A Manhattan woman who said she was merely looking to get her annual exam in July 2017, which is typically covered through her insurance with no out-of-pocket costs, has gotten into a battle she never could’ve imagined when she made an appointment with Dr. Joon Song, of New York Robotic Gynecology & Woman’s Health. In addition to a hefty lawsuit against her after reviewing the doctor online, the woman said on Friday that the doctor’s attorneys filed a motion in court asking for her imprisonment. In addition, the woman said a defamatory article has since been published after Song spoke with Korean Daily.
As previously reported by CrimeOnline, Michelle Levine was charged for what she said were services she never anticipated or approved.
In court filings, and as told to CrimeOnline, Levine said Song never gave her a pelvic exam, but instead asked her if she was experiencing menstrual cramps and subsequently performed an ultrasound. She also alleges that Song claimed he performed pelvic and breasts exams at the appointment, which she said is untrue.
Levine then received a bill for $427, which she would have to pay out of pocket, and her insurance company was billed $1,304.32 by Song’s practice — all for an annual exam she thought would be fully covered as had always been the case through her insurance and other doctors she has used.
When she called the doctor’s office to explain that the charges didn’t add up, Levine said the office wouldn’t budge on the pricing. She then took to Yelp, ZocDoc, and Health Grades to review the doctor she felt had ripped her off “so other women could be warned.” Those reviews led to Song filing a $1 million defamation lawsuit against the woman, who said she has already spent approximately $20,000 in court costs for the case.
“It can be conflicting when a patient desires to present her or his medical necessity under category of annual examination,” a representative at the clinic replied, according to Levine. “A doctor is professionally obliged to evaluate the condition as a clinical situation under the scope of medical necessity even though you wish to minimize it as an annual examination.”
The problem with that statement and the subsequent exam, Levine says, is that she did tell Song she had cramps, as most women do during their menstrual cycle, when questioned. However, she was not experiencing any cramping at the time of the visit, and thought the question was merely a routine inquiry that any doctor would ask at an annual exam.
“I imagine a good doctor would ask me more questions about the cramps other than if I just had them and they hurt,” Levine told CrimeOnline, adding, “like asking if I had investigated the pain in the past, have I had an ultrasound before, et cetera.”
“Besides, I wasn’t even in pain when I went. … I was just answering the question as I thought it was part of the new patient interview. I called the office when I got the bill and they were instantly aggressive with me, and started fighting with me over whether or not I had pelvic pain.”
“Very poor and crooked business practice,” Levine subsequently stated in her review of the business. “I suspect that this doctor gives unnecessary procedure [sic] to a lot of people and then charges the insurance sky high prices and no one knows the difference. Everything about my one and only visit here has caused me emotional distress and panic, and now they want me to cough up an extra $500 for services I didn’t even need?”
Only a couple of weeks later, Levine received an email from Song’s lawyers accusing her of false postings and online harassment. The doctor was officially suing Levine for $1 million.
Levine then spoke with media outlets including CrimeOnline and the New York Post, which she said has now led to yet another court filing.
“Yesterday they filed a motion in court literally asking for my imprisonment for going to the media and they are asking the court to force me to retract my statements,” the distraught patient told CrimeOnline. “The backstory of that is we had an agreement that I would stop posting and talk about him … but I would only do so in good faith that there would be settlement negotiations … and the doctor refused to settle.”
@theCCR I am the one on who has been on the news about Dr. Song. He literally filed a new motion asking for my imprisonment for speaking out to the media.
— MIchelle Levine (@whoameye123) June 2, 2018
Because the doctor refused any settlement agreements, Levine feels it is her right to speak out against what she feels is an atrocious and frivolous lawsuit. However, Song and his lawyers disagree and have asked her to “retract her statements,” as well as demand that any previous articles be taken down.
“They broke the stipulation so it was null…they just have endless money and are trying to plow me. It’s really evil,” Levine said.
In the new court filing, documents provided to CrimeOnline direct Levine “to immediately comply with the Order by contacting any news organizations that she has previously spoken to in regards to this matter in order to retract her statement and request an immediate take-down of any related articles and a subsequent published correction, with language to be approved by the Defendants [Song and his attorneys].”
The document opens up stating, in part: “The purpose of the hearing upon the following application is to punish the accused for contempt of court, and that such punishment may consist of fines or imprisonment or both, according to law.”
In addition to the new court filing, Levine said she was appalled to find out that Song had also “slandered” her on the Korean news site Korean Daily.
According to a translation Levine obtained of the article, she said Song accused her of having “a track record of threatening lawsuits.”
“He is saying I have a history of using negative reviews to force money out of people … that I have a track record of threatening lawsuits … that I have sued a dentist and other venues in the past. Which is a lie, I never sued anyone!”
The publication, which Levine said she “stumbled across by luck,” states, in part, that “Levine has been found to have filed similar lawsuits against dentists and restaurants on several occasions,” according to the translation obtained by Levine.
In addition to the aforementioned, as previously reported by CrimeOnline, Levine claims that Song violated her HIPAA rights by posting her private information on a public court site. While the woman said she had “posted his misleading test using the un-redacted option which kept it private,” she said Song “posted everything else publicly without permission or following any procedure whatsoever.”
“Well, he filed an amended complaint accusing me of further defamation in claiming that he violated my HIPAA rights by making [her medical record] and bills available on New York’s e-file court system,” Levine said. “He didn’t have permission from me and he didn’t have permission from the court to post it there…it was up for days and anyone could have seen it.”
Levine said she then “finally got the judge to get it sealed,” meaning the personal information is no longer available to the public.
The New York resident is livid by the entire situation, and said she plans to file a countersuit and will “start contacting human right’s groups on Monday.”
“All I wanted was an annual exam, and instead I got stuck with him for almost a year now,” Levine told CrimeOnline. “That’s the thing about these lawsuits. They scare the victims because they don’t want to spend the money and any wrong moves cost more money … even though you did nothing wrong you just have to bear the financial burden and it doesn’t go away. So you get scared to come out and say ‘hey this guy is doing this to me, someone do something.’ And the system is broken … every agency that was supposed to help me just kept saying they weren’t going to do anything, for some reason or another. Including NYU where I found him.”
Levine started a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to help her with legal expenses during this unimaginable time.
“Coming forward is hard for me to do,” the GoFundMe page reads. “I never thought I would post this GoFundMe, but I simply cannot afford the cost of defense.”
“I want this Go Fund Me to symbolize that people are entitled to their first amendment rights and should not be punished for taking advantage of that right. Exercising your first amendment right should not invalidate a patient’s right to privacy.”
Levine said 10 percent of GoFundMe donations will be donated to the “Electronic Frontier Foundation,” an organization that “defends the right to free speech on the internet.” Additionally, she said 10% would also be donated to the American Medical Woman’s Association.
You may click here to donate to the fund, which had garnered $1,859 of an $80,000 goal at the time of publishing.
[Feature photo: Michelle Levine, photo provided to CrimeOnline]