NEW YORK - A New York dentist has decided to follow the lead of State Farm Insurance Cos. and file suit against the state attorney general that brought criminal charges against him.
Leonard Morse, of Park Slope, says former New York Attorney General and current Gov. Eliot Spitzer filed a baseless suit against him last year that has caused his practice to suffer.
"I had it all, and overnight I lost it all for no good reason," Morse said, according to a report in the New York Post. "If that's what they'll do to a professional, imagine what they could do to the everyday citizen."
Morse is asking for $75 million and is represented by attorney Jon Norinsberg.
"We're alleging that he was falsely accused of committing a crime that he absolutely didn't commit and that these charges were filed for political reasons," Norinsberg said in the report.
Earlier this month, State Farm sued Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who had sued them over allegedly intentionally mishandling Hurricane Katrina-related claims. State Farm claims Hood keeps threatening it with criminal charges in order to force a civil settlement.
Morse was indicted in Kings County Supreme Court on charges claiming he had stolen $1 million from the state's Medicaid program. Spitzer claimed Morse fraudulently billed Medicaid for dentures he never delivered and denture repairs he never performed.
The last line of an April 2006 press release read, "The charges against Morse are accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty."
Still, the defendants point to Spitzer's campaign that year, when Democratic primary opponent Tom Suozzi was claiming Spitzer was soft on Medicaid fraud.
Morse was eventually found innocent of stealing any Medicaid funds. He claims the ordeal scared off many of his existing and possible future clients.
"I think I want beyond money," Morse said, according to the report. "I want justice. I want my good name back. I want all those thousands of patients back who I treated for 30 years. I want all my friends and neighbors and relatives to see that I didn't do anything. I became a political pawn."
Spitzer was commonly seen as an activist attorney general, and was ranked the third-worst state attorney general by the Competitive Enterprise Institute in a report released earlier this year.