State Settles With Company That Performed Forensic Toxicology Services For Rockland County Without The Required Permit

Attorney General Spitzer today announced a settlement with a Long Island company that performed forensic toxicology services for Rockland County without the necessary state permit.

The settlement requires Forensic Associates, Inc. ("FAI") to pay $33,540 to Rockland County and to cease operating. The owners of FAI and its consultant will also pay penalties to the New York State Department of Health ("DOH") and refrain from operating a clinical laboratory for five years.

From 1995 through 2005, FAI had contracts with Rockland County to conduct forensic toxicological services. Pursuant to New York Public Health Law, any laboratory that performs forensic toxicology testing must obtain a permit from DOH to operate as a clinical laboratory and that permit specifically must authorize the clinical laboratory to conduct forensic toxicology testing. The certification process to conduct such testing includes a review of the clinical laboratory’s testing results, equipment, employee and supervisory competency and training, and safety records.

The Attorney General Office’s investigation revealed that, FAI did not have its own physical laboratory and thus never had a clinical laboratory permit. Therefore, FAI could not, and did not, have authorization from DOH to conduct forensic toxicology testing. In addition, none of FAI’s principals, Jesse Bidanset, Charles Salerno and Robert Dettling, had the required clinical laboratory certificate of qualification from DOH authorizing them to perform or direct forensic toxicology testing.

Upon learning of these findings, Rockland County ceased accepting FAI services.

The Attorney General Office’s settlement requires FAI to dissolve and to pay Rockland County $33,540, which equals the amount of money the County paid FAI during 2005. Bidanset, Salerno and Dettling also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $38,000 to DOH, a portion of which DOH will suspend as long as the individuals do not apply to DOH for a clinical laboratory permit for five years.

The Attorney General’s office also thanked the staff of DOH for its assistance in this matter.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Stacy P. Aronowitz under the supervision of Carrie H. Cohen, Chief of the Public Integrity Unit and Debra L.W. Cohn, Deputy Attorney General, and was investigated by Investigators Kevin McCann and Sylvia Rivera of the Investigations Bureau.


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