Can a Lawyer Threaten a Board Complaint if You Don’t Write a Check?

Lawyers frequently play hardball to collect money for their clients. This includes the veiled threat to file a Board complaint unless a check is forthcoming. Can they do that?


A lawyer may threaten to sue you if their demand for money is not met.

But, they are foreclosed from leveraging a complaint to the Board to settle a civil dispute. In other words, they cannot say “If you pay us we will not complain to the Board of Medicine.” The Board’s mission is to protect the public. It is not there to serve as a chess piece to allow a plaintiff and his attorney to profit.

If a lawyer makes such a threat – either to file a Board complaint or slam you online – if you don’t pay up, arguably that meets the legal definition for extortion – a criminal offense. Further, the Bar may take action based on violation of Code of Professional Responsibility. So, while lawyers can and do play hardball, some threats are forbidden. If they make such threats, the ball game changes.

Medical Justice provides solutions for numerous medicolegal issues – including countersuits. And we’re ready to share our bank of knowledge. Confirm your email below and let us know what you want to learn more about. We’ll email you articles related to common medicolegal issues.

CEO & Founder

Jeffrey Segal, MD, JD, FACS

At any moment, there are up to 60,000 open medical malpractice cases – though four out of five are deemed to have no merit.

Dr. Jeffrey Segal, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Medical Justice, is a board-certified neurosurgeon. In the process of conceiving, funding, developing, and growing Medical Justice, Dr. Segal has established himself as one of the country’s leading authorities on medical malpractice issues, counterclaims, and internet-based assaults on reputation.

In 2000, he co-founded and served as CEO of DarPharma, Inc, a biotechnology company in Chapel Hill, NC, focused on the discovery and development of first-of-class pharmaceuticals for neuropsychiatric disorders.



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Approximately 85% of intent-to-sue notifications that Medical Justice members face are dismissed before escalating to lawsuit status.*

Medical Justice makes your practice’s protection complete. We work tirelessly to neutralize frivolous lawsuits quickly with the goal of reducing your overall risk of legal claims. After all, prevention is always preferable to a painful cure. For those lawsuits not halted, we’re with you for the long haul. What’s more, we offer the most complete suite of services dedicated to managing your online reputation – completing the sphere of protection for your practice.

*Ohio and California data



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At any moment, there are up to 60,000 open medical malpractice cases – though four out of five are deemed to have no merit.

As the proven leader in medico-legal issues for doctors, we’re the first call our members make when a question or problem arises. Founded by doctors exclusively for fellow doctors, we’ve been leading the way for over ten years. We take your protection further because we know what it means for doctors like you. After all, we’re deeply rooted in the medical world ourselves.



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Mike Ritter, MD, Emergency Medicine, CA

When our members call on us, we deliver. Medico-legal issues and challenges to your reputation often arise with the same urgency as medical problems. We respond quickly to our members’ needs with genuine solutions to real concerns and pressing issues. From deterrence and counterclaim support to guidance in taking the right steps for the overall health of your practice, positive outcomes are our specialty.