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Law Practice in Jacksonville

SELECTED 2013-2014

Schneider Update: Addressing all of the FAQ on Jacksonville Dentist Howard S. Schneider

Criminal Case

JSO / Attorney General Criminal Cases against Howard Schneider

On November 16, 2015, Dr. Howard S. Schneider was arrested. He is out on bond. His first court appearance, called an arraignment, will be December 8, 2015, at 9 AM at the Duval County Courthouse, courtroom 508. His lawyer, Bill Sheppard, will likely appear with him and plead not guilty to all charges. The State and Schneider’s team will conduct discovery where information will be exchanged and people will be interviewed.

He was charged with 11 counts of violation of Section 409.920(2)(A)(2), under the Medicaid Fraud Statute. It states:

(2)(a) A person may not:

2. Knowingly make, cause to be made, or aid and abet in the making of a claim for items or services that are not authorized to be reimbursed by the Medicaid program.
The potential punishment:

(b)1. A person who violates this subsection and receives or endeavors to receive anything of value of:

a. Ten thousand dollars or less commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
Each charge is a felony. It is not only the misrepresentation in the billing that is an issue for him, but any failure to keep adequate records and/or any violations of the law by abusing patients and/or acting improperly as a dentist and/or otherwise giving any treatment which was inappropriate and/or inappropriate billing. It is a very smart way to approach his case as by billing the government for services, those services must have been done appropriately and documented correctly.

JSO / Attorney General Criminal Cases against Howard Schneider’s Assistant

Florida’s attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office also arrested and booked one of Schneider’s former assistants, LaTosha Bevel-Hillsman, on charges of practicing dentistry without a license, defrauding the Florida Medicaid program and child abuse. Hillsman was booked into the Duval County jail just after 5 p.m. Tuesday, November 17, 2015.

She was charged with 1 count of violation of Section 409.920(2)(A)(2), under the Medicaid Fraud Statute. It states:

(2)(a) A person may not:

2. Knowingly make, cause to be made, or aid and abet in the making of a claim for items or services that are not authorized to be reimbursed by the Medicaid program.
The potential punishment:

(b)1. A person who violates this subsection and receives or endeavors to receive anything of value of:

a. Ten thousand dollars or less commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
Additionally, she was charged with violation of Section 466.026(1)(a). It states:

466.026 Prohibitions; penalties.

(1) Each of the following acts constitutes a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084:

(a) Practicing dentistry or dental hygiene unless the person has an appropriate, active license issued by the department pursuant to this chapter.
Finally, she was charged with 827.03(1)(A). It states:

827.03 Abuse, aggravated abuse, and neglect of a child; penalties.

(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Aggravated child abuse” occurs when a person:

1. Commits aggravated battery on a child;
2. Willfully tortures, maliciously punishes, or willfully and unlawfully cages a child; or
3. Knowingly or willfully abuses a child and in so doing causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child.
Each is charged as a felony. It is unknown if other employees will be charged or if she will be charged for work on more victims. A dental assistant cannot perform the procedures she performed, it damaged the child and thus it is abuse. If a procedure such as this was performed and was billed for, it would also constitute billing fraud.
We expect the facts will exhibit a clear lack of control, condoned insubordination, and negligent practice at the office where the goal was to maximize profit at the expense of children and medicaid.

Civil Claims

Civil Claims Asserted According to Florida Law

We served the mandatory pre-suit notices in 70 cases well over a month ago.  In each case, we had an expert review the patient’s file and he testified, under oath, as to certain breaches of care by Dr. Schneider and his office. More notices have recently been served. There is a mandatory 90 day period where parties can then take statements, conduct interviews and review documents before the law allows the victim to file any suit. We are in the middle of that period and are conducting discovery. We are also teaming up with other lawyers to assist them with completing the pre-suit process on their cases. Each one of our clients needs to make sure they have met with us about important information.

Why does the law require more work to file a lawsuit against a doctor or dentist? Florida law protects medical professionals.  We all want the best medical professionals in our city and state.  So, to give good doctors a little better chance to avoid lawsuits, the medical malpractice laws requires patients who have been harmed by a medical professional to proceed OUT of court at first. All cases involving the where harm remotely resulted out of the rendering or failure to render medical (or dental) services must comply. The only exception is where there was a sexual assault or the harm clearly arose OUTSIDE of the rendering of medical services.

“Class Action Complaint” filed by another lawyer

Out of the five or six lawyers handling civil claims, only one lawyer has filed a lawsuit. It is scheduled for a dismissal hearing in January 26, 2016. This case escaped dismissal of this suit because the judge failed to hear argument about the correct complaint. You can read that in full, here- Motion To Dismiss.

Motion to dismiss against sarrisDr. Schneider’s lawyers made such harsh commentary about this suit as, “The law does not, nor has it ever commended those who are willfully blind to the applicable authorities.” Schneider’s lawyers not only request dismissal of the entire lawsuit but sanctions against the attorney who brought it. In pages 14-15, Dr. Schneider’s lawyers also ask the Court to turn the victim’s lawyer into the Florida Bar for disciplinary review. It further asks for damages against the lawyer personally. A hearing was set for this dismissal motion in January and the Court will decide whether this action can proceed.

We hope that each victim has all of their rights preserved. Under medical malpractice, each victim has two years to begin a claim under the notice statute. If they do not, they may waive and lose some valuable rights. Much of the damages we have seen are alleged to be related to the rendering or failure to render proper professional services, as the claimed abuse and breaches occurred in the dental office. There are other claims outside of medical malpractice as well in our cases.

Schneider Divorce Case

The Schneiders’ divorce case is still active, is a part of the public record and the financial disputes between them continue. Motions have been filed for refusing to cooperate with discovery.

The most interesting recent development is that Howard Schneider’s emergency motion for distribution of assets was denied as an emergency motion. Howard Schneider wanted his wife to release funds to help him pay for his criminal defense. That order is here:

Schneider denied

The Court will hear argument on these issues mid December.


More Information:

General Information About Dental Abuse Civil Cases:

Case Against Howard S. Schneider:

National News Stories About Schneider Case:

Other Resources:

Evidence Locker:


The Law Offices of John Phillips are based in Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach, Florida, but John is licensed in Florida, Georgia and Alabama and before the U.S. Supreme Court. We will consult wherever injustice lives. In addition to personal injury and wrongful death, our firm handles family law matters and select criminal defense cases. You can contact us at help@floridajustice.com.

John Phillips Schneider Arrest Press Conf