3:45pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Shannen Doherty: My Ex-Manager Tricked SAG Into Revealing Medical Information (Exclusive Audio)
Shannen Doherty's lawsuit against her former business management firm was stunning enough for the revelation that the Beverly Hills, 90210 star has breast cancer, but in a new explosive legal filing, the actress discusses an employee at the firm who impersonated her for the alleged purpose of obtaining access to confidential medical information. Doherty's lawyers are even addressing what they see to be "criminal conduct."
Tanner Mainstain is already on the defensive over claims that its failure to timely pay medical insurance premiums resulted in the spread of Doherty's breast cancer. In a deposition, Tanner Mainstain employee Tia Boyd admitted responsibility to pay Doherty's premium — and that the firm didn't.
Boyd and her subordinate Kimberly Gabay certainly checked.
On July 8, Gabay made a call to the SAG Health Plan. (The health and pension plan is administered separately from the union itself.)
"I'm wondering if you can help me, and I know this might sound a little stupid," Gabay tells the operator. "I need to know where my billing statement was mailed on January of 2014 if that's possible."
The operator tells Gabay that the premiums department handles this, but that verification is needed to proceed.
When asked her name, Gabay responds, "Shannen Doherty," but she trips up later on the call when asked about the mailing address on record. "Is it no longer my business manager's?" she asks.
Here's a recording of the Gabay phone call. (Some info has been redacted.)
That same day, Boyd made a second call to SAG Health Plan and said she had a question on behalf of a client. Boyd didn't indicate that she was no longer representing Doherty, and when asked about Doherty's social security number for verification, Boyd gave it. Boyd was able to obtain billing information for Doherty.
Here's a recording of the Boyd phone call. (In a deposition, Boyd seems to have authenticated it.)
It appears as though Gabay and Boyd made these calls in an effort to prove that Tanner Mainstain never got an invoice for the premiums. This info would have helped them deflect the fault for Doherty losing insurance. Regardless of the truth (Doherty asserts otherwise), given the trouble of identity theft in this digital age, the phone calls raise all sorts of issues about the trust placed by celebrities in their representatives, who even after a separation, maintain enough information to potentially cause trouble.
On Monday, Doherty filed a motion seeking to compel Gabay's deposition. The legal filing slams Tanner Mainstain for impersonating the actress and using her social security number "to obtain access to Ms. Doherty's confidential medical information for use in this litigation."
The motion papers (read here) also argue that resistance to a Gabay deposition is "simply a delay tactic to impede Ms. Doherty's legitimate discovery efforts and to prevent her from investigating further into Tanner Mainstain and Ms. Gabay's illegal discovery efforts in this case. Indeed, Tanner Mainstain is well aware that Ms. Doherty intends to move for evidentiary and/or terminating sanctions based on Ms. Boyd and Ms. Gabay's criminal conduct in connection with this litigation."
Says Doherty's attorney, Devin McRae at Early Sullivan, "The illicit conduct by Tanner Mainstain’s employees detailed in this motion speaks volumes regarding the integrity and credibility of this business management firm — something to think about when they ask you for complete control over your finances and a power of attorney.”
A rep for Tanner Mainstain said in a statement, "Tanner Mainstain never sought Ms. Doherty’s confidential medical information from SAG. Before the lawsuit was even filed and as the tapes clearly indicate, they merely sought information regarding where a SAG invoice was mailed. The motion filed by her attorneys is a diversion and has nothing to do with the merits of the case. When the whole truth comes out, Tanner Mainstain is confident it will be vindicated in the court of law, where this case belongs."
We've also reached out to SAG Health Plan to see if it has anything to say about the protection of health information for its members. We'll update with any comment.