The civil lawsuit against former Marianas Medical Center physician Anthony Stearns has been dismissed after Stearns and the U.S. Attorney’s Office reached a settlement agreement in the case.
U.S. District Court for NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona dismissed yesterday the case against Stearns with prejudice, which means the case cannot be refiled.
Court documents state that Stearns and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Districts of Guam and the NMI, “through their counsel of record, have settled the entire lawsuit pursuant to the terms of a settlement agreement.”
Stearns, through his counsel Sean Frink, earlier denied over 100 charges of allegedly failing to issue opioids prescriptions for a legitimate medical purpose and acting outside the usual course of his professional practice.
According to Frink, “Dr. Stearns accepted patients for care who were already addicted to prescription medicines and largely otherwise abandoned by other care providers.”
“Dr. Stearns treated these patients in a manner consistent with a good faith clinical care process,” and that there was “a legitimate doctor-patient relationship with each of these patients and believes that there was a legitimate medical purpose for the prescriptions that were issued, and all five patients are currently leading much more productive and safer lives as a result of his treatment of them,” Frink added.
According to Saipan Tribune archives, the initial complaint stated that the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration reviewed some of Stearns’ patient files from 2015 to 2020 and investigated his prescribing activities for controlled substances from October 2016 to January 2020, also known as the “dispensing violations period.” During that period, Stearns allegedly violated the Controlled Substances Act under the United States Code because he allegedly knowingly issued about 357 prescriptions for controlled substances to patients A, B, and C that were either not issued in the usual course of professional treatment, nor for a legitimate medical purpose, or both.
Stearns was also allegedly in violation when he prescribed approximately 62 prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances for maintenance or detoxification purposes and providing maintenance or detoxification services without the appropriate training or DEA exemption for Patients D and E.