A jury has found in favor of a Columbus, Ohio, doctor in a discrimination, defamation and tortious interference with business relations lawsuit after a trial in federal court. The man sued several other doctors and Mount Carmel Health Systems after a so-called peer review policy led to cancellation of the doctor’s privileges at a Columbus hospital.
The doctor, who is African-American, says that his medical privileges were cut off at the hospital, at least in part, based upon discriminatory reasons. The lawsuit alleged that other doctors had determined that the plaintiff’s care had fallen below the standards of the hospital, leading to suspension of the doctor’s medical privileges.
The affected physician says that the allegations were trumped up in order to suspend his privileges so that he could no longer compete with the other doctors. The man presented evidence and argument before a jury to show that white doctors at the hospital were not suspended under similar circumstances, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
The jury concluded earlier this month that the hospital and three doctors had engaged in racial discrimination in suspending the doctor. The jury determined that a fourth doctor had not engaged in unlawful discrimination.
The case also had elements of defamation by negligence and tortious interference claims—the jury found one of the defendant doctors liable on these counts.
We have discussed the idea of claims of defamation of character in previous posts. False and defamatory content can have significant impact upon a person’s professional reputation. False and defamatory information promulgated in a public forum can lead to significant harm to a professional in most any area, including in the medical professional.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “Doctor awarded $3.7 million from Mount Carmel, 3 other physicians," Kathy Lynn Gray, Oct. 8, 2013