Doctor Defamation Case Study: Requested Review /= Defamation
May this doctor defamation case serve as a cautionary one. The lesson? Don’t sue for defamation over a situation you initiated.
Acrimonious Doctor Departure Results In AAR
Back in 2003, a doctor locked heads with administrators at his medical facility. Ultimately, the doctor quit instead of dealing with the office tension. Judging from available documents, he received a severance package.
Immediately after the doctor left, administrators – in accordance with the facility’s operating procedures – submitted an Adverse Action Report about the doctor’s departure.
Doctor Requests AAR Removal; Denied; Requests Investigation
Fast forward to 2011. The doctor contacted the hospital requesting removal of the AAR.
But the hospital refused.
Undeterred, the doctor went directly to HHS – the company that maintains the AAR database – about removing the AAR.
The rub: HHS won’t remove something just because a doctor asks. Instead, staff members investigate each situation. In this instance, an HHS representative contacted the hospital and asked for a recounting of the events that led to the doctor’s unceremonious departure.
Doctor Unhappy With HHS Investigation Results Sues For Defamation
The hospital complied and related “the sequence of events” to HHS. In the end, the Adverse Action Report stayed put. So, the doctor filed a defamation lawsuit, arguing that the revelation of his situation to HHS constituted defamation.
Judge Rules In Favor Of Hospital
The court, however, wasn’t feeling the doctor’s argument. The judge reasoned that the doctor, technically, requested an investigation; as such, he has no right to financial damages over the information uncovered in said inquiry.
Doctors Do Win Defamation Lawsuits Involving Negative Reviews
Does this mean that every doctor defamation lawsuit centering around a review will turn out the same? Absolutely not. In fact, in this case, it sounds like the hospital told the truth. If the hospital had lied, however, the outcome would have been different.
What Is Considered Lying Under US Defamation Law?
What constitutes lying? Clearly, a false statement of fact is a lie. Additionally, under United States defamation law, there are two other actionable categories of falsity – defamation by omission and defamation by implication.
Speak With A Doctor Defamation Lawyer Today
If you are a doctor, surgeon, nurse or another type of medical professional in need of defamation legal advice, get in touch with Kelly / Warner Law today. We enjoy an excellent rating by independent lawyer review association, Martindale-Hubble; plus, founding partner Aaron Kelly also has a perfect rating on consumer Internet lawyer review website, AVVO.
Don’t wait. In many cases, doctor defamation problems can be solved quickly – especially in instances of online review sites.
Get in touch with the doctor defamation legal team at Kelly / Warner Law today. You have more legal options than you realize.