Two lawsuits filed this month against Key West doctor Adrienne Curran and Doctors Spa of Duval Square, Inc. claim Curran defrauded and misled patients by injecting them with cheaper, illegal, foreign versions of cosmetic fillers unapproved by the FDA, rather than brand-name, FDA-approved products that patients expected and purchased.
The brand-name products that Curran is accused of secretly replacing with cheaper, illegal foreign versions include Botox, Juvederm Ultra, Juvederm Voluma, Restylane with lidocaine, and/or Sculptra, according to a class-action lawsuit filed March 8 against Curran and the medical spa she has owned since 2012.
“For a period of several years, defendants ran a scheme to buy foreign, non-FDA approved cosmetic injectables, at a great discount, which are illegal in the United States, for defendants to inject patients with, with the intent to defraud and mislead patients,” the class-action lawsuit states.
The suit claims Curran altered patient files to show that legal, FDA-approved, brand-name products were used, and injected patients with less than the promised amount of products to increase profits.
Federal whistleblower lawsuit
The March 8 class-action lawsuit was the second suit filed this month against Dr. Curran and Doctors Spa.
On March 1, former office manager at the medical spa, Catherine Whitney, filed a separate, federal whistleblower lawsuit against Curran and her business. That suit claims Curran retaliated against Whitney and withheld $49,000 of overtime pay after the employee repeatedly complained about and objected to Curran’s alleged illegal acts.
The former office manager “complained of, and objected to, the above-referenced illegal acts numerous times to defendant Dr. Curran. Despite plaintiff’s complaints and objections to Dr. Curran’s illegal acts, such acts continued unabated,” the federal lawsuit states. “In retaliation for lodging such complaints and objections to Dr. Curran’s illegal acts, the defendant Dr. Curran began retaliating against the plaintiff by frustrating and angering her with the hope that the plaintiff would resign or alternatively with the intention of ultimately terminating the plaintiff….”
The whistleblower suit contains the same allegations as the class-action lawsuit regarding illegal foreign substances and altered patient files, but further claims that Curran had the foreign, illegal substances shipped to the former office manager’s home address to avoid scrutiny by U.S. Customs agents, who had begun seizing Curran’s overseas shipments due to suspicion that they were illegal and unregulated medical products.
Alleged financial fraud
The federal whistleblower lawsuit also claims that Curran defrauded the U.S. government and a local bank by “knowingly providing and certifying to false information on two Payroll Protection Program (PPP) applications.”
The federal COVID assistance program provided loans to help U.S. businesses stay afloat, then forgave those loans if the businesses continued paying full-time employees during the pandemic.
Dr. Curran classified and paid her workers as independent contractors, not full-time employees, the lawsuit states.
The PPP rules did not allow businesses to count independent contractors as full-time employees, as such contractors could apply for their own assistance.
Online records of PPP disbursements show that Doctors Spa of Duval Square, Inc. received $47,300 in April 2020 to retain six full-time employees. Ten months later, in February 2021, Dr. Adrienne Curran applied for and received $77,500 to retain five full-time employees, for a total of $124,800 in PPP funding.
Dr. Curran declines to comment
Dr. Curran declined to comment on the lawsuits when reached by phone on March 10. She asked the Keys Weekly what the lawsuits allege.
The Keys Weekly emailed Curran copies of the legal complaints and invited her to submit subsequent comments — from herself or her attorney — to be included in this article.
Less than an hour after speaking with Keys Weekly, Doctors Spa sent a notice to all patients that said, “Our company system crashed. We are putting records back together. If you paid by Venmo, please respond so we don’t bill you twice.”
Lawsuits request jury trials
Fort Lauderdale attorney Brian Militzok filed the federal whistleblower lawsuit (Whitney vs. Dr. Adrienne Curran and Doctors Spa) on behalf of the former office manager. That suit requests a jury trial, the employee’s unpaid overtime, plus attorneys’ fees and additional compensatory and punitive damages.
Brian Militzok and Matthew Militzok are both listed as attorneys in the class-action lawsuit, filed in Monroe County (Sharon Davidson vs. Dr. Adrienne Curran and Doctors Spa of Duval Square). Davidson, a former patient and one-time business consultant for Curran, is the lead plaintiff in the class-action suit.
“…There are hundreds, if not thousands, of members of the class described,” states the class-action lawsuit that applies to, “All patients who, between March 9, 2019 and Sept. 15, 2022, were a paying patient of defendants and who paid defendants, at least in part, to receive a cosmetic injectable treatment of one or more of Botox, Juvederm Ultra, Juvederm Voluma, Restylane with lidocaine, and/or Sculptra injection treatment from defendants, and who did in fact receive a non-FDA-approved substitute cosmetic injectable.”
No hearings had been scheduled for the recently files cases, as of Friday, March 10, according to court records.