State News : Texas

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Of the twenty-one original defendants indicted in the Forest Park bribery and kickback scheme in 2016, ten remain scheduled to appear in federal court in Dallas. Among them is Royce Bicklein, noted claimants’ attorney and the chairman of the State Bar of Texas' Workers’ Compensation Section. Bicklein is accused of receiving kickbacks in the amount of $100,000 for referring clients to Forest Park Medical Center, and if court filings are any indication, Mr. Bicklein appears poised to offer a novel defense strategy: his clients authorized him to break the law.

Bicklein maintains that his clients were asked to sign a consent form, which apprised them of the possibility that their attorney might stand to gain financially from referrals made to certain medical professionals on their behalf. Mr. Bicklein’s defense seems to suggest that he committed no crimes because his clients knew of his financial relationship with Forest Park and consented to it.

Aside from the fact that subpoenas have thus far produced no such signed consent forms, prosecutors argue that client consent does not obviate penalties for commission of a crime, and the existence of such a form may actually demonstrate that Bicklein and his law firm knew that they were in violation of Texas and federal anti-kickback statutes; the consent form was apparently generated on the advice of Mr. Bicklein’s own law partner.

Mr. Bicklein’s trial is set to start February 19, 2019, in federal district court in Dallas.

-  Copyright 2018,Stone Loughlin & Swanson, LLP.