A Fayetteville weight loss clinic filed a lawsuit against a cosmetic surgeon it employed, alleging Dr. Jeffrey Swetnam stole money, property and client records.
Roller Weight Loss & Advanced Surgery, in a suit filed in Washington County Circuit Court by attorney Marshall Ney of Friday Eldredge & Clark of Rogers, said Swetnam joined the clinic in May 2015. Under the terms of his contract, Swetnam would owe Roller $300,000 for consulting fees upon his termination.
In response, Swetnam filed a motion to disqualify Ney from representing Roller because, the filing said, Ney had represented Swetnam previously in cases that are “substantially related” to Roller’s suit. The motion was filed by Swetnam’s attorney, Thomas Stockland of Stockland & Trantham in Fayetteville.
Swetnam said in an affidavit that he paid Friday Eldredge & Clark more than $6,400 in legal fees in 2017 for Ney’s representation.
Clinic President Joshua Roller said it gave Swetnam a 30-day termination notice on April 9 because Swetnam “engaged in significant inappropriate, unprofessional and other bad conduct.” The clinic said it fired Swetnam without cause because it was trying to take the “high road.”
But the clinic alleged that Swetnam’s poor conduct continued, so on May 3 it directed him to stop performing services on its behalf.
The clinic said Swetnam misused or misappropriated monies, medical records, emails from patients and vendors and clinic property.
The suit said Swetnam put Roller at risk from third-party payers because he charged reimbursements not supported by his medical files’ documentation. It said a third-party audit found a “vast majority” of his reimbursements did not have “sufficient documentation.”
The clinic is suing Swetnam for breach of contract, including failure to pay the $300,000 consulting fee. It said it has suffered damages that include attorney fees and costs.
The clinic is also seeking at least $500,000 in punitive damages for theft. The suit said “Swetnam intentionally and purposely embezzled payments from RWL patients”; the doctor, the suit said, opened up personal bank accounts in which he deposited monies owed to Roller.
A call to Swetnam’s office had not been returned by press time.