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Tossed medical records spur suit in Faulkner County

AG sues clinics, doctor, employee by Neal Earley | May 7, 2021 at 7:05 a.m.
Great Seal of Arkansas in a court room in Washington County. Thursday, June 21, 2018,

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a lawsuit this week against two chiropractic clinics, claiming they discarded patients' personal information in a park near Mayflower.

In the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Faulkner County, Rutledge alleged two chiropractic clinics, 501 Pain & Rehab, LLC in Conway and 501 Pain and Rehab Family Clinic of Russellville, LLC, violated the Personal Information Protection Act by dumping files with their patients' personal information.

The lawsuit names Dr. John D'Onofrio, a chiropractic physician, and Donny McCuien, an officer and a manager at 501 Pain & Rehab Conway, according to the complaint.

"On or about" Nov. 10, employees from Mayflower discovered what appeared to be medical records and files from the chiropractic clinics in a wooded area of Palarm Park, outside of Mayflower, according to the complaint.

The city employees saw a truck parked near a wooded area at the park, but as they approached it, the truck abruptly drove away, the complaint said.

City workers found 271 files, which included medical records that had personal information from patients including names, Social Security numbers, driver's license or state ID numbers and medical history, according to the complaint.

The city workers took the documents to the Mayflower Police Department, which delivered the files to Laurie Mayhan, the director of the Arkansas State Board of Chiropractic Examiners.

The description of the truck and the occupant fit the description of McCuien, according to the complaint.

The 501 Pain & Rehab clinics in Conway and Russellville could not be reached for comment Thursday.

"It is appalling that any healthcare provider could be so careless and put patients' private personal information at risk," Rutledge said in a statement. "We must be able to trust that our healthcare providers will protect sensitive data, as they are required to do under the law. This lawsuit aims to hold these bad actors accountable for their reckless behavior."

In addition to violating the Personal Information Protection Act, the lawsuit alleged D'Onofrio and McCuien violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and are liable for up to $10,000 in penalties for each violation of both laws.

A news release announcing the lawsuit said Rutledge is seeking an injunction "prohibiting the Defendants from engaging in further PIPA or ADTPA violations" and the revocation or suspension of the defendants' licenses to do business in Arkansas, including revoking or suspending D'Onofrio's chiropractic license.

D'Onofrio has been a licensed chiropractor in Arkansas since 1984 and his license is still active, according to records from the Arkansas State Board of Chiropractic Examiners.

According to a January report from the Arkansas State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, D'Onofrio has been disciplined for two complaints.

One complaint from the board pegged D'Onofrio for "solicitation" because he "failed to submit a written contract between him and the procurer, as well as, respond as required to the communication duly served by the Board upon Respondent."

Another described the complaint against D'Onofrio as "Unregistered Procurer, offering services for free but charge, guarantee of settlement amounts, offering pain meds as an inducement to seek treatment."

For the complaints, the board put D'Onofrio on six months of probation from April to October of 2020.

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