Florida Physician Sues Health Officials Over Unsuccessful Medical Cannabis Sting Operation

A Florida doctor is suing the Department of Health and two investigators who posed as patients for a medical cannabis sting operation that officials tried, and failed, to use to strip him of his medical license.

Full story after the jump.

A medical cannabis physician in Florida is suing the state Department of Health and two investigators who posed as patients in a sting operation during which officials tried to strip him of his medical license, WUSF News reports. Dr. Joseph Dorn was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing in March 2022. 

The Health Department had alleged Dorn violated state law by not performing physicals on the undercover agents who posed as patients seeking medical cannabis cards, which agency officials called employing a “trick or scheme” in the practice of medicine. Dorn has practiced medicine in Florida for more than 30 years and the allegations stem from a 2019 complaint related to the sting. 

In his 2022 order clearing Dorn, Administrative Law Judge W. David Watkins recommended that the complaint against Dorn be dismissed, saying that health officials “failed to present competent substantial evidence, in this case, establishing … that Dr. Dorn acted, or failed to act, in any manner to defraud or trick any patient, or that any patient was actually defrauded or tricked.” 

The lawsuit filed on Dorn’s behalf seeks damages of more than $50,000 and says the doctor “suffered millions of dollars of damages due to loss of revenue and the damage to his reputation due to the actions and inactions” of the Department of Health.  

In the lawsuit, Dorn’s attorney Ryan Andrews wrote that health department officials “had no basis to visit” his client. 

“The predicate for why they visited Dr. Dorn’s office unannounced was so lacking that calling it a ‘hunch’ would be gratuitous,” Andrews wrote in the lawsuit.   

The lawsuit was filed last week in Leon County Circuit Court. 

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