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America’s Frontline Doctors, Nev. doctor face court defeats over hydroxychloroquine death (updated)

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America’s Frontline Doctors and a Nevada doctor, Medina Culver, have faced two court losses after being sued by a Sparks man’s family for wrongful death. Culver and the right-wing COVID-denying group were sued in February after Jeremy Parker ingested hydroxychloroquine – prescribed by Culver – and died. 

According to the suit, Parker developed cold-like symptoms in late January 2022. His body was found on Feb. 3, 2022. The Washoe County coroner listed Parker’s cause of death as “sudden in the setting of therapeutic use of hydroxychloroquine.”

Parker’s family is seeking damages above $30,000. 

Since the suit was filed, Culver and AFLD attempted to have the case dismissed with an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) motion. Anti-SLAPP motions are to protect people who are sued for engaging in free-speech activities.

Former Governor Steve Sisolak in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic prohibited prescribing hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 treatment. Culver and AFLD claimed they were disseminating healthcare information “prepared and provided by medical experts.” 

Second Judicial District Court Judge Barry Breslow.
Second Judicial District Court Judge Barry Breslow.

“As is clear from the face of AFD’s website, the information it provides to individuals, including the information Plaintiffs’ allege AFD provided to the decedent, was either truthful or made without knowledge of its falsehood,” they argued. “AFD understands the information to be truthful.”

Second Judicial District Court Judge Barry Breslow wasn’t convinced. 

He said the record shows “that AFLD was operating a telehealth clinic through which Mr. Parker was prescribed hydroxchloroquine by Dr. Culver.” Further, “AFLD has failed to show under [state law] that the Plaintiffs’ case is based upon a good faith communication in furtherance of the right to petition or the right to free speech in direct connection with an issue of public concern.”

Breslow also denied a motion to dismiss the case based on an expert witness statement in the case, which, Culver’s attorneys argued, was insufficient to satisfy legal requirements. Culver filed a petition in the Nevada Supreme Court appealing Breslow’s denial. It failed. 

“Having considered the petition, we are not persuaded that our extraordinary intervention is warranted,” the state judges wrote in their denial.

More recently, Parker’s attorney requested sanctions against Culver’s attorneys for failing to respond to in the case. 

“The Plaintiff’s counsel spent 1.5 hours attempting to obtain the required disclosures from Culver and drafting this motion,” Busby wrote. “The Plaintiff’s counsel … requests that the Court sanction Dr. Culver and/or her counsel $600.

The Intercept on Aug. 21, 2023, reported that hacked records confirm Culver prescribed to Parker the drug without conducting a physical examination, “nor did she run any diagnostic tests to ensure that drug would be safe to prescribe.”

The Intercept reported:

“AFLDS records, provided to The Intercept by an anonymous hacker in September 2021, corroborate parts of Hatfield’s account (Hatfield is Parker’s spouse). Culver is included in the list of 225 AFLDS physicians who prescribed disproven Covid-19 drugs, and consultation notes from Parker’s telehealth appointment confirm that no physical examination took place. While the hacked data — hundreds of thousands of medical and prescription records from AFLDS’s telehealth partners — includes lists of physicians and patients, it doesn’t link physicians to specific patients.”

After This Is Reno’s original reporting of the lawsuit, the story made national headlines. Culver, who positioned herself as a social media influencer with thousands of followers, deleted her Instagram account after the story was published. 

Disclosure: The plaintiff attorney, Luke Busby, is representing This Is Reno in two public records cases against the city of Reno. He would not comment for this story.

Update (8/21/23): This article was updated to include new reporting by The Intercept, which published a new story about this case after This Is Reno’s article was published.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.

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