Norwalk v Doutel - Background

Medical Issues

Mr. Doutel had been seeing Physician's Assistant Perry Patel at Internal Respiratory Associates at 83 East Avenue in Norwalk CT. Sometime in 2009, Perry Patel seemed to disappear from the practice and Dr. Igal Shaw took over Mr. Doutel's regular visits.

In September of 2010, Mr. Doutel is told that Dr. Staw's practice is no longer able to accept insurance and that he would have to pay cash for his visits. This was explained to Mr. Doutel as being a minor mix-up that was being cleared up in court. Mr. Doutel opted to pay cash for this routine diabetic check-up.

During this time, Mr. Doutel had been seeing Dr. Altman of the Center for Orthopaedics at 2200 Whitney Avenue Suite 140 Hamden, CT. Dr. Altman had been working on Mr. Doutel on a torn rotator cuff. During January of 2011, Dr. Altman determined the condition would require surgery and tentatively scheduled the surgery for February 16, 2011. Mr. Doutel was instructed to schedule a pre-op physical with his primary care physician, Dr. Staw. An appointment was scheduled with Dr. Staw for February 7, 2011. Dr. Staw did an EKG, a physical exam and several blood tests as requested by Dr. Altman. Dr. Staw informed Mr. Doutel that if they added a few more tests, Mr. Doutel's insurance would cover the physical in full. Dr. Staw decided to run Hemoglobin A1C and cholesterol tests.

The pistol

During the course of this examination, Dr. Staw casually moved Mr. Doutel's hat aside and saw the holstered firearm that Mr. Doutel had placed beneath it for safe keeping during the exam. Dr. Staw commented on the safely stashed firearm and Mr. Doutel informed Dr. Staw that he possessed a permit to carry pistols and revolvers. This exchange was cordial and it didn't give Mr. Doutel any reason to think Dr. Staw was alarmed or angry.

On the afternoon of February 9, 2011, Mr. Doutel was working at home when he received a call from Dr. Staw’s office. The employee from Dr. Staw's office stated that some of the tests were out of bounds and they would need to repeat them. Mr. Doutel requested that the employee have Dr. Staw call him concerning the test results to answer Mr. Doutel's questions and concerns on the findings.

A felon is uncovered

Mr. Doutel by this time was growing suspicious of Dr. Staw and his cash-only business practices and additional tests that were being run only to get insurance money. While Mr. Doutel waited for Dr. Staw's return call, he began some internet research to see if he could find similar concerns about Dr. Staw. Mr. Doutel came across a newspaper article stating that Staw had plead guilty and had been convicted and sentenced in Federal court of health care fraud.

On digging further, he found a PDF of the decision of the Department of Health and Human Services that prevented Dr. Staw from participating in Federal health care programs for a period of ten years. Private insurance companies including the insurance company that Mr. Doutel was a client of had removed Dr. Staw's ability to bill them as well. This explained Dr. Staw's inability to bill Mr. Doutel's insurance company previously. This likely also explained why Mr. Doutel's previous care provider (Physician's Assistant Perry Patel) had suddenly disappeared from the practice.

A felon is fired

When Dr. Staw finally returned Mr. Doutel's request for a phone call later that night, Mr. Doutel informed Dr. Staw that he had learned of Dr. Staw's conviction and history. Mr. Doutel also expressed concerns about tests that he felt were perform incorrectly or unnecessarily as well as other things he felt Dr. Staw had been dishonest about. Mr. Doutel informed Dr. Staw that Dr. Staw would no longer be his physician. At this time, Mr. Doutel requested that Dr. Staw forward all of his test results to Dr. Altman so that Dr. Altman could determine whether or not Mr. Doutel was suitable for surgery.

A surgery delayed

On February 15, 2011, Mr. Doutel grew concerned that he still did not have a firm time for his surgery that should be scheduled for the following day. Mr. Doutel placed a call to Dr. Altman's office and inquired as to the lack of a firm time. Dr. Altman's assistant informed Mr. Doutel that Dr. Altman was still not in possession of the results of the physical and the tests and that they would have to postpone the surgery until those records could be retrieved.

The voicemail

Later that evening, Mr. Doutel called Dr. Staw's office and left a voicemail insisting that he forward the necessary records of the tests and the physical to Dr. Altman with haste. Mr. Doutel made it clear that he had paid for those tests out of pocket and that he was entitled to them and that if he had to come down to demand them in person, a public confrontation "would not be pretty". Mr. Doutel does not make any threats of violence or physical force against Dr. Staw or his staff.

Norwalk PD calling

The next day, on February 16th around noontime, Mr. Doutel received a phone call while he was again working at home. This time, the phone call is from Officer Jared Zwickler of the Norwalk Police Department. Officer Zwickler asks Mr. Doutel to come down to the Norwalk Police Department to discuss the voicemail he left the evening before.

Bring a warrant

Mr. Doutel was in shock as he could not imagine why a police officer would be contacting him about such an innocuous voicemail. Mr. Doutel declines Officer Zwickler's invitation to come down to the police department. Officer Zwickler then suggests that he will come to Mr. Doutel's residence to discuss it with him. At first, Mr. Doutel, being a law abiding citizen who knows he has done nothing unlawful and has nothing to hide agrees to this. Officer Zwickler goes on to warn Mr. Doutel about not being armed when Officer Zwickler arrives. This request is an odd one for an officer coming out to 'discuss' things with a citizen. Mr. Doutel decides to exert his rights at this point since he can see that Officer Zwickler is not telling the whole truth about his reason for a visit. Mr. Doutel informs Officer Zwickler he is not welcome to come over for a discussion, and that if Officer Zwickler chooses to come to his residence, that he should only do so to arrest Mr. Doutel and that he should bring a warrant with him. Officer Zwickler informs Mr. Doutel that he will be coming to arrest him.

The arrest

Less than an hour later, Mr. Doutel again received a phone call from the Norwalk Police Department. This time, the person on the phone instructed Mr. Doutel to walk out of his residence with his hands in plain sight.

Mr. Doutel peacefully exited his residence to find several Norwalk police officers looking in the windows of a neighboring house. Mr. Doutel called out to the officers to let them know they were looking at the wrong house.

The police officers zeroed in on Mr. Doutel, handcuffed him, searched him and informed him that he was under arrest. No miranda warning was given on scene. No warrants were shown to Mr. Doutel.

Search and confiscation

Mr. Doutel observed three police officers walk into his residence without Mr. Doutel's permission. Several minutes later, Mr. Doutel was led into his house where he observed the officers in the process of searching his house. They had already taken possession of several firearms and were in the process of clearing those firearms. Mr. Doutel observed that the police officers appeared to have a list of firearms that they were using to search for. Regardless, they requested that Mr. Doutel show them where all the firearms were, having no regard or concern for the fact that Mr. Doutel's wife was also a holder of a permit to carry pistols or revolvers and owned several firearms that they took possession of.

Only in the movies

Mr. Doutel was brought to the Norwalk Police Department and booked for the charge of Sec. 53a-62 Threatening in the second degree. When Mr. Doutel inquires about why he hasn't been read his Miranda Rights, he is told that "they only do that in the movies".