Update: Chiropractors' Lawsuit Details Runners' Tactics

Update: Chiropractors Ryan Johnston and Reza Hatami, who filed the lawsuit, voluntarily asked that the case against Roger Pleasant, his wife, Shirley, both of Maumelle, and Isiah Bingley of North Little Rock, be dismissed with prejudice, meaning the case can't be refiled.

On May 3, 2013, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Jay Moody agreed and the case against the Pleasants and Bingley was dismissed.

Original story: 

Two chiropractors who are suing the former clinic where they worked have shed some more light on “runners,” those people who pressure potential chiropractic patients to seek treatment.

Chiropractors Ryan Johnston and Reza Hatami detailed some of the actions of runners Roger Pleasant, his wife, Shirley, both of Maumelle, and Isiah Bingley of North Little Rock in a lawsuit against Pulaski Injury & Rehab Center Inc. of Little Rock.

(A June Arkansas Business story about the use of runners by chiropractors mentioned that Roger Pleasant had been one of the prominent runners in the area.)

The Pleasants and Bingley, who are named as defendants and are called “marketers” in the lawsuit, attracted new patients by “deceptive and misleading statements and representations and paying money to patient to make and keep their appointments,” the lawsuit said. “These acts were understood by [Johnston and Hatami] to be outside widely accepted standards of professional ethics and practice for” chiropractors.

Johnston and Hatami, who were both clinic directors, said they refused to take any patients if “such tactics” were used.

The lawsuit also said the runners barged into the office and interrupted the treatment of patients.

Johnston and Hatami are suing the runners for interfering with their business. The chiropractors also are suing Pulaski Injury & Rehab Center and Heath Lenox, who had an ownership interest in the clinic, for breach of contract. The chiropractors said the clinic and Lenox “purposefully maintained an environment which prevented [them] from performing as required by their contract.”

Johnson was fired in June and Hatami in September, the lawsuit said.

These days, Johnston is in Hot Springs in a private practice. Hatami has moved to Texas and is practicing there, according to their attorney, Tim Isaac of Little Rock.

They are seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

One of the runners, Bingley, told Whispers last week that he doesn’t know why he’s being sued. He said he was told to get new patients into the clinic “by any means necessary.”

He said the allegations of wrongdoing were “bogus.”

Still, being a runner is a booming business. Bingley said some chiropractors are paying $500 apiece for new clients and a $2,000 bonus for 15 patients.