A Colombian couple, characterized by prosecutors as greedy con artists who preyed on Latino patients, are now facing wrongful death lawsuits from the family of a 42-year-old Las Vegas woman who died in a botched buttocks enhancement procedure in the back room of a tile store.
A lawsuit filed Dec. 22 in Clark County District Court in Nevada on behalf of the husband and two children of Elena Caro seeks unspecified damages from Ruben Dario Matallana-Galvas and his wife, Carmen Olfidia Torres-Sanchez, plus the owners of the now-closed tile store and a beauty salon alleged to have referred Caro to the couple for the fatal surgery.
Caro's daughter, Janet Villalobos, filed a separate lawsuit Dec. 21 against the same defendants.
"They're seeking damages for the loss of their wife and mother," said attorney Kevin Edwin Galliher, representing husband Oscar Canale and the couple's two children. Galliher said he is cooperating with lawyer Michaela Tramel, who represents Villalobos. Tramel didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
The Las Vegas Sun first reported the lawsuits Tuesday.
Matallana-Galvas, 56, and Torres-Sanchez, 47, were each sentenced in October to up to eight years in a Nevada prison plus a year in the Clark County jail for involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy and practicing medicine without a license.
They're seeking damages for the loss of their wife and mother.
- Kevin Edwin Galliher, the family's attorney
Matallana-Galvas said he was a homeopathic physician in Colombia. Torres-Sanchez was a lawyer with the country's attorney general's office. Authorities said they were in the U.S. on tourist visas that have expired, and they will face deportation after completing their sentences.
An autopsy showed Caro died April 9 from an allergic reaction to anesthesia administered before an injection of a gel to reshape her buttocks. Caro received facial injections from Matallana-Galvas a week earlier, with no side effects.
Authorities said Caro was referred by people at the Sinaloa Beauty Salon to Matallana-Galvas and Torres-Sanchez, and that the fatal procedure took place in a back room of a Tiles and More store east of downtown Las Vegas.
Attorneys for the defendants were not identified in court records, and Galliher said the defendants were not yet served with the lawsuit.
Matallana-Galvas acknowledged at his sentencing that Caro became ill while he conducted the procedure with Torres-Sanchez assisting.
Authorities said the couple bundled Caro into a car with another woman, but Caro died on the way to a hospital.
Police said Caro was found on a street not far from North Vista Hospital in Las Vegas.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.