Florida Medical Practice Sues Defendants for Misappropriating Funds, IP

A Florida medical practice, Jaws Podiatry, Inc., filed suit on Friday in the Southern District of Florida against individual defendants and A&D Creative Marketing LLC. The complaint for injunctive and monetary relief alleges that the defendants unfairly took funds and trade secrets from the plaintiff.

Plaintiff Abraham Wagner, who the complaint says is a nationally and international recognized physician, owns Jaws Podiatry. The plaintiff, per the complaint, has a unique method for performing minimally invasive and aesthetic foot surgical procedures under local anesthesia, which they have worked to maintain the secrecy of through protected surgeries, photographs, videos, and more.

In early 2020, defendant Cesar Garcia was hired by the plaintiffs as an in-house social media marketer who was responsible for managing media accounts and staying near the plaintiff during surgeries to give non-medical assistance, per the complaint. Garcia’s role had him record full footage of surgeries, including portions of the surgery which showed the plaintiff’s trade secrets.

In late 2020, defendant Garcia urged the plaintiff to change the provider from which they obtained their marketing, advertising, website, and search engine optimization services to defendant A&D, the complaint recounted. When A&D took charge of the plaintiff’s marketing accounts, their misconduct began and included pausing their campaigns and urging them to form a joint bank account with A&D. Eventually, plaintiffs “reluctantly and under duress was coerced to pay A&D $24,000.00 for the months of March and April to keep the advertising campaigns alive.”

Despite paying the defendant these sums, the plaintiffs noticed a significant decrease in patient leads generated from their advertising campaigns. Defendant A&D refused to show the plaintiff the lead reports unless they paid more money. As of the filing of the suit, defendant A&D is “still in possession of and has refused to return to Jaws Podiatry the original ad campaigns.”

The plaintiffs believe that the funds they paid the defendant were misappropriated. The defendants continue to refuse to relinquish access to the accounts and will not provide access to the plaintiffs.

Further, defendant Luxe Foot Surgery has begun to use the plaintiff’s advertising material and intellectual property. Luxe Foot Surgery, who is a direct competitor of the plaintiff, allegedly worked with the other defendants to steal the medical procedure videos and begin using the plaintiff’s techniques.

The complaint cites federal unfair competition, copyright infringement, violations of the Defend Trade Secrets Act, the Florida Uniform Trade Secrets Act, the Florida Computer Abuse and Data Recovery Act, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices, civil conspiracy, breach of contract, and tortious interference. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction preventing further misconduct, an order requiring the transfer of intellectual property, treble damages, statutory damages, disgorgement, exemplary and punitive damages, litigation fees, and more.

The plaintiff is represented by Lorium PLLC.