Merick Lewin, the Davie state house candidate who said he did not want to be judged by his "familial relationships," was a registered lobbyist for his family's medical clinic last year.
State records indicate Lewin lobbied for the Broward Rehab Center, a medical clinic in Lauderdale Lakes. The vice president of the clinic is Harley Lewin, Merick's uncle, who is also co-owner of the 1-800-411-PAIN Referral Service. Broward Rehab was one of the first clinics opened by 411-PAIN founder Robert Lewin -- Harley Lewin's brother -- in what is now a national network of lawyers and chiropractors soliciting clients who have been in car accidents.
Recently, state legislators have considered imposing tougher regulations on medical and legal referral services such as 411-PAIN. Merick Lewin told the Pulp that if elected, he would abstain from voting on any bill that "would give a direct financial incentive" to his family. He also said he resented "the presumption and implication" that he would be biased toward 411-PAIN -- but never mentioned his previous lobbying role. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment today.
Broward Rehab played an important role in a class-action lawsuit filed against 411-PAIN last year. Friends Ganesh Sohan and Bryan Rodriguez called the hotline after a car accident and were referred to Broward Rehab, where they racked up thousands of dollars in medical bills. They now claim they were tricked by the company and filed a suit accusing 411-PAIN of false advertising, deceptive trade practices, and a civil conspiracy. The company denies the allegations.
Merick Lewin is a GOP candidate to represent District 97 in western Broward. He's currently living with his uncle, Harley Lewin, in Davie.