Laser Spine Institute Closes in Tampa
One of the well-known minimal invasive surgery institutes in Tampa, Florida, The Laser Spine Institute has shut down abruptly without any apparent prior warning to the staff. The 14-year-old institute had become to be known for its minimally invasive spinal surgeries with locations in Tampa, Arizona, Ohio, Missori. It had recently three years back acquired a 176,000-square-foot headquarters at 5332 Avion Park Dr. near Tampa International Airport spending $56 million.
The institute has more than 500 employees nationwide and were given sudden cease operations statements. CEO Jeff Blake said in an official statement – “My heart goes out to our great, dedicated staff who have stuck with us through all of our adversity and worked so tirelessly to help us right the ship.” He is a well-known financial whiz with fiscal turnarounds of a number of well-known brands under his belt. Most notably was the turnaround of United Airlines post the September 11 fiasco.
The statement also noted the reason for the sudden shutdown – “Despite significant cost saving activities over the last 6 months — including closing three surgical centers — that dramatically reduced its operating cost structure, the company has been unable to achieve a financially sustainable path forward.”
About Tampa institute
The Tampa institute had a facility of 10 operating rooms, 28 recovery beds, as per their records in Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and had treated 75,000 patients since 2005.
It had come to the fore when it was sued by professional wrestling athlete – Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea. The company is directing the affected patients due to the shutdown to other specialists and contacting surgeons to give references. Also, they are making arrangements for post-operative care for patients who were undergoing treatment with them.
A Dec. 28 opinion handed down by the 2nd District Court of Appeal, which overturned an earlier judgment won by a group of doctors from a competing laser spinal surgical center who sued the institute’s founding doctors in 2006 in Hillsborough Circuit Court. They accused the institute’s founders of breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy, defamation, slander, tortious interference and violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The plaintiffs won their suit, records show, but now the appellate court had to settle what damages they were owed. It struck down the trial judge’s award of $1.6 million. The plaintiffs argued they were owed “disgorgement” of about $264 million, which they estimated was the Laser Spine Institute’s value in 2009 plus $77.5 million paid to the owners from 2005-09.
In legal terms, disgorgement is when one party is compelled to return wrongly obtained profits, both to reimburse the other party for what they may have lost and as a deterrent to keep it from happening again.
The appellate court noted that the “proper amount of the award at a minimum fall between $264,000,000 and $265,000,000.”
In 2018, the institute was also ordered by a Pennsylvania court to pay $20 million to the estate of an Ohio woman who sued after her 2014 death, according to news reports.