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Medical Panel Seeks to Discipline Doctor in Assault With Car

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Medical Board of California is seeking disciplinary action against a Torrance cardiologist who pleaded no contest last year to charges that he assaulted a motorcyclist with his car and fled.

Dr. Marc L. Platt, who is scheduled to appear before the board for a hearing next month, could face penalties ranging from probation to suspension of his medical license. According to the board’s accusation, he is subject to disciplinary action under the state Business and Professions Code because he was convicted of offenses related to “the qualifications, functions and duties of a physician and surgeon.”

Platt, 44, pleaded no contest in March, 1992, to misdemeanor counts of assault with a deadly weapon and hit-and-run causing injury. He was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and to perform 600 hours of community service.

Deputy Atty. Gen. Adrian K. Panton, who is representing the medical board in the case, said this week that he does not expect Platt’s license to be suspended or revoked.

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“It’s a misdemeanor, and, based on his record, it appears to be a very isolated situation,” Panton said.

Attorney John Yzurdiaga, who represented Platt in the court case, said his client had not intended to hurt the motorcyclist.

The Oct. 12, 1991, incident occurred on a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway near Palos Verdes Boulevard in southern Torrance. David E. Willison, 40, of Redondo Beach told police that he was driving his motorcycle behind his girlfriend’s car when Platt’s car sped past and swerved into his lane, almost rear-ending his girlfriend’s car.

Willison said that at a stop, he knocked on Platt’s window and yelled, “What’s your problem!” Platt struck Willison with his car, knocking the motorcyclist to the ground and dragged him by moving the car back and forth, said Willison, who suffered an injured leg.

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Yzurdiaga said Platt was driving with his 10-year-old son and was apprehensive when Willison yelled at him, fearing that the motorcyclist might be armed.

Platt may have overreacted in turning his car into Willison, Yzurdiaga said. But when he moved the car back and forth, he was not trying to hurt Willison but trying to free the car from the motorcycle handlebars, Yzurdiaga said.

“He wanted to get away from this guy. That’s what this whole thing is about,” Yzurdiaga said.

The hearing is scheduled for Oct. 27 before an administrative law judge who will issue a preliminary decision in the case. The final decision will be made by the medical board’s Division of Medical Quality.

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