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Tucson Arizona Malpractice suit brings convicted killer Schwartz to court again

Posted on Jun 07, 2006

Malpractice suit brings Schwartz to court again By Kim Smith Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Arizona | Published: 06.06.2006 Bradley Schwartz will be back in front of a jury this morning, this time defending himself in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Greg Hoxie and Peggy Bower sued the former doctor in 2002 claiming the eye surgeon was on drugs when he performed surgery on their teenage son, Garrett, in November 2001. As a result of the surgery, the couple claims, their son was left with permanent double vision. Jury selection is slated to begin this morning in Judge Michael Alfred's courtroom at Pima County Superior Court. Just last week, Schwartz was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to commit murder in the October 2004 slaying death of Dr. David Brian Stidham, his former associate. Schwartz, who will become eligible for parole after 25 years, was also stripped of his medical license by Pima County Superior Court Judge Nanette Warner. Schwartz's attorneys tried to get his malpractice trial postponed and moved to Mohave County but were unsuccessful. In her motion to move the trial, attorney Kathleen Rogers wrote, "Dr. Schwartz's credibility is key in this action, and the jurors of Pima County, given all of the negative publicity available to them regarding Dr. Schwartz's current and past problems, will likely assign little or no credibility to him." In support of the postponement, Rogers described a recent visit she had with her client. "Dr. Schwartz noted he is physically and mentally exhausted and does not think he can handle the strain of having to attend the civil trial in this matter," Rogers wrote, asking for time for Schwartz to "rest and regain his composure." According to prosecutors, Schwartz, 41, grew to hate Stidham, a father of two, after Schwartz was forced into drug rehabilitation by the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners in the fall of 2002. Schwartz expected Stidham, 37, to keep his practice going while he was gone, but Stidham started his own practice. As a result, Schwartz lost his hospital privileges, patients, staff members and hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to the Hoxie lawsuit, Schwartz performed surgery on Garrett Hoxie 10 days after he had neck surgery and two weeks before the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raided his office. According to court documents, Schwartz has admitted he became addicted to prescription drugs as a result of neck and shoulder surgeries and dental pain. As a result of the DEA raid, Schwartz was indicted on multiple prescription drug fraud charges. He was placed in a diversion program with the understanding that the charges would be dismissed if he stayed out of trouble. Although Schwartz was later arrested for orchestrating Stidham's death, Ann Harwood, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said Monday that the federal government will not seek prison time for Schwartz for violating the terms of his diversion program. "It wouldn't be an efficient use of resources," Harwood said.

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