Liabilities Arising Out Of Online Reviews Of Health Care Professionals

SEPTEMBER 2012

“Liabilities Arising Out Of Online Reviews Of Health Care Professionals”

David C. Harlow, Principal, The Harlow Group, Health Care Law And Consulting

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Dr. David McKee sued Dennis Laurion after Laurion posted allegedly defamatory comments on doctor rating sites based on the doctor’s interactions with his father, a patient of McKee’s. The lower court threw out the case. This week, on appeal, the Minnesota Court of Appeals found that part of the case should go to trial. The doctor’s interference with business claim was thrown out entirely. A newspaper story says the appellate court determined McKee’s defamation suit should proceed regarding six claims Laurion publicly made about McKee:

  • McKee told the patient he had to “spend time finding out if you were transferred or died.’’
  • McKee said, “44 percent of hemorrhagic strokes die within 30 days. I guess this is the better option.’’
  • McKee said, “You don’t need therapy.’’
  • McKee said, “It doesn’t matter’’ that the patients gown did not cover his backside.
  • McKee left the patient’s room without talking to the patient’s family.
  • A nurse told Laurion that McKee was “a real tool.”

I was moderating a panel discussion on this topic (liabilities arising out of online reviews of health care professionals) at “Health Law 2.0” and we talked about the lower court ruling in this case.

Truth is a defense in a case like this – so if the doc said these things, it’s not defamation.

What do you think?

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Do you think the nurse, or other potential witnesses, will testify on behalf of the plaintiff?

Assuming the statements are true, what would you change about the system to assure a consistent improvement of the patient experience?

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Assuming the statements are false, what would you do to get to the bottom of the deep-seated emotions harbored by the patient’s son?

If you were advising the doctor, would you have supported or opposed his filing of this lawsuit?

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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

 

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