May 23, 2012
“Online Comment Prompts Lawsuit From Plastic Surgeon”
WESH, Orlando, Florida
ORLANDO, Fla. —Posting comments and complaints about a business is something more people are doing in the digital age, but an Orlando plastic surgeon has filed a lawsuit against a patient who let her opinions be known online.
Dr. Armando Soto filed a lawsuit against a woman who let her feelings be known online.
According to the woman’s attorney, she made the comments on RateMDs.com. She saw Soto to improve her stomach, but her assessment was, “Wasted money, bad experience, my love handles look bigger.”
Soto responded with a lawsuit seeking $49,000 in damages. Soto also filed the lawsuit against nine other patients.
The woman’s attorney, who is with Public Citizen, a consumer watch group out of Washington, said the lawsuit is part of a scary trend. “Dr. Soto is attempting to essentially scare off people from using their First Amendment rights,” Attorney Dave Muraskin said.
But Orlando attorney Howard Marks said many professionals aren’t going to take it anymore. Although Marks doesn’t represent Soto, he said he has similar lawsuits in the hopper. He said when the comments are false and malicious, they will act. “You really have no option. You either just sit there and take it and let your reputation be destroyed, or you try and fight back,” Marks said. Marks said to think twice before making a post.
Soto said he would not go on camera, but on his blog he posted, “We prefer our patients communicate this to us directly. It affords us the opportunity to make it right.”
A representative said Soto’s office is in contact with the woman and hopes to redo her surgery and drop the lawsuit. The woman’s attorney said he had no knowledge of that.