A Fresno doctor who contends he was betrayed by his former partners at the California Cancer Associates for Research, widely known as cCare, will receive more than $1 million in unpaid deferred compensation and for his shares in the company, a judge has ruled.
But the civil trial in Fresno County Superior Court for Dr. Michael J. Moffett is not over.
A jury still has to determine if cCare owes Moffett about $180,000 in unpaid salary.
The jury also is deliberating on cCare’s counterclaim that Moffett, 55, and his fiancée, administrator Marie E. Shaffer, 49, defrauded the company. The company has accused Moffett and Shaffer of committing financial misconduct and cutting a back-door deal with a competitor to financially ruin cCare and is seeking more than $1 million from Moffett and $25,000 from Shaffer.
Because jurors could not reach a verdict Friday, they will return Monday to resume deliberations.
Founded in 1993 in Fresno, cCare is a doctors group specializing in chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer patients. Moffett was president and chief executive officer of cCare, near Herndon and Cedar avenues in northeast Fresno, until he resigned in 2013.
As chief executive and a practicing oncologist, Moffett had exclusive authority to manage the business without requiring approval of shareholders and the board of directors, court records say.
During the month-long trial, Fresno lawyers Charles Doerksen and Travis Stokes, who represented Moffett and Shaffer, said cCare partners made the doctor’s life miserable and breached his employment contract “when they pushed him out the door.”
They contended the medical group owed Moffett about $1.15 million in unpaid salary, deferred compensation and for his shares in the company.
Irvine-based lawyer Mark M. Scott, who represents the medical group, however, told the jury that Moffett “essentially committed treason” when he cut a secret deal with a competitor. Scott accused Moffett of paying himself excessive compensation and spending lavishly on himself and Shaffer.
Once the medical group found out about the financial misconduct, Scott said, Moffett erased phone messages and scrubbed information from his laptop and desk computers.
Moffett made about $1 million a year as president and CEO of cCare. But so did the other doctors in the group, Doerksen told the jury.
But as years passed, Moffett became disillusioned with the way he and the other physicians were earning a living: The more expensive drugs and expensive tests doctors ordered, the more money the doctors made. So in 2010, Moffett began searching for a better way to care for his cancer patients, and “that became a problem in cCare,” Doerksen told the jury.
In the spring of 2012, the Fresno medical group merged with a oncologists group in San Diego. But the honeymoon didn’t last long. When Moffett took his concerns about the San Diego group to cCare’s board of directors and shareholders, they did not support him, so he resigned as the group’s leader.
According to his contract, Moffett was allowed to cash in his deferred compensation and shares in the company, but the medical group declined to honor it, Doerksen said.
On Thursday, Judge Alan Simpson sided with Moffett, ordering cCare to pay the doctor $525,358 in unpaid deferred compensation and $532,625 for his shares.