Minnesota Litigator: On The Huge Threats And Challenges Of Defamation Cases

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SEPTEMBER 4, 2012

“On The Huge Threats And Challenges Of Defamation Cases”

Saul Leventhal, Minnesota Litigator

In the digital age, (mis)information travels far, fast, and essentially at no up-front cost — as never before. The potential for far-reaching reputation harm, irretrievable and at light-speed is a new social phenomenon. This should be news to no one. There is now a thriving market for “reputation management” (formerly known as public relations, damage control, crisis management?).

But think twice before you counsel your client to sue for defamation…

There are many perils in defamation cases. Perhaps the worst is that current U.S. law and, in particular, the rules for stating claims in complaints arguably require defamed plaintiffs to echo, re-broadcast, and republish the defamatory statements complained of in a public court file.

How many people would have read or heard of the unflattering descriptions of Dr. McKee if he himself had had not made a case of them?

The case, by the way, is being argued before the Minnesota Supreme Court this morning. The trial court had tossed out Dr. McKee’s complaint. The Court of Appeals reversed in part, concluding: that appellant’s defamation claim shall proceed with respect to the following statements: (1) appellant told the patient that he had to “spend time finding out if you were transferred or died”; (2) appellant said, “44% of hemorrhagic strokes die within 30 days. I guess this is the better option”; (3) appellant said, “You don’t need therapy”; (4) appellant said, “it doesn’t matter” that the patient’s gown did not cover his backside; (5) appellant left the patient’s room without talking to the patient’s family; and (6) a nurse told respondent that appellant was “a real tool.”

Has Dr. McKee’s lawsuit made him more likely or less likely to be widely viewed as “a real tool”?

If you bring a “normal” lawsuit and lose, the reputation risk is relatively slight. If, however, you bring a defamation lawsuit and you lose, or even if you quietly settle and call it a “win” (which is, all things considered, will be the way over 90% likely outcome), you may have taken whatever harm you originally suffered and magnified it, perhaps exponentially. Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “If you shoot at a king, you must kill him.” In a defamation case, similarly, plaintiffs had better fully appreciate the stakes of a misfire.

Speaking of the harm suffered by a defamation plaintiff, how is that measured? If a jury agrees with a doctor defamation plaintiff’s claim that a disappointed patient’s family falsely suggested that a nurse called the doctor a “real tool,” can the doctor really trace any actual damages to that unflattering, if ambiguous, label? And, if not, how is a jury to fix on a dollar amount? And how much was the claimed damage caused not by the original publication but by the defamation plaintiff’s subsequent lawsuit?

Source

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Web Posting

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply To Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Cease And Desist Letter To Defendant Dennis Laurion

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Complaint To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint To Sixth Judicial District Duluth Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Response To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Answer To Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Motion For Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Deposition Extracts

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances Before Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances After Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony In Response To Questions By Marshall Tanick

Affidavits By Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Parents

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Supplemental Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Motion To Oppose Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Memo In Support Of Motion For Summary Judgment

Sixth Judicial District Court’s Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Appeal Of Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Order To Strike Portion Of Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Announces Decision

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Petition For Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Opposition To Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Minnesota Supreme Court Decision On David McKee MD V. Dennis K. Laurion

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2010

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2011

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2012

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2013

McKee V Laurion Is A Textbook Case

Fox 47: “Court Considers Online Doctor Reviews Case”

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SEPTEMBER 4, 2012

“Court Considers Online Doctor Reviews Case”

 St. Paul, Minnesota ( FOX 47 )

The Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case involving online doctor reviews.

Dr. David McKee of Duluth sued the son of one of his patients who posted negative reviews.

A complaint said Dennis Laurion posted the reviews on three rate-your-doctor websites after Dr. McKee treated his father.

The Minnesota Supreme Court is considering whether the reviews can be proven true or false, and whether the statements on the websites are considered opinions.

Source

Summary  prepared by the Supreme Court Commissioner’s Office:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Supreme Court Courtroom, State Capitol

David McKee, M.D., Respondent vs. Dennis K. Laurion, Appellant – A11-1154:

Respondent David McKee is a medical doctor who practices neurology at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth. Dr. McKee examined the father of appellant Dennis Laurion. Shortly thereafter, Laurion posted negative reviews of Dr. McKee on three rate-your-doctor websites. Laurion also sent letters to St. Luke’s Hospital and numerous medical associations and organizations, which contained substantially similar statements about Dr. McKee.

Dr. McKee brought a complaint against Laurion, asserting claims for defamation and interference with business based on 11 statements Laurion had made about him. The district court granted Laurion’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the complaint. The court of appeals reversed, in part, with respect to Dr. McKee’s defamation claim and remanded.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the following issues are presented: (1) whether six statements Laurion made are factual assertions that are capable of being proven true or false; (2) whether Laurion’s statements made on the rate-your-doctor websites are opinions; and (3) whether Laurion’s letter to St. Luke’s Hospital is subject to a qualified privilege. (St. Louis County)

Medical Defamation Law Firm Blog Discusses McKee V. Laurion

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 March 25, 2012

“McKee v. Laurion: The Defamation Saga”

Medical Defamation Law Firm Blog

 When a doctor hires a private detective to find out which of the 4,400 nurses in St. Louis County, MN called him a “tool,” you know said doctor is serious about defending his or her reputation. That is just what Dr. David McKee of Northland Neurology and Myology is doing in preparation for the next leg of his doctor defamation lawsuit against the son of a former patient, Dennis Laurion.

 

Image-Private-Detective


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How This Doctor Defamation Lawsuit Began

When neurologist Dr. David McKee treated World War II veteran Kenneth Laurion his reportedly insensitive remarks and bedside manner wrangled the vet’s son, Dennis Laurion. The younger Laurion took his wrath to the web and posted unfavorable reviews about Dr. McKee on several doctor review websites. Dennis Laurion contended that Dr. McKee failed to treat the elder Laurion with concern and respect. According to Laurion, Dr. McKee “seemed upset” that Kenneth McKee was moved to a ward after a stint in the intensive care unit and said to his patient, “When you weren’t in ICU, I had to spend time finding out if you transferred or died.” Laurion also reported that the doctor dismissed the stroke patient’s need for therapy before pulling Kenneth Laurion up to his feet and forcing him to walk without any regard for whether the patient’s hospital gown was tied at the back. Dennis Laurion even went so far as to write that when he “mentioned Dr. McKee’s name to a friend who is a nurse, she said, ‘Dr. McKee is a real tool!’”

Online Accusations Lead To Doctor Defamation Suit

Angered by Laurion’s Internet critique, Dr. McKee filed a doctor defamation suit against Dennis Laurion for $50,000. In his case, Dr. McKee alleged that after treating Kenneth Laurion for his stroke, Dennis Laurion made “false and malicious statements” about the doctor to “nineteen different professional and medical organizations, regulatory agencies, and websites.”

Courts Disagree In Medical Defamation Case

Upon hearing the case, Sixth Judicial District Judge Eric Hylden dismissed Dr. McKee’s lawsuit because he found Dennis Laurion’s comments to be a matter of opinion protected by the First Amendment. But in January of 2012, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed Judge Hylden’s decision and ruled that a jury should evaluate certain statements made by Dennis Laurion for their truthfulness and defamatory potential. The judge then returned the case to the lower court for further consideration.

McKee v. Laurion is now scheduled to go to trial in January of 2013.

SOURCE

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Web Posting

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply To Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Cease And Desist Letter To Defendant Dennis Laurion

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Complaint To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint To Sixth Judicial District Duluth Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Response To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Answer To Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Motion For Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Deposition Extracts

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances Before Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances After Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony In Response To Questions By Marshall Tanick

Affidavits By Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Parents

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Supplemental Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Motion To Oppose Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Memo In Support Of Motion For Summary Judgment

Sixth Judicial District Court’s Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Appeal Of Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Order To Strike Portion Of Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Announces Decision

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Petition For Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Opposition To Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Minnesota Supreme Court Decision On David McKee MD V. Dennis K. Laurion

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2010

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2011

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2012

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2013

McKee V Laurion Is A Textbook Case

ADDENDUM:

On Monday, August 27, 2012, the above post was reprinted by Thank Heaven For Insurance Companies Blog Spot with the following paragraph:

“McKee v. Laurion is now scheduled to go to trial in January 2013,” but the Laurions are not backing down. They are already busy filing petitions with the Minnesota Supreme Court. The Laurions contend that the Minnesota Court of Appeals made an error in their determination that Dennis Laurion made false statements about his father’s allegedly “not-so-nice” neurologist. It appears that the only evidence the appeals court had to support their decision was Dr. McKee’s assertion that Dennis Laurion lied. When you consider that a stroke sufferer will be dragged into court to give testimony on this issue just after his 88th birthday, it seems that Dr. McKee’s private investigator might have an easy time finding that nurse.

Cybersmoke Blog Mentions McKee V. Laurion

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April 27, 2012

“A Classic Textbook SLAPP”

Clare L. Pieuk, Cybersmoke Blog

“When a doctor hires a private detective to find out which one of the 4,400 nurses in St. Louis County, MN may have called him a ‘tool’ you know the man is serious about defending his reputation. That is just what Dr. David McKee of Northland Neurology and Myology is doing in preparation for the next leg of his defamation lawsuit against the son of a former patient, Dennis Laurion.”

Every time we hear about this case we’re reminded of our old friends over at Bitcher & Prickman, LLP.

e3811-06_07_10_slapp_suits

While this defamation suit was deservedly thrown out by a lower court, the decision was reversed on appeal. If you look at the seven or eight statements that are allegedly defamatory one is left scratching their head. Who among us haven’t been called a “tool” and much, much worse!

Source

Research

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Web Posting

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply To Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Cease And Desist Letter To Defendant Dennis Laurion

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Complaint To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint To Sixth Judicial District Duluth Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Response To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Answer To Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Motion For Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Deposition Extracts

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances Before Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances After Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony In Response To Questions By Marshall Tanick

Affidavits By Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Parents

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Supplemental Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Motion To Oppose Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Memo In Support Of Motion For Summary Judgment

Sixth Judicial District Court’s Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Appeal Of Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Order To Strike Portion Of Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Announces Decision

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Petition For Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Opposition To Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Minnesota Supreme Court Decision On David McKee MD V. Dennis K. Laurion

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2010

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2011

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2012

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2013

McKee V Laurion Is A Textbook Case

 

Minnesota Supreme Court To Hear Oral Arguments About Doctor Online Rating Defamation Lawsuit.

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MARCH 24, 2012

“Doctor’s Suit Tests Limits Of Online Criticism”

Maura Lerner, Star Tribune

Two years ago, Dennis Laurion logged on to a rate-your-doctor website to vent about a Duluth neurologist, Dr. David McKee.

McKee had examined Laurion’s father, Kenneth, when he was hospitalized after a stroke. The family, Laurion wrote, wasn’t happy with his bedside manner. “When I mentioned Dr. McKee’s name to a friend who is a nurse, she said, ‘Dr. McKee is a real tool!'” he wrote.

McKee wasn’t amused. He sued Laurion for defamation, and now the case is pending before the Minnesota Supreme Court.

McKee, 50, is one of a small number of doctors who have gone to court to fight online critics, in cases that are testing the limits of free speech on the Internet. “Doctors are not used to public criticism,” said Eric Goldman, an associate professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law in California, who tracks such lawsuits. “So it’s a new phenomenon for them.”

While such cases are rare, Goldman said, they’ve been popping up around the country as patient review sites such as vitals.com and rateyourdoctor.com have flourished. Defamation suits are “kind of the nuclear option,” Goldman said. “It’s the thing that you go to when everything else has failed.”

McKee’s lawyer, Marshall Tanick, said the doctor felt he had no choice but to sue to protect his reputation and his medical practice. “It’s like removing graffiti from a wall,” said Tanick. He said Laurion distorted the facts — not only on the Internet, but in more than a dozen complaint letters to various medical groups. “He put words in the doctor’s mouth,” making McKee “sound uncaring, unsympathetic or just stupid.”

McKee calls Laurion “a liar and a bully,” and says he has spent more than $7,000 to “scrub” the Internet of more than 100 vitriolic comments, many traced to a single computer (IP address) in Duluth.

“Somebody who holds a grudge against you can very maliciously go on the Internet, post anything they want, and … basically redefine who you are,” he said.

Laurion, 65, a retired Coast Guard chief petty officer, says he deleted the Internet comments shortly after the lawsuit was filed and “never rewrote them.”

At the same time, his lawyer, John D. Kelly, defends the postings. He says it was Laurion’s perception that “the doctor’s speech and conduct were tactless and inconsiderate.” And that, he argued, is “constitutionally protected.”

So far, Minnesota courts have had mixed reactions. A district court in Duluth dismissed McKee’s lawsuit last year, but the state Appeals Court reinstated it in January. Laurion has appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The dispute isn’t about McKee’s medical decisions, but about something less tangible: his body language and comments when he walked into Kenneth Laurion’s room at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth on April 20, 2010.

In his online postings, Dennis Laurion wrote that McKee “seemed upset” because he thought his father, then 84, was still in intensive care. “Never having met my father or his family, Dr. McKee said, ‘When you weren’t in the ICU, I had to spend time finding out if you transferred or died,'” according to Laurion’s account. “When we gaped at him, he said, ‘Well, 44 percent of hemorrhagic strokes die within 30 days. I guess this is the better option.'”

Laurion, who was visiting with his wife and mother, wrote that McKee was brusque and dismissive during the exam, especially when his father raised concerns that his hospital gown was hanging open at the back. “Dr. McKee said, ‘That doesn’t matter,'” according to Laurion’s account. “My wife said, ‘It matters to us,'” and they left the room.

McKee discovered the online comments when a patient brought them to his attention. He filed suit, seeking more than $50,000 in damages. “The way he quoted me was completely inaccurate,” McKee said in an interview. At the time, he said, nobody in the room “appeared to me to be the slightest bit upset.”

According to court documents, McKee admitted making a “jocular comment” about only two ways to leave the intensive care unit, but said he only meant that he was relieved to find Laurion in his hospital bed. He denied citing any statistic about stroke deaths and said the entire story was distorted beyond recognition.

“Every physician gets an occasional complaint from a patient, or even a patient’s family member, but this was so ridiculous,” he said. “This just seemed so extremely over the top, and really meant to be harmful.”

In the first legal battle, district Judge Eric Hylden in Duluth sided with Laurion. “The statements in this case appear to be nothing more or less than one man’s description of shock at the way he and in particular his father were treated by a physician,” he wrote in dismissing the suit in April 2011.

The appeals court disagreed, ruling in January that some of the statements were fair game for a defamation suit and sending the dispute back for trial.

Tanick, McKee’s lawyer, said the case isn’t just about someone voicing an opinion. He said Laurion defamed the doctor by accusing him of things “that never happened.”

Laurion’s lawyer, however, says it’s a matter of perception. “Something happened in that room that disturbed the four members of the family significantly,” he said.

More than a dozen defamation suits have been filed since 2004 by doctors or dentists over online reviews; most have been dismissed or settled, according to Eric Goldman, an associate professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law in California.

Some medical practices have even tried to silence critics by requiring patients to sign a form forbidding them from posting comments on the Internet. But Dr. Jeffrey Segal, a North Carolina neurosurgeon who promoted the controversial forms, says he’s since had a change of heart; he “retired” them last year in the face of widespread criticism. Now his firm, MedicalJustice.com, advises doctors how to use consumer websites to their advantage. “Doctors need to know how they’re being perceived,” he said. “If you’ve got 100 people saying he’s a jerk, maybe he is a jerk,” he said. But the vast majority of reviews are positive, he noted.Most of the time, Segal said, a negative review can be neutralized “with something as simple as saying, ‘Hey, I was having a bad day. I’m sorry.'” Or calling the patient to apologize for getting off on the wrong foot. “Those words often solve the problem,” he said.

Still, Goldman says it’s important for consumers to “choose their words” carefully in online reviews. “We’ve been given the power to critique vendors in the marketplace,” he said, “but no one’s taught us how to make sure that we aren’t going to lose our house by doing so.”

SOURCE

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Web Posting

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply To Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Cease And Desist Letter To Defendant Dennis Laurion

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Complaint To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint To Sixth Judicial District Duluth Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Response To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Answer To Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Motion For Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Deposition Extracts

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances Before Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances After Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony In Response To Questions By Marshall Tanick

Affidavits By Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Parents

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Supplemental Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Motion To Oppose Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Memo In Support Of Motion For Summary Judgment

Sixth Judicial District Court’s Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Appeal Of Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Order To Strike Portion Of Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Announces Decision

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Petition For Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Opposition To Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Minnesota Supreme Court Decision On David McKee MD V. Dennis K. Laurion

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2010

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2011

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2012

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2013

McKee V Laurion Is A Textbook Case

 

McKee V. Laurion: Respondent’s Opposition To Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

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FEBRUARY 14, 2012

Respondent’s Opposition To Petition For Review

Review of the Appellate Court decision is unwarranted.

The Court below correctly determined that at least a half dozen statements in Laurion’s postings and letters meet the four standards for defamation.

Click any page to see it enlarged.


Document-2012-02-14-McKee-Opposition-To-Supreme-Court-Review-0Document-2012-02-14-McKee-Opposition-To-Supreme-Court-Review-1Document-2012-02-14-McKee-Opposition-To-Supreme-Court-Review-2Document-2012-02-14-McKee-Opposition-To-Supreme-Court-Review-3Document-2012-02-14-McKee-Opposition-To-Supreme-Court-Review-4Document-2012-02-14-McKee-Opposition-To-Supreme-Court-Review-5

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Web Posting

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply To Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Cease And Desist Letter To Defendant Dennis Laurion

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Complaint To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint To Sixth Judicial District Duluth Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Response To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Answer To Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Motion For Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Deposition Extracts

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances Before Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances After Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony In Response To Questions By Marshall Tanick

Affidavits By Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Parents

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Supplemental Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Motion To Oppose Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Memo In Support Of Motion For Summary Judgment

Sixth Judicial District Court’s Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Appeal Of Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Order To Strike Portion Of Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Announces Decision

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Petition For Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Opposition To Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Minnesota Supreme Court Decision On David McKee MD V. Dennis K. Laurion

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2010

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2011

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2012

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2013

McKee V Laurion Is A Textbook Case

 

Go MD Web Blog Asks What Happens If You Get Trashed On The Internet

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Image-Negative-Words-On-Doctor-Reviews

FEBRUARY 1, 2012

“What Happens If You Get Trashed On The Internet”

GO MD Web Blog

Say a patient posts unflattering comments about his or her doctor on the Internet. You can file a lawsuit claiming defamation or interference with a business contract. Your lawyer can get creative. But the tactic is likely to backfire.  Not just will the legal fees be costly, but you are likely to wind up with still more negative publicity.

Anthony Francis, MD, JD, writing in Medscape, describes the case of Dr. David McKee, a neurologist in Minnesota who sued the son of an 85-year old patient for defamation in response to online postings by a disgruntled patient.

Result 1: The judge dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that the comments posted online were not defamatory.

Result 2: Dr. McKee’s lawsuit triggered over 60 negative posts on medical rating web sites, apparently mostly from strangers angered by the lawsuit.

Lesson Learned: Responding to negative postings with legal action will cost you money and is likely to have the unintended consequence of amplifying the damage to your reputation.

So how can you protect your good name?

How do you think that this post effects the experience of potential patients who Google “Dr. McKee neurologist”

Here is another example of how legal action can actually multiply your negative publicity.

Georgette Gilbert wasn’t pleased, to say the least, with the results of procedures she had done with Dr. Jonathan Sykes, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center. So, in the best tradition of “get even not mad”, she posted a web site describing her experience and mentioning Dr. Sykes by name. A lot of work was put into the site (even featuring before-and-after photos).  Dr. Sykes filed a lawsuit.

Result 1: the suit was dismissed because, according to the judge, his prominence conferred on Dr. Sykes the status of a “limited-purpose public figure.”

Result 2: Dr. Sykes paid his own legal fees and Gilbert’s legal fees.

Result 3: The website stayed up and Dr. Sykes got more negative publicity. A lot more negative publicity. (The first 10 Google search results on Feb 1, 2012 returned 9 out of 10 pages related to Gilbert.)

Lesson learned: responding to derogatory comments with legal action can have the unintended consequence of multiplying your digital reputation problem.

If you don’t [fire] back with lawyers, what should you do? Consider “do nothing”. Ignore the derogatory comments and focus on practicing good medicine.  Place as many positive statements as possible on any Website containing negative comments.  (For sites that have comment or talk back, this is very straightforward.  In other cases, you may need to stimulate new reviews, positive reviews, of your practice).  Get other sites — such as your own — in the top ten search results for Google and Bing.  When a prospective patient searches for your name, you can crowd out negative results from the top ten, effectively consigning them to oblivion.

Our preferred suggestion: crowd out negative reviews by pushing them below the top 10 results patients search for you on Google and Bing.

Source

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Web Posting

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply To Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Cease And Desist Letter To Defendant Dennis Laurion

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Complaint To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint To Sixth Judicial District Duluth Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Response To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Answer To Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Motion For Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Deposition Extracts

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances Before Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances After Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony In Response To Questions By Marshall Tanick

Affidavits By Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Parents

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Supplemental Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Motion To Oppose Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Memo In Support Of Motion For Summary Judgment

Sixth Judicial District Court’s Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Appeal Of Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Order To Strike Portion Of Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Announces Decision

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Petition For Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Opposition To Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Minnesota Supreme Court Decision On David McKee MD V. Dennis K. Laurion

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2010

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2011

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2012

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2013

McKee V Laurion Is A Textbook Case