued he used the two-state process to evade New Jersey’s requirement that terminating pregnancies must take place in a hospital or licensed health care facility after 14 weeks. Brigham did not have hospital privileges at the time and is not an obstetrician or a gynecologist. His license was revoked in 2014, but Brigham has appealed.

From his main office in Voorhees, Brigham inserted Laminaria, a device to expand his patients’ cervixes, and administered a shot of Digoxin to cause “fetal demise.” At his instruction, his patients later drove to drive to a clinic in Elkton, Md. where the fetus would be surgically removed by another doctor in consultation with Brigham.

One patient was severely injured during the medical procedure in Maryland and needed to be airlifted to a hospital.

Brigham was not licensed to practice medicine in Maryland, but he thought he was following Maryland law that allowed its doctors to consult with out-of-state physicians, his attorney said.

Susan K. Livio may be reached at slivio@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @SusanKLivio. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.

NJ AG Investigation Reveals Fraudulent Scheme by Two Disgraced Abortionists

Brigham

 

Please read the story below regarding Steven Brigham, M.D. and his associate, Vikram Kaji, M.D., two disgraced abortionists who, according to a recent complaint, engaged in a “sham transfer” which “constitutes the use or employment of dishonesty, deception, misrepresentation, false promise or false pretense.” The June 16, 2015 complaint issued by the NJ Attorney General also said Kaji “aided and abetted the unlicensed practice of medicine.”

NJRTL had written to the Attorney General a few months ago urging that action be taken against Kaji based on his past reccord once we learned that Brigham supposedly transferred ownership to him. You can read the letter at the link below.

Kaji has a history of sexually abusing his patients and prescribing dangerous controlled substances. His license was revoked by PA and NJ’s Board of Medical Examiners for one year and he was made to surrender his controlled substance license by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency in 1993 and 1994. Believe it or not, his license was reinstated after he admitted to these charges.

“The June 16, 2015 complaint by the NJ Attorney General calls for the revocation of Kaji’s license, a permanent ban on Kaji acting as Medical Director obtaining any ownershp in any of Brigham’s clinics, imposition of penalities and costs, including investigative costs, attorneys fees, expert fees, ” etc. The June 16, 2015 Complaint is also linked below.

We are very pleased that the NJ Attorney General is looking into this matter and is now taking action to stop these two disgraced abortionists who have a long history of flouting the law and hurting women and young teens in our state.

Read NJRTL Letter to the Attorney General
Read NJ Attorney General’s Complaint

N.J. Attorney General: abortion doctor unlawfully owns clinics

By Susan K. Livio | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

on July 01, 2015 at 6:53 PM, updated July 01, 2015 at 7:39 PM

TRENTON — An abortion doctor who lost his license over late-term abortions is operating a string of clinics despite assuring the state that he had signed away the practice to his medical director, according to a complaint filed by the Attorney General’s Office.
The allegations are contained in a June 16 complaint accusing Vikram H. Kaji, a 79-year-old obstetrician and gynecologist of fraud for claiming he had assumed ownership of American Women’s Services’ clinics after the Board of Medical Examiners yanked Steven Brigham’s license in October for gross negligence. Brigham has appealed the decision.

The board found that Brigham skirted state law by starting late-term abortions with five women by administering a drug that killed the fetus in his South Jersey office, and ordering them to drive to his Maryland clinic, where the surgical procedure was completed.
Without his license, Brigham was required by state law to divest himself from the American Women’s Services clinics he owned in Elizabeth, Mount Laurel, Paramus, Phillipsburg, Toms River, Woodbridge and Voorhees.

But when an investigator from the Division of Consumer Affairs performed an unannounced inspection at a clinic in Hamilton April 22, Kaji denied he was the owner. During a closed-door hearing of a committee of the board on May 5, Kaji “repeatedly testified under oath that he was not the owner,” according to the complaint filed June 16 by Deputy Attorney General Bindi Merchant.
“He expressly testified that ‘there is no other person around, (Brigham’s) the only one who runs the show,” according to the complaint obtained by NJ Advance Media.

Kaji’s “ownership of American Healthcare Services is a sham transfer and thus constitutes the use or employment of dishonesty, deception, misrepresentation, false promise or false pretense,” according to the complaint, which asked the board to suspend or revoke his medical license.

He “aided and abetted the unlicensed practice of medicine,” according to the complaint.
Consumer Affairs spokesman Neal Buccino said he could not confirm or deny whether the investigation into Kaji has opened a new case against Brigham.

Brigham’s attorney Joseph Gorrell could not be reached for comment. Kaji did not return a call to the Princeton Women’s Services clinic in Hamilton.
Marie Tasy, executive director for New Jersey Right to Life, thanked the Attorney General’s Office for “looking into this matter further, and is glad that action is finally being taken to stop these two disgraced doctors’ and their schemes, which have harmed women in the state of New Jersey.”

Tasy said she hopes the actions revealed in the attorney general’s complaint “puts an end to Brigham’s attempts to practice ever again.”

“It’s pretty frightening this man could get his license back. This is another piece of evidence that shows he continues to flout the law and engage in deceptive practices.”

This is not the first time Kaji has been the target of an investigation.
In 1993, the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine revoked his license for a year after he admitted having sex with a patient in his office in Yardley, Pa. and inappropriately prescribing her steroids and tranquilizers. The patient had been a victim of childhood sexual abuse and was suffering from depression, according to the Pennsylvania order. Two other patients also accused him of sexual abuse but he denied the allegations.

New Jersey also suspended his license for a year over the offenses in Pennsylvania. The record of his New Jersey suspension is not on the state website that lists doctor disciplinary actions, however, because the law only requires online records to go back 10 years, according to the division of Consumer Affairs.

In 1996, Brigham hired Kaji, and in 2010 promoted him to medical director, according to the complaint.
In 2013, New Jersey’s physician disciplinary board required Kaji undergo a neuropsychological examination because of “memory loss/impairment” issues. The evaluation found “mild cognitive impairment” but he was deemed fit to practice.