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.
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)