Rose Lipner, age 32, mother of 2, died at Riverdale Hospital in late January, 1936. Dr. Maxwell C. Katz, who lived at Riverdale (maternity) Hospital, which he operated, signed a death certificate indicating that Rose had been operated on for a tumor. After the funeral, an anonymous caller notified police that the death was suspicious, and Rose was exhumed for an autopsy. The medical examiner determined that Rose had died from an abortion. Katz was arraigned for second-degree manslaughter, but acquitted later that year.

Katz, born in New York about 1893, was the son of Russian immigrants. He had a wife, Irene, daughters Phyllis and Leatrice, and a servant named Annie Cohen. In 1930, his mother, Rose, lived with the family.,