A Medical Device Daily

Ra Medical Systems (Carlsbad, California) said the San Diego County Superior Court has awarded the company and its founder and president, Dean Irwin, additional costs and fees totaling more than $30,000 as part of its successful defense of an action bought by PhotoMedex (Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania).

Irwin is a former vice president of R&D at PhotoMedex.

This latest award follows an award last year of more than $100,000 against PhotoMedex, which had sued Ra Medical and Irwin for breach of contract, interference with contracts, misappropriation of trade secrets and conversion, but, Ra Medical said in a statement, "was unable to produce any evidence to support their claims, including the alleged contract it claimed it entered into with Irwin."

The California company said PhotoMedex has tried on multiple occasions to avoid having to pay Ra Medical and Irwin for their attorneys' fees and costs, but that those attempts have been rejected by the courts.

Ra Medical said it had incurred additional costs in defending against PhotoMedex's appeal of the initial award. It said that once that appeal was denied, PhotoMedex failed to make payment on the judgment entered against it, and Ra Medical was forced to use the services of the local sheriff. It said PhotoMedex paid the initial judgment only after the sheriff appeared at its corporate headquarters.

Ra Medical said PhotoMedex has failed to pay the additional amount awarded, and that Ra is in the process of taking action to enforce the award.

Rapping what he termed PhotoMedex's "malicious actions" and "spurious lawsuit against us," Irwin said that company's action against his firm "had no legal merit and was instituted solely to stifle competition."

He said Ra Medical has brought an action against PhotoMedex for "malicious prosecution."

Ra Medical Systems manufactures an excimer laser system, the EX-308, used for treatment of skin diseases and disorders, including psoriasis and vitiligo.

In other legalities, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP; Harrisburg) said it has fined Geisinger Medical Group $900,000 for not performing required equipment testing and falsifying records at its Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, clinic, where evaluations and inspections revealed deficiencies in the quality of the facility's mammograms.

The deficiencies involved a quality control technician failing to perform required tests to ensure the quality of mammograms conducted at the facility. The technician, who is no longer employed by Geisinger, falsified records to indicate some of the required tests had been done.

Geisinger voluntarily reported the violations of the state's Radiation Protection Act to the DEP and the FDA when the facility became aware of problems in February 2005. The company immediately stopped conducting the tests at the Lock Haven site, and is no longer performing the medical procedure there.

As part of an agreement with the DEP, Geisinger sent letters to all patients who had mammograms performed at the Lock Haven clinic between May 18, 2003, and the time it stopped conducting the tests on Feb. 10, 2005, offering to pay for new mammograms at a facility of the patient's choice.

All other Geisinger facilities providing mammograms were inspected or reviewed by either the Department of Environmental Protection or the American College of Radiology (Reston, Virginia) following the Lock Haven report, and those facilities were found to meet federal guidelines for administration of the tests. nBriefly Noted

Exagen opens Austin office

Exagen Diagnostics (Albuquerque, New Mexico), which develops and commercializes genomic marker-based

in vitro diagnostic kits for disease prognosis and prediction of treatment response, has opened a new business office in Austin, Texas.

Exagen's first tests predict the risk of breast cancer recurrence using a prognostic index so that women at both low and elevated risk of recurrence can be identified with high accuracy. The company, which plans to submit its test kits to the FDA for clearance later this year, will be the first to market a set of genomic markers for breast cancer prognosis.

In preparation for its upcoming product launch, Exagen is expanding its sales and customer care departments with the addition of a new vice president of sales, director of customer care, and both technical services and customer services professionals to support the company's test kits.

ATC opens Pasadena office

ATC Healthcare (Lake Success, New York), which focuses on medical staffing, reported that it is opening a new office in Pasadena, California. The new, company-owned office will be part of its Doctors' Corner operation, which provides permanent and temporary medical administrative services to clients in Southern California. Doctors' Corner currently operates in three locations in the region, in Mission Hills, West Los Angeles and Seal Beach.

ATC focuses on providing medical staffing personnel to hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other healthcare facilities, with 54 locations in 31 states. ATC provides supplemental staffing, outsourcing and human resources solutions to hospitals, nursing homes, medical and research facilities and industry.