City Pages Blogs: Supreme Court Considering Case Of Duluth Doctor Who Sued After Reviewer Called Him A Real Tool

OCTOBER 26, 2012

“Supreme Court Considering Case Of Duluth Doctor Who Sued After Reviewer Called Him ‘A Real Tool'”

Aaron Rupar, City Pages Blogs

Image-McKee-Computer-Picture

Two years ago, Dennis Laurion, upset about the way his stroke-afflicted father was treated by Duluth neurologist Dr. David McKee, took to a rate-your-doctor website to express his displeasure.

“When I mentioned Dr. McKee’s name to a friend who is a nurse, she said, ‘Dr. McKee is a real tool!'” Laurion wrote. Dr. McKee later sued for $50,000 in damages, alleging that Laurion’s review defamed him. In April 2011, a district judge threw out McKee’s suit, but in January, an appeals court overruled the district court and green-lighted the defamation case. Now, the status of Dr. McKee’s lawsuit is being considered by the Minnesota Supreme Court, which is expected to issue its ruling sometime during the next few months.

From the Jewish World Review:

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 claims he spent more than $7,000 to “scrub” more than 100 negative comments about his work, many of them originating from a single IP address in Duluth, the Review reports.

The Duluth News Tribune places Dr. McKee’s case in its broader context:

McKee’s case highlights the tension that sometimes develops on websites such as Yelp and Angie’s List when the free speech rights of patients and their families clash with the rights of doctors, lawyers and other professionals to protect their names.

“Patients now have power to affect their businesses in ways they never had,” said Eric Goldman, a professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law who studies the issue. Health care providers are “evolving how to deal with patient feedback, but they’re still in the process of learning how to do that.”

Most online reviews never provoke any response. And successful challenges to negative reviews are rare. Americans are legally entitled to express opinions, as long as they don’t knowingly make false statements.

But if the two sides contest basic facts, disputes can swiftly escalate.

For what it’s worth, Dr. McKee has received mixed reviews on ratemds.com, though some of the negative reviewers cite his court case as a reason they dislike his work.

City Pages

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

 

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One thought on “City Pages Blogs: Supreme Court Considering Case Of Duluth Doctor Who Sued After Reviewer Called Him A Real Tool

  1. From this article:

    “McKee claims he spent more than $7,000 to “scrub” more than 100 negative comments about his work, many of them originating from a single IP address in Duluth, the Review reports.”

    From Kevin Pho MD:

    There’s a well publicized case in Minnesota, where a resident posted a screenshot of the situation on Reddit, and wrote: “This dickface doctor from my hometown is suing a WWII veteran’s family for $50,000 for rating him poorly on the Internet. Perhaps he deserves a few more poor ratings …”

    Reddit, for those who don’t know, is a social news service, and receives millions of page views daily. As a testament to its visibility, that screenshot shows the link received 635 comments.

    The exposure on Reddit triggered scores of clearly fabricated negative reviews on the physician’s Google Places page, Healthgrades, and Vitals.com.

    So, if the doctor was so worried about negative reviews before, the situation is much worse now.

    From Defendant Dennis Laurion:

    Dr. David McKee’s 100 negative comments followed the Reddit exposure. I don’t belong to Reddit, I’ve never posted on Reddit, I don’t know anybody who posts on Reddit, I never posted a review of Dr. David McKee after April 2010, and I deleted those before being served by Dr. McKee’s lawyer Marshall Tanick. The “single IP address in Duluth was not mine, and my ISP told me that no one ever sought my IP address or website history.

    Like

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