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In what legal experts say is an unprecedented move, a Broward, Fla., Circuit judge has banished from his courtroom for life an expert witness — who’s also a successful neurosurgeon in Pembroke Pines, Fla. — after publicly branding him a “liar” and “insidious perjurer.” While presiding over a personal injury case in February, Judge Robert Lance Andrews said of Dr. Stephen Z. Gervin: “I’m just not going to let him testify. He wouldn’t know the truth if it leapt up and bit him in the ass.” Gervin, chief of neurosurgery at Memorial Hospital Pembroke, denies the judge’s statements. Booted off the case, and shunned as an expert-for-hire, the doctor has retained a dream team of South Florida lawyers to reclaim both his good name and his lucrative sideline work. In turn, and arguing Gervin was denied any chance to defend himself, the attorneys asked the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach, Fla., last month to erase Andrews’ on-the-record remarks and quash an order by the judge that permanently excludes Gervin from his court. The appellate court last week denied the request without comment. Gervin, a medical doctor since 1963, didn’t return a phone message seeking comment. Judge Andrews said he would not comment. And Charles Fahlbusch, an assistant attorney general in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., assigned to represent the judge, declined to comment. Though they are barred by law from further appeals — and hemmed in because you can’t sue a judge for an official act — Gervin and his attorneys aren’t giving up. “We’ve just begun to fight,” said Bruce Rogow, the high-profile Fort Lauderdale civil rights attorney and Nova Southeastern University law professor who’s perhaps best known for his obscenity defense a few years back of Luther Campbell and his rap group, 2 Live Crew. “We’re going to file an original action in circuit court, here in Broward County, seeking injunctive relief to purge this from the judicial record,” Rogow said. “We are not seeking damages. We are only seeking justice, and justice in this case is the right to be heard before your good name is taken.” In addition to Rogow and partner Beverly Pohl, Gervin’s stable of high-priced legal talent includes Holland & Knight partners Daniel Pearson, who is a former judge on Miami’s 3rd District Court of Appeal, and John Hogan, an ex-chief of staff for U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. Still, Andrews isn’t the only Broward Circuit judge who’s been troubled by Gervin’s performance as an expert witness. In August, Judge Leonard Fleet read Gervin his Miranda rights before allowing him to testify in another personal-injury case. Fleet acted after learning that Gervin may have violated Florida’s electronic eavesdropping law — a third degree felony — by secretly tape-recording patients in an exam room. Fleet’s determination was later the subject of a criminal investigation by the Broward state attorney’s office, which did not substantiate the accusation. Exactly why Andrews doesn’t trust Gervin to testify truthfully isn’t known. But the judge’s concerns about Gervin go back to August, when Andrews went to the state attorney’s office to complain that Gervin might have perjured himself while testifying about medical examinations he’d conducted as a paid expert in several personal injury trials and depositions. That allegation, plus the accusation that Gervin may have illegally tape recorded interviews with patient/ witnesses, were investigated by State Attorney Mike Satz’s special prosecutions unit. Among the specific accusations looked into: that Gervin had filed false affidavits in court regarding how many patient examinations he’d done for a particular law firm, had lied under oath about his medical experience, had once fabricated a blood pressure finding, and had given contradictory testimony about his observations of patient symptoms. No charges were filed and the criminal investigation of Gervin was closed last November, according to prosecution records. Then in February, the judge, on his own initiative, let it be known he wasn’t going to let Gervin testify as a witness for the defense in a car accident case that was about to go to trial. According to the transcripts of a hearing, the judge explained to counsel for both sides that he’d watched Gervin testify in the past, had witnessed him lie on “numerous occasions” and had come to conclude “he is incapable of telling the truth.” “I may do a lot of bizarre things, but I’m not going to allow a perjurer to come into my courtroom. I’m clear and convinced that he’s a perjurer,” Andrews said, according to the transcript.

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