MAY 23, 2014
“Plastic surgeon’s defamation case thrown out”
Lisa Hutson, FOX19, Covington, Kentucky
Catherine Nazari of Greendale, Ind. said she posted negative reviews of her plastic surgeon online after she suffered horrible scars and disfigurement from her procedures. That surgeon — Dr. Jean Loftus of Fort Wright — took her to court for those comments but the outcome was something neither one of them expected. “I had breast implants, breast lift, arm lift and a tummy tuck all in the same day,” said Nazari, 54.
Nazari said she underwent plastic surgery in 2006 to remedy loose skin caused by losing weight but what she woke up to was not what she expected. “My hands were numb. I had no feeling in my arms or my hands and she said it was due to the surgery, that it would come back in time but it never did,” she said. Unsightly scars and permanent nerve damage Nazari says are the results of that surgery. Soon after, she took to the Internet to warn others about her plastic surgeon. “I just wanted people to know. Be diligent. Do your research,” she said.
But Loftus has a different view. “I can’t stand by and let someone say absolutely false, disparaging, untrue statements, blatant defamatory accusations about me,” Loftus said. Loftus said the comments Nazari posted online about her practice were not negative reviews. They were lies. She said Nazari had a previous nerve condition that is causing her medical problems. Her incisions were not even deep enough to reach her nerves according to Loftus. That is when she decided to sue Nazari for defamation. “I did not file this suit to make money or to win an award. I filed this suit to bring out the truth,” Loftus said.
But a U.S. District Court judge in Covington did not agree and dismissed the doctor’s defamation claim and Nazari’s counterclaims citing under the 1st Amendment, Nazari had a right to her opinion.
Local defamation attorney Rob Linneman isn’t surprised. “This outcome is the outcome most constitutional scholars would have predicted. The consideration that is given to most 1st Amendment cases is what effect will it have on other people who would make comments if we punish this person for making this comment,” Linneman said.
Loftus disagrees. “It gives everybody the lead way to say whatever they want about anything they want and essentially hide behind the 1st Amendment,” Loftus said, noting she is most concerned about the precedent her case has set.
Though she is still unhappy with her procedures, Nazari is glad the legal fight is over. “My whole life has been disrupted because of all of this,” she said.
Nazari filed a medical malpractice suit against Loftus but the case was thrown out. No medical expert could support her claims that the problems she is experiencing are a result of plastic surgery.