In New York state, having a medical degree is sufficient to prove that you are trustworthy. I’m prepared to give most doctors the benefit of the doubt–my dermatologist will take the location of my Playboy bunny-shaped birthmark with her to the grave–but as with any inch given by the law, there will always be someone who takes the mile. Like Dr. Joseph Tuvia, who appears to let others sign off on documents submitted in workers’ personal injury cases.
Joseph Tuvia is a radiologist who acts as an expert witness in personal injury claims. According to the New York Personal Injury Law Blog, 95 percent of those appearances are on behalf of the defense, which usually means employers or insurance companies looking to haggle down a worker’s compensation settlement.
Here are four patient examinations allegedly performed by Tuvia, each signed with a different hand.
There are two equally unpleasant possibilities for the discrepancy. One might be that Tuvia has four totally distinct personalities. Not likely, but it’s been known to happen.
What’s more likely is that Tuvia has been having someone else sign off on his affirmations, which are submitted under penalty of perjury.
Runnin’ Scared spoke to Jeffrey Levine, the lawyer who initially noticed the signatures when representing a client in an arbitration with Allstate Insurance. Levine hired a graphologist to test the authenticity of the signatures.
The graphologist confirmed Levine’s suspicion: The papers were signed by different people. “Do you really need an expert to see the difference?” asks Levine.
Upon having Tuvia’s malfeasance pointed out to them, Allstate’s representatives withdrew the reports from the proceeding.
Neither Dr. Tuvia’s office nor Allstate’s legal team responded to requests for comment.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 31, 2013