Summary: Dennis Laurion Deposition By Marshall Tanick On Behalf Of Dr. David McKee

Dr. David McKee

 

Tendentious Lawyer

Plaintiff Attorney Marshall Tanick

 

Defendant Dennis Laurion

 

JANUARY 6, 2011, and JANUARY 7, 2011

McKee V. Laurion, Excerpts From Deposition Of Defendant Laurion

During David McKee MD V. Dennis K. Laurion, Sixth Judicial District Judge Eric Hylden had full transcripts of depositions placed into the case record. Defendant Laurion was deposed from 1:14 p.m. through 5:27 p.m. on Thursday, January 6, 2011. On Friday, January 7, 2010, he was deposed from 9:17 a.m. until 10:30 a. m. The deposition transcript was printed as 247 pages with a 37 page index. The word “factual” appears 6 times, the word “nurse” appears 16 times, the word “nurses” appears 16 times, the word “nursing” appears 5 times, the word “purpose” appears 11 times, the name “Stodghill” appears 19 times, and the word “tool” appears 12 times.

TEXT OF DEPOSITION

Deposition of Dennis Laurion By Marshall Tanick On Behalf Of Dr. David McKee – January 6 and 7, 2011

Tendentious Lawyer

Plaintiff Attorney Marshall Tanick

Defendant Dennis Laurion

 

The following text is copied from Exhibit AA-165 and AA-297 – AA-356 of David McKee, MD, V. Dennis K. Laurion.

State of Minnesota District Court

Sixth Judicial District

File # 69DU-CV-10-1706

David McKee, MD, Plaintiff, vs. Dennis K. Laurion, Defendant

Deposition of Dennis K. Laurion, January 6th and 7th, 2011

Carol Danielson Bille, RPR, Danielson Court Reporting, LLC The following is the deposition of Dennis K. Laurion taken before Carol Danielson Bille, RPR, Notary Public, pursuant to Notice of Taking Deposition, at the law offices of Hanft Fride, PA, 1000 U. S. Bank Place, 130 West Superior Street, Duluth, Minnesota, commencing at approximately 1:14 p.m., January 7, 2011.

Appearances

For the Plaintiff:

Marshall H. Tanick, Esq., Mansfield, Tanick, and Cohen, P. A.

1700 U. S. Bank Plaza South, 220 South Sixth Street

Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55402-4511

612-339-4295

For the Defendant:

John D. Kelly, Esq.

Nathan N. LaCoursiere, Esq.

Hanft Fride, PA,

1000 U. S. Bank Place, 130 West Superior Street,

Duluth, Minnesota, 55802

218-722-4766

Proceedings

TANICK: Good morning, Mr. Laurion. Would you please state your name?

LAURION: Dennis Laurion.

TANICK: And, Mr. Laurion, my name is Marshall Tanick. As you know, I’m the attorney for the plaintiff in this case,  Dr. David McKee. I’m going to be taking your deposition today and possibly tomorrow, and I’ll be asking you a number of questions. If you don’t understand my question, please ask me to repeat it or clarify it. I’m not trying to confuse you; I’m trying to get information. So if you don’t understand what I’m saying, please ask me to clarify my question or repeat it. Wait till I finish my question, if you – – if you will, and I’ll try to wait till you finish your answer. As you know, we both can’t talk at the same time or the court reporter can’t take it down. If your lawyers, Mr. Kelly or Mr. LaCoursiere, have something to say, we should stop talking so they can put it on the record, but we all can’t talk at the same time. Do you have any questions about the deposition itself, the process that’s about to begin?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: All right. Have you ever had your deposition taken before?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Have you done anything specifically to prepare for this deposition? By that, I mean reviewing documents, talking to people in connection with getting ready for today’s event?

LAURION: I reviewed all the copies of the documents that we supplied to you.

TANICK: Did you do anything else to prepare for the deposition?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Did you speak to anyone other than your attorneys about the deposition?

LAURION: My wife.

TANICK: And did you talk to her about the substance of the deposition or just the fact that it was going to be taken?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Or both?

LAURION: I just talked about the fact that it was going to happen.

TANICK: And she knows she’s going to have her deposition taken tomorrow. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And have you spoken to anyone else in preparation for this deposition?

LAURION: Other than my attorney, no.

TANICK: All right. Have you spoken to anyone else about this case, this legal dispute, with anyone else over the last, let’s say, two months or so?

LAURION: Yes. My family met for thanksgiving, and I mentioned it briefly there. I was asked what the status was.

TANICK: And who asked you that?

LAURION: I don’t recall. One of my siblings.

TANICK: Who?

LAURION: I don’t remember which one. I had three siblings there. It —

TANICK: And — I’m sorry. Go ahead.

LAURION: It was a family gathering of my parents, all of my siblings, and the children of two of my siblings.

TANICK: Was there some discussion at that event — at that family event about the case?

LAURION: What was the status.

TANICK: All right. And what did you tell them the status was?

LAURION: I told them that we hadn’t gotten to depositions yet.

TANICK: Was there anything else discussed about the case other than the status?

LAURION: I don’t believe so.

TANICK: Have you spoken about this case with anyone else over the last few months?

LAURION: Not anyone other than the family members I’ve just mentioned.

TANICK: Have you had any communications with anyone else about the case in a non-oral way, by writing communications, e-mail, Internet, social network? Any kind of communication that you’ve made or that’s been made with you about this case over the last few months?

LAURION: I don’t believe so.

TANICK: Where were you born and raised, sir?

LAURION: That’s two questions.

TANICK: Well, I’ll make it one question. Where were you born?

LAURION: I was born in Ashland, Wisconsin.

TANICK: And where did you go to school, high school?

LAURION: Indiana.

TANICK: And were you raised, then as a youth in Indiana?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Where?

LAURION: Hammond, Indiana.

TANICK: Is that where you graduated from high school?

LAURION: It is.

TANICK: And after that, did you go – – did you get your higher education immediately after high school?

LAURION: No, I entered the Coast Guard.

TANICK: And how long were you in the Coast Guard?

LAURION: Seven years active duty, and a complete, ’66 to ’94, 28 years.

TANICK: I’m sorry. I missed the last part of what you said. You said seven years active duty and then what?

LAURION: And the rest was as a reservist on extended – –

TANICK: In the Reserve?

LAURION: – – active duty.

TANICK: All right. What did you do after you left the Coast Guard?

LAURION: Worked for Social Security.

TANICK: And you worked for Social Security – – the Social Security Administration for your career until you retired?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Did you have other significant remunerative work that you did during the time you worked with the Coast Guard?

LAURION: I had second jobs, yes. I worked as a stock boy in a grocery store while I was in Cape May, New Jersey. I worked on a clam fishing vessel while I was stationed in New Jersey. I worked in a drug store while I was stationed at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington.

TANICK: What was the highest rank you achieved in the Coast Guard?

LAURION: Chief Petty Officer.

TANICK: Did you – – in the Coast Guard or in your other non-Coast Guard work, did you have any work that was – – before you – – well, did you do any work that was related to the medical industry or medical profession of any kind? I know that’s kind of a broad profession, but did you do anything that you would consider to have – – to deal with health care or medical – – or providing medical treatment or services, directly or indirectly?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And what was that?

LAURION: For the greater part of my Coast Guard career, I was a Hospital Corpsman, and at one point, when I was doing more emphasis on recruiting than being a Hospital Corpsman, I switched my rating to Yeoman, retired as a Chief yeoman. While I worked at Social Security, the last three years I worked at Social Security, I worked at St. Mary’s Hospital in Medical Records, and then I stayed there after I retired from Social Security for another four years, long enough to acquire a pension from the Steel Workers Union for my work at St. Mary’s, seven years.

TANICK: You began working at St. Mary’s in about the year 2000. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. I’ll get – – I’ll come back to that. I’m trying to go back chronologically. When you finished your Coast Guard active duty, you began working with the Social Security Administration at around that time?

LAURION: Not immediately, no. There was – –

TANICK: Okay. When did you – – go ahead.

LAURION: There was a gap.

TANICK: When did you begin working with the Social Security Administration, approximately?

LAURION: ’76. 1976.

TANICK: And when did you retire?

LAURION: 2002.

TANICK: 2002. So you worked there 26 years?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. And was that a full-time job for you while you worked there?

LAURION: Yes, it was.

TANICK: I take it you had different positions during the years you worked for the Social Security Administration?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. Can you describe for us basically – – well, not in great depth, but just give us an overview of what work you did during those 26 years with the Social Security Administration, and where – – and where you did it?

LAURION: I was hired with the title of Social Insurance Representative by the Civil Service commission. Social Security referred to it as a Claims Representative. Then at some point, I was advanced to Claims Specialist by Social Security’s definition. The Civil Service Commission, which was then OPM, called it a Social Insurance Specialist.

TANICK: OPM is the Office of Personnel Management?

LAURION: Yes. And then my last several years, I worked as – – my generic title was still Claims Specialist, but my office referred to me as a Title II Post-Entitlement Disability Specialist.

TANICK: What kind of work did you do in those various capacities?

LAURION: Initially, I interviewed people who were filing for retirement benefits, survivor benefits, disability benefits. I adjudicated those claims to completion, computed the benefit amount, and saw to it that the payment was implemented.

TANICK: Anything else that’s significant in your job duties or description?

LAURION: I determined the need for representative payee if people needed a payee for their check. I held appeals decisions, rendered appeals decisions if somebody was appealing a decision one of my co-workers had made, if the appeal was local in scope rather than national in scope.

TANICK: Did you also do any kind of monitoring of post-entitlement awards? Were you – – is that something you did?

LAURION: That was what I did at the end of my career, yes. I was the office person for keeping track of everybody who was on disability and receiving continuing benefits.

TANICK: And some of your monitoring duties, then, involved ascertaining whether there had been overpayments and return-to-work issues?

LAURION: Yes, exactly.

TANICK: Where did you do this work? Tell us about where – –

LAURION: In this building.

TANICK: Right here in Duluth?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. During your whole career?

LAURION: No, not my whole career. I was – – worked in Hammond, Indiana, initially.

TANICK: When did you come to Duluth, approximately?

LAURION: ’86.

TANICK: And so you were working with the Social Security Administration in Hammond, and then you moved to Duluth or did they move you? Or – –

LAURION: I asked for a transfer.

TANICK: Okay. Why? Why did you do that?

LAURION: Because I’m from Ashland, Wisconsin.

TANICK: So you wanted to come back closer to home?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. And they accommodated you in that?

LAURION: After six years.

TANICK: All right. And since 1986, then, you’ve been living – – you’ve been working and living in Duluth. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: What’s your address?

LAURION: 5402 Juniata Street.

TANICK: In Duluth. And how long have you lived there?

LAURION: I moved in that address in 1990.

TANICK: Is there a neighborhood attached to that? Is there a neighborhood you’re in there?

LAURION: Lester Park.

TANICK: Now at some point you became – – you were working at or out of the St. Mary’s facility. Right? St. Mary’s Medical Center – – or Medical Clinic? Is that what it’s called?

LAURION: I worked at St. Mary’s, yes.

TANICK: Okay. How did that start?

LAURION: I applied for an evening job pulling medical records. The supervisor for that was on maternity leave, so i was interviewed by her manager, and – –

TANICK: Excuse me. That wasn’t related to your Social Security work?

LAURION: I don’t understand the question.

TANICK: That wasn’t part of  your Social Security work? That was a second job you had. Right?

LAURION: Oh, yes.

TANICK: Okay. So you were still doing your Social Security Claims Specialist work, and then you had another job starting in about 2000, you said pulling medical records at St. Mary’s. Right?

LAURION: No. That’s the job I applied for.

TANICK: Okay. All right. What job did you get?

LAURION: They hired me as an Outpatient Medical Records Analyst.

TANICK: And did you perform that job for approximately seven years?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Did – – now, you retired from Social Security in, I think you said, 2002. Did you continue, then, working at the St. Mary’s job after that?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Did you work part-time while you were at Social Security?

LAURION: I don’t understand that question.

TANICK: Did you work the St. Mary’s job part-time while you were at Social Security?

LAURION: Oh, yes.

TANICK: That would have been, like evenings, weekends?

LAURION: Evenings.

TANICK: All right. Evenings.

LAURION: Monday – – Monday through Friday evenings.

TANICK: Then, once you retired from Social Security, did you change – – did the nature of your job at St. Mary’s change at all, your scope or timing?

LAURION: No, it remained 32 hours.

TANICK: All right. And it was the same type of job, then, during those seven years?

LAURION: Yes, it stayed the same.

TANICK: What did you do on a typical day?

LAURION: I received – – I started work in the evening, when most people were ending their day shift. initially, I went to registration and picked up all of the cover sheets for people who had been admitted as outpatients that day and took them to my office. At some point, about eight or ten other people who were leaving the building would bring me their production for the day, so that a nurse from outpatient surgery would come in and drop off the charts that they had had – – well, not the charts, but the – – the records that they had generated, the records that were loose documents. Then I collated that, plus things that I received in the mail, by date of treatment, and then, using a calendar that told me what day I should be analyzing, I went to a specific day in a storage tub, pulled those loose documents, assembled them by medical record number, and then reviewed them to see if they were ready to go to coding and billing. If there was something still missing, if a doctor had not dictated, if a doctor had not signed his dictation, then I would do a computer entry that would make that part of the doctor’s list, so that would generate or would cause their coming in to either dictate or sign records. And then that was it, other than keeping my supervisor apprised of  – –

TANICK: Who – –

LAURION: – – what day I had finished.

TANICK: All right. Who was your supervisor? And it may have been multiple people over that time.

LAURION: Well, initially, it was a lady named Kathy Dexter, and then subsequently it was a gentleman named [ Grehling Smith ] .

TANICK: Do you know if they’re still working there?

LAURION: No, I understand that he has discontinued employment there.

TANICK: How about Ms. Dexter?

LAURION: She took a medical retirement for M.S.

TANICK: Was there – – were you in an assigned department or unit?

LAURION: I was in the medical records department.

TANICK: And as I understand it – – one thing you said, people – – people, and you used the word “nurses” would bring you, among other things, kind of daily records, the production, and productivity reports, and things like that. Would that be the interaction you would have with nurses generally?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: How much interaction did you have with nurses generally there, other than them bringing you records?

LAURION: Just corres – – communication during that time, short conversations. “How’s your husband,” “how’s your evening going,” that kind of thing.

TANICK: Did you get to know some of the nurses there on a personal level?

LAURION: Not to the point that I ever saw them outside of work, no.

TANICK: Did you know their names generally?

LAURION: No, in fact I called them all “Nurse Betty.” The year I was hired, that movie had just come out.

TANICK: Did you have any – – a closer relationship with any of the nurses than others, just from your work relationship? Did you know some of them better than others, just because you worked with them a little bit more or developed friendships with them in the workplace?

LAURION: Some of them might have chatted a little bit more than others.

TANICK: Do you remember the names of any of those nurses with whom you worked?

LAURION: No, I do not.

TANICK: Not a single one?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Do you remember any of their first names?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Do you – – about how many different nurses over that seven-year period would you  have interacted with? Are we talking about a few?

LAURION: I’m not really sure. I received records from maybe six or eight different departments in the course of a day, and they didn’t all have the same shift. So the nurse from outpatient surgery might be one, one night, and a different night it would be a different one. I don’t know how much turnover they had during that seven years.

TANICK: Can you give us an estimate of how many different nurses you think you may have had interaction with during that time period?

LAURION: No, I don’t.

TANICK: Is it more than five?

LAURION: Oh, yes.

TANICK: Is it more than ten?

LAURION: I don’t know.

TANICK: Somewhere between five and ten?

LAURION: No, I wouldn’t commit to that either.

TANICK: Was it more than fifty?

KELLY: I think he’s answered the question, Counsel. He told you he can’t give you an estimate.

TANICK: Well, I’m trying to help him. I’m trying to get a range of the – – a range of numbers.

KELLY: Well, this is an exercise that can go on into perpetuity, so – –

TANICK: Well, let’s see what he has to say. Is it more than fifty people or less than fifty?

LAURION: Less than fifty.

TANICK: All right. Do you think it’s more than thirty or less than thirty?

LAURION: I don’t know.

TANICK: Were they all women?

LAURION: I worked with a man, but he was a clerk. And there was an administrative nurse who was a male.

TANICK: By and large, most them were women, I take it?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And I think you indicated that you’ve never had any dealings or run into any of them outside of work, in any social settings?

LAURION: Not ordinarily, no. I had a desk plate on my desk, and they would call me by my first name, and I would just say hello.

TANICK: Did they wear badges with their names on them?

LAURION: They wore the identity things. They were generally standing about as far as you are from me. I’m not real good at picking up those names, and if I did, I don’t remember them.

TANICK: Now, you retired, then? Did you retire from St. Mary’s in 2007? Is that the right phrase, “retirement”? It was a part-time job, but did you – –

LAURION: I get a pension from it, yes.

TANICK: Okay. And you were union at that time? The Steel Workers Union?

LAURION: Yes, I was.

TANICK: So you get a pension from St. Mary’s?

LAURION: No, I get a pension from – –

TANICK: From the Steelworkers?

LAURION:  – – the Steelworkers.

TANICK: Okay. And you have two other pensions, as I understand? One from the Coast Guard and one from Social Security. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: During your work with the Coast Guard – – or service with the Coast Guard, did you – – was part of your job duties in any way related to web – – web-type work, web master type work, interaction with the Internet, things like that?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: How about at St. Mary’s. Did you do any kind of Internet-type work?

LAURION: No, I don’t believe so. I accessed databases, but they were internal databases.

TANICK: So were you communicating back and forth on the Internet as far as your job duties?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Have you ever considered yourself or used the term “web master” to describe yourself?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And that’s not related to the Coast Guard work – –

LAURION: No.

TANICK: – – or Coast Guard service or St. Mary’s. Right?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: What’s that related to?

LAURION: My wife and I sell t-shirt images to a t-shirt printing company, for which we get royalties, and I set up the Web sites that allow us to host those images.

TANICK: And does that business have a name to it?

LAURION: It does. It’s called Lincoln Mall.

TANICK: That’s Lincoln Mall. They have t-shirts?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Any other artifacts or items?

LAURION: Coffee mugs, mouse pads, bumper stickers.

TANICK: Is there some type of general theme or insignia to them?

LAURION: They’re mostly military. If somebody asks us to do something else, we do.

TANICK: And where – – do you derive – – do you develop those yourself, or do you get requests from customers to special order, or how does that – – how do the items or artifacts get developed?

LAURION: Sometimes the person will contact our supplier directly, Cafe Press, and they’ll forward the information to us. We have a business e-mail address on the Web page. Some people will write to that.

TANICK: And is that a full-time occupation for you, or livelihood?

LAURION: Oh, no.

TANICK: Is you wife involved in that equally with you?

LAURION: She does all of the images.

TANICK: All right. It that – – are you incorporated or are you an LLC or any kind of business organization?

LAURION: No. We file taxes as a sole proprietorship.

TANICK: And how long have you been doing that, sir, approximately?

LAURION: Since 2002.

TANICK: And you make money off that. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. Is there any other kind of sources of income you have, let’s say since 2007 at St. Mary’s – – since you retired from St. Mary’s, other than your retirement income and – –

LAURION: I get Social Security retirement benefits.

TANICK: Any other kind of compensation for services rendered or performed?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: And about how much of your time is devoted to Lincoln Mall on a – – on a typical week?

LAURION: It depends on how I feel. Generally, it could be as little as twenty hours. It could be as much as thirty. It’s been a great deal less since this lawsuit commenced, simply because I don’t feel like doing it.

TANICK: How about your wife? Does she spend about the same amount of time as you, or less, or more, if you know?

LAURION: No, she spends less time because when she develops the image, it takes me longer to work with it than it did her to develop it.

TANICK: Is anyone else affiliated with that organization?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: You spoke briefly about your family, at least you mentioned siblings. I think you said you have three siblings?

LAURION: I have three siblings, yes.

TANICK: One is Duane. Is that right?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: No, no, that’s your uncle. You have a sister Patricia. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And who else?

LAURION: I have a brother Steven – –

TANICK: Mm-hmm.

LAURION: – – and a brother Kevin.

TANICK: Do they live around – – where do they live?

LAURION: Actually, I should correct that. My brother Kevin has legally changed his name to Ken.

TANICK: Okay. Where do they live?

LAURION: My brother Steve lives in a suburb of Milwaukee; my sister Patricia lives in Charlotte, North Carolina; and my brother Ken lives in Belleville, Illinois.

TANICK: And how about children?

LAURION: My children – –

TANICK: Yes, yours.

LAURION: Or their children?

TANICK: No, yours?

LAURION: I have four children, and I have two step-children.

TANICK: All right. Can you tell me their ages and names? Names and ages?

LAURION: Names and ages?

TANICK: Yeah.

LAURION: Damon just turned 33, and Jacob is 31. Sarah is 29, and Margret is 26.

TANICK: Do any of them live in the Duluth – Superior area?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Which ones?

LAURION: My sons.

TANICK: And I didn’t ask you your age. I should have asked you that. I forgot to ask you your date of birth.

LAURION: I’m the same age as you are.

TANICK: Okay. Which is what?

LAURION: 63.

TANICK: What was your birth date?

LAURION: 11-24-46.

TANICK: You talked – – those – – you identified your four children. Did you mention your two step-children? Just names and ages, please.

LAURION: My older stepson is Kevin. I think that he’s 32. He’s between my boys.

TANICK: That’s okay.

LAURION: And my younger stepson is Keith, who is one day different in age from my daughter Margret, so he would be 26 also.

TANICK: Do either of them live in the area?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Parents? Your father Kenneth. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. And he’s how old now?

LAURION: 85.

TANICK: 85. And how about your mother? What’s her name?

LAURION: Lois.

TANICK: And where do they – – where do they live?

LAURION: In Lakeside. Lester Park.

TANICK: And how long have they lived in that area?

LAURION: I’m not sure what year they moved here. It was subsequent to my living where I live. I think – – there was a year that there was a Halloween storm in Duluth. They moved here, I believe, the next year.

TANICK: It was sometime after 1986?

LAURION: Oh, yes. Definitely. It was after – – subsequent to 1990.

TANICK: And were they retired at the time they moved here?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And your father was – – what was his career?

LAURION: He retired as a systems engineer for a steel mill.

TANICK: And how about your mother? Did she work outside the home? Have a job or career?

LAURION: Not after she married, no.

TANICK: What’s  – – what’s their condition, health condition, today, as you know – – to the extent you know?

KELLY: You mean good, bad, or indifferent?

TANICK: Yeah, yeah. Just your father’s condition. I’m not asking you for a medical prognosis or anything. I just want to know, is he – – I know obviously he’s been ill, or was ill. What’s his condition now? Is he – –

LAURION: He’s not as ambulatory as he was before. He used to walk eight blocks a day. Now I take him walking in the mall. He walks very slowly, sits frequently. His family doctor feels that he has Parkinson’s Syndrome. But he is – – he’s capable of caring for himself, fixing his lunch, and so forth. He still drives.

TANICK: How about his mental condition?

LAURION: I would have to say that he’s unimpaired.

TANICK: Unimpaired?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. And how about your mother? What’s her general physical and mental condition?

LAURION: She’s in good health. She has a little difficulty walking. I’m not sure if it’s her legs that bother her or her back bothers her. She takes medication for hypertension and for high cholesterol. She still does housework, does laundry, prepares meals.

TANICK: They live in their own home?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: What was your father’s medical condition or health condition before April of last year, the events giving rise to this litigation. As you know, he was in the hospital. I think he became hospitalized in – – I think it was April 17th.

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. So let’s go back to the first quarter of last year, 2010.

LAURION: He was in good health for his age. He walked eight blocks through his neighborhood each day. He drove. He was a volunteer for St. Luke’s Hospice. He attends his church regularly and gets there under his own power. He participated in church activities. He was, I think at one time, the secretary of his congregation.

TANICK: Okay. that’s fine. I understand. What – – what happened to him on or about April 17th?

LAURION: My mother called and said she thought he had the flu, and could my wife and I please drive him to the emergency room. I went up there.  He was vomiting in a waste basket, sitting in a chair clutching a waste basket and vomiting. He – – I said, “Dad, do you think I can help down the stairs to the car,” and he said, “No, the room is spinning.” And then I asked my mother separately, “Is this something that was progressive or did he just suddenly start throwing up?” And she said he was brushing his teeth, and he began vomiting in the sink and complaining that the room was spinning in a circle. So I said, “I don’t think he has the flu, and in any event, if he does have the flu, there’s no way I’m going to get him down the stairs and get him to the hospital in the car. I think you should call the Fire Department.”

TANICK: Was e transported, then, to St. Luke’s Hospital?

LAURION: Yes, he was.

TANICK: All right. And what condition was he diagnosed as?

LAURION: Well, initially, the Emergency Room doctor speculated that his high blood pressure was causing his emesis and vertigo, and then he – – he had a CT scan taken sometime, I think within the first two hours. I’m not real sure of the time span, though, because we were concerned about him and not really looking at the watch. And sometime before midnight he was given a CT scan. The Emergency Room doctor described it to my mother as a small bleed in the back of his skull; told her that he would be admitted; that throughout the night people would wake him up and ask him his name and who’s the president and how old are you and where are you; check his neurological signs; and that ultimately he would be given an MRI to see if the bleeding had stopped.

TANICK: Did you understand at some point during the period he was hospitalized he was diagnosed with having a hemorrhagic stroke?

LAURION: It was referred to as a small bleed.

TANICK: Did – – was “stroke” used at all?

LAURION: No. I think people were being careful with my mother.

TANICK: Was that – – but did somebody convey that to you or anybody that he had a stroke? Somebody from the hospital?

LAURION: Not at that point, no.

TANICK: When did you first learn that there was a stroke involved?

LAURION: I’m not really sure. Sometime – – I think – – I think somebody may have used the word after he was in his regular room.

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: That is, not in the ICU.

TANICK: And he was in the ICU, or intensive care unit, for how many – – how long?

LAURION: Two days.

TANICK: And then he was transferred to a regular hospital room?

LAURION: Yes. On April 19th, he was transferred to a regular hospital room about suppertime.

TANICK: So he was – –

LAURION: We were called and told that he was transferred.

TANICK: Did he seem to be better then, than he was when he first came in? Seemed to be improving from your standpoint?

LAURION: I didn’t really know his condition during the two days that  he was in the ICU because we didn’t see him for prolonged periods of time, but he was – – he was articulate while he was in ICU. When we went to see him, we went in response to the phone call that he was – – that he was moved to a regular hospital room. When we went there, the – – the nurse who was assigned to his particular case intercepted us in the hall and said, “He’s still being set up. Can you wait a few minutes?” Within a few moments, she told us to go in. A student nurse brought us a third chair. At that point, my father was sitting up in bed. He was watching television. He had just literally been in the room for a few moments. His nurse came back in and said, “Have you had supper,” and he said no. She offered to find him a tray. She brought him a tray around 6:00 P.M. When he went to eat it, his left arm was trembling to the point that he couldn’t cut his meat. I asked if I could do that for him. It was a very, very pronounced tremor (indicating). And I cut his meat. He ate it by himself, using a fork in one hand. Then he said he wanted to watch FOX News on television. We found that particular station. And at that point, Dr. McKee walked in, and I turned off the television.

TANICK: Okay. Just to back up for a minute, your – – your father was in the ICU unit on April 17th and 18th?

LAURION: It may have been the 18th by the time he was admitted.

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: We took him in the 17th. He was in the Emergency Room, and whether his stay in the Emergency Room passed midnight or not, I don’t know.

TANICK: But he spent a couple of days, essentially, in the ICU. Right?

LAURION: Yes. He would have been – –

TANICK: All right. And – – go ahead. Finish your answer.

LAURION: He would have been released sometime shortly before 6:00 o’clock on the 19th.

TANICK: Okay. And then – – and he was moved into a ward room in the hospital around dinnertime on April 20 – – April – –

LAURION: 19th.

TANICK: – – 19th. Correct?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. Let’s get the day here, so – – That would have been – – he would have come in on Saturday night. Was that when you brought him in?

LAURION: I don’t know. I just know that it was the night of the 17th.

TANICK: And he was there for a couple of days. According to my calendar, the 19th was a Monday, so this – – it was kind of over the weekend he was in the ICU. Do you remember that?

LAURION: I don’t know.

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: I just know it was April 17th to 19th.

TANICK: And then they called and you said your father is being moved into a ward room. Is that when you and your wife – –

LAURION: And my mother.

TANICK: Did you pick her up, or was she already there?

LAURION: No, I went and picked her up.

TANICK: All right. So the three of you went down to – – because they wouldn’t let you in the ICU, I take it. Right? Or very – – your access to the ICU was limited, but now that he was in a ward room, you could come down and socialize with him. Right?

LAURION: We knew that he would be moved sometime during the day, and my mother said there was no point in going to see him while he’s in the ICU if we can spend more time with him in his room later.

TANICK: Sure. So the purpose of the three of you going down there was to be with your father.

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And you were?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay, and I think you indicated that – – you know, you told us what happened in terms of him eating dinner. Was it the case that Dr. McKee then came into the room about ten minutes after your father was transferred  there?

LAURION: No, it was about ten minutes after he finished eating, and he had – – we had gotten there about ten minutes before, so it was about twenty minutes, perhaps.

TANICK: All right. So were you – – did you get there when he was transferred, or was he already in the room?

LAURION: When we got there, he was being set up.

TANICK: All right. So the transfer was kind of going on at that time; he was being moved into the room when you got there. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And he was in the room, and that – – and he was in that room and – – I’m sorry. Strike that. But he was in the room and you were in the room with him as the transfer took place and he was put in the bed and taken care of. That took about ten minutes. Is that what you’re saying?

LAURION: Approximately.

TANICK: And then the dinner part, where you help cut his food and he ate dinner, that took about ten minutes?

LAURION: Perhaps.

TANICK: And then after he finished his dinner and turned on FOX News, is that about the time Dr. McKee appeared?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: So that would have been about twenty, twenty five minutes into the time he was transferred there?

LAURION: Perhaps. Approximately.

TANICK: So it wouldn’t have been ten minutes. That would be wrong?

LAURION: You mean that he had been in the room for ten minutes?

TANICK: Right. Right. Correct.

LAURION: No, I don’t believe so. I believe he’d been in the room about twenty.

TANICK: Okay. So if someone said that Dr. McKee came into the room ten minutes after your father was transferred, that would be inaccurate. Right? It would just be wrong. Right?

LAURION: From my perception, he came into the room about ten minutes after I came into the room.

TANICK: Okay. But your father had already been in the room for about ten minutes?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: So it had been about twenty minutes after your father was in the room?

LAURION: I said perhaps, yes.

TANICK: Well, is that a reasonable estimate or not? You were there.

LAURION: It was somewhere in that time frame.

TANICK: Okay. Did you have any – – you didn’t know Dr. McKee, I take it? You had never seen him before?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Did you know of Dr. McKee at all? Had you ever heard of his name mentioned, either in the medical field or socially or in the community or anything? Any way at all, did you know that there was a person named Dr. David McKee who lived and worked in Duluth?

LAURION: When I worked at Social Security, we had a list of doctors’ names and addresses, because patients didn’t normally know them, but I don’t know whether I would have ever seen it or not.

TANICK: Okay. And then when he walked in the room, you didn’t know who he was. You knew he was a doctor, I take it, but you didn’t know, Oh, that’s Dr. David McKee?

LAURION: No, I had no idea.

TANICK: Okay. All right. Have you ever had any discussions before April 19th with anybody about a Dr. David McKee?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: And you had never – – you’d never heard from any former patients of his or people that he had dealt with or – –

LAURION: No.

TANICK: And you had never talked to any employees or people – –  colleagues of his or subordinates?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: He didn’t mean anything to you. Right?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: And do you know what purpose Dr. McKee had in coming to see you – – I’m sorry, see your father? Why was he there?

LAURION: Yes, I know that he was referred by a neurosurgeon, but I didn’t know that at the time.

TANICK: All right. Was there to check on him, I take it?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And what was – – where were – – can you tell us where you were and where your mother was and where your wife was and where – – your father was in bed. Right? But where were you in the room there?

LAURION: My father was seated in the bed, and if I were using his head as 12:00 o’clock, I was seated at 3:00 o’clock. I was on his left hand – –

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: – – side of the bed, roughly midway between the bottom and top of the bed, facing the door. My wife was seated at the foot of the bed, at the corner of the bed that would be my father’s left corner.

TANICK: Okay. It would be about 5:00 o’clock?

LAURION: Yes. And – – I did say my wife, did I not?

TANICK: Yes.

LAURION: Okay. And my mother was seated at the other foot of the bed.

TANICK: At the 7:00 o’clock position?

LAURION: About that, yes.

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: Turned slightly diagonal so that her back was toward the corner. That would have been to my father’s far right end of the room.

TANICK: Okay. And was this a normal ward room, a normal size for a hospital ward room?

LAURION: It was apparently designed for only one person.

TANICK: That was my next question. He was the only patient in there?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: When Dr. McKee came in, did you – – tell me what happened when he came in.

LAURION: He walked into the room rather briskly, went directly to my father, passing in front of my mother. He did not introduce himself to us.

TANICK: Was he – – excuse me. I just want to kind of keep the chronology.  Was he carrying anything? A chart or papers or anything?

LAURION: I don’t believe so. He had a stethoscope around his neck.

TANICK: That was my next question. He was in hospital garb, I take it? Medical garb?

LAURION: Yes. I believe he was wearing a shirt and tie and white coat.

TANICK: And you don’t recall him carrying anything, a chart or anything?

LAURION: I don’t believe so.

TANICK: Okay. Tell us what happened next.

LAURION: He went to my father and said, “Are you Kenneth Laurion,” and my father said that he was.

TANICK: Go ahead.

LAURION: Did you want me to give the whole chronology?

TANICK: Yeah. I might interrupt you a little bit. I’m not trying to – –

LAURION: Okay.

TANICK: – – I’m not trying to cut you off. But just tell me what happened next.

LAURION: My father said that he was. At that point, Dr. McKee said, “When I couldn’t find you in ICU, I had to find out if you were transferred or died.” And then, I felt in response to our stares at him, he said – –

TANICK: Excuse me. Before – – before you get to that, you said he asked if he was – – did he say, “Are you Kenneth Laurion”?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And your father said, “Yes I am.”

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. So that was the first thing he said? Dr. McKee, that is?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. Go ahead.

LAURION: So after he said, “I had to track you down and find out if you were transferred or died,” we were all rather shocked and stared at him, and in a tone of voice that sounded justifying, he said something, for which we all interpret the first half of the sentence differently, but we all agree on the last half. I understood him to say, “Well, 44 percent of all hemorrhagic strokes die within 30 days. I guess this is the better option.” My mother understood him to say, “Some people die before getting out of ICU. I guess this is the better option.” My wife felt that he either said a specific percentage that she didn’t understand or simply “a percentage of hemorrhagic strokes die before they get out of ICU. I guess this is the better option.”

TANICK: All right. Let me stop you there for a minute. I take it the recounting you’ve given us of the three different versions are based upon your discussion with your wife and your mother? That’s what they told you?

LAURION: Yes. We did not have another family discussion until my father had been out of the hospital two days, approximately. He spent the first two days just sleeping in his armchair. So when my father was up and about at home, then my wife and I went to visit, and at that point, I repeated the “44 percent” thing. My mother said, “I don’t know that he said 44 percent; I just know that he said something about how many people die, so I guess this is the better option.” My wife said, “I think I heard the word ‘percentage,’ but I don’t know what the specific number was or if he just said ‘a percentage’ or ‘a large percentage.'”

TANICK: All right. So of the three of you, you’re the only one who remembered hearing him use a specific percentage, that “44 percent of hemorrhagic strokes die with thirty days.” That’s a – –

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: You’re the only one that remembers that?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Did your father – – have you ever talked to your father about what Dr. McKee did or said during that interlude?

LAURION. I have, within the first few days after he got out, yes.

TANICK: What was his recollection or version of what happened? I know we’re not through with the whole incident, but at least up to this point.

LAURION: Well, he told me at great length that he remembered the “Are you Kenneth Laurion” question, because he had been a pharmacist’s mate in the Navy and had been taught “Don’t ever ask anybody a question that can be answered yes or no.” He should have said, “What is your name?” So he recalled that, and he also recalled being told, when he mentioned to Dr. McKee that “Oh, yes, I’m ready for a neurological examination, the nurses, the physical therapists, have all been coming in and pulling my fingers and pushing my feet and asking me my date of birth and so forth,” and Dr. McKee said, “Therapy? You don’t need therapy.” My father felt that that was dismissive. He felt, “He’s telling me I don’t need therapy because he hasn’t ordered it yet.”

TANICK: Well, did your father tell you that he remembered Dr. McKee saying something to the effect of “When you weren’t in ICU, I had to spend time finding out if you were transferred or died”?

LAURION: He did remember that, yes.

TANICK: Your father says he remembers him saying that?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. And did your father tell you that he remembered Dr. McKee saying anything about a certain percentage or a specific percentage of hemorrhagic stroke patients die within a certain time period?

LAURION: I don’t know if I’ve asked him. I don’t know if we’ve discussed it.

TANICK: You don’t know if he – – you don’t know if he remembers that or not?

LAURION: I don’t.

TANICK: All right. All right. I’ll come back to your father in a minute, but I want to pick up with the narrative of what happened afterwards. After he made the comment, so you say, “about 44 percent of hemorrhagic stroke patients die within thirty days, this is a better option,” what was his demeanor when he said that, from what – – what did you perceive? What was his – – what was Dr. McKee’s attitude or demeanor or – –

LAURION: When he said the part about he “had to find out if you had died or transferred,” I wasn’t really sure whether he was – – my impression was that he was impatient, that he was irritated. When he said, “I guess this is the better option,” I felt his attitude was a very defensive apologetic, kind of like, “Well, what? This is the better option” (indicating).

TANICK: Did you have the impression that he was – – that he was saying this to make either your father or those in the room feel bad? Or – –

LAURION: No, I had the impression that he feels important enough he can say anything he wants to and not care what reaction it has on people.

TANICK: But you don’t think he was saying that directly to you or your father or your relatives there to make you feel bad?

LAURION: I think he didn’t care if we felt bad.

TANICK: Okay. And do you think he was upset because he had to see your father?

LAURION: You’d have to ask him. I don’t know, but – –

TANICK: Well, I’m asking you. I’m asking if you felt that he seemed upset.

LAURION: He seemed irritated, perhaps because it was the time of day. He felt irritated or rushed; I wasn’t sure which.

TANICK: Well, you didn’t feel he felt – – you didn’t – – you didn’t perceive him to be upset, did you?

LAURION: I don’t know. That sounds like the same question I just answered.

TANICK: Well – –

LAURION: I don’t know what he was thinking, but my impression was – –

TANICK: That’s what I asked you.

LAURION: – – that he was irritated or that he was in a hurry, and perhaps he just wanted to get this over and go to supper.

TANICK: Okay. That was your perception or impression of Dr. McKee at that  inter – – at that point. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: It’s not the case that perceived him to be upset, was it?

LAURION: I think that’s a form of upset, yes.

TANICK: All right. So you think he was upset?

LAURION: I think we’re arguing semantics – –

TANICK: Well, I’m asking you – –

LAURION: – – but yes.

TANICK: – – that word. If you can’t answer it, tell me you can’t answer it. I’m just asking if you felt he seemed upset.

LAURION: I thought he did, yes.

TANICK: Okay. Was there anything other than what he said that made you think he was upset? Anything in his body language or countenance, his face, his facial features, other than – – other than the words he used?

LAURION: Yes. He strode into the room very rapidly. I’m accustomed, in previous hospital visits, to having a doctor knock on the door jamb and say, “Excuse me folks. May I come in? I’m Dr. so-and-so.” And then obviously, people say, “Yes, please come in.” But the formality had been dispensed with. He walked straight into my father’s bedside very briskly and it conveyed to me that he was in a hurry.

TANICK: Did that convey to you that he was upset?

LAURION: The tone of his voice did.

TANICK: Was the door open or closed or partially – –

LAURION: The door was open the entire time.

TANICK: All right. Was there anything else about his demeanor, attitude, body language, his facial features that suggested to you that he was upset or irritated about being there, other than what you’ve already told us?

LAURION: Repeat the question, please.

TANICK: Was there anything else about his words, his body language, his attitude, his conduct, his facial features that indicated to you that he was either upset or irritated or disturbed to be having to do this?

LAURION: Through that point or by the end – –

TANICK: Up to – – no, up to the point we’re at now.

LAURION: No, I think that there was his stride, and it was the tone of voice. His face looked a little rigid to me.

TANICK: Anything else?

LAURION: I don’t think so.

TANICK: Did he look like he was serious-minded?

LAURION: I really don’t know how to answer that.

TANICK: What do you mean, his face looked rigid?

LAURION: Kind of like the look he gave me just a moment ago when I made the comment that I thought he was too important to talk to people.

TANICK: How would you describe a rigid face? Facial feature?

LAURION: As a rigid facial feature.

TANICK: Squinting?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Lips pursed?

LAURION: A little bit of a – – a little bit of a tight jaw, grimace.

TANICK: All right. Now you said that your father told you that he remembered Dr. McKee saying something about a therapist. Do you remember that being said too?

LAURION: I do. That, I believe, was the next tone of conversation – –

TANICK: All right. Tell us what happened next.

LAURION: – – when he said, “I have to do a neurological examination. One of the nurses had just previously been in and had been asking my father the whole gamut of “Clutch my finger,” and “push my hand,” and “try to raise your foot,” and so forth. So when he said, “I have to do a neurological examination,” my father, who is quite talkative, said, “Oh yes, I’m familiar with that. I’ve had nurses and physical therapists telling me to raise my hand and squeeze their fingers, and what day is it, and who’s the president,” and so forth, and when he was finished, Dr. McKee said, “Therapy, you don’t need therapy.” I felt the tone of voice was a little dismissive. My father thought that the tone of voice was more emphatically dismissive.

TANICK: Dismissive of whom?

LAURION: Of the concept of therapy.

TANICK: Did your father say that he had been – – he had been seen – – had been seen by therapists? Did he use the word “therapy”?

LAURION: He said, “Oh yes, a neurological exam. I’ve had nurses and therapists,” and then the rest of what I had said about “pull my hand” and so forth.

TANICK: And your recollection is that Dr. McKee said, “You don’t – – I don’t think you need therapy”?

LAURION: He said – – in what I considered just a moderated tone of voice, he said, “Therapy? You don’t need that.” My father thought it was a more emphatic – – and I know it’s diff – – that it’s impossible to record this, but my father’s impression was “Therapy? You don’t need therapy.” So my father thought the sentence was said with more emphasis than I thought it was said with.

TANICK: How about your wife? What does she think about it?

LAURION: She basically – – I don’t know – – You’d have to ask her.

TANICK: Well, I’m asking you if you talked to her about it.

LAURION: My wife thought it was dismissive. She did not think it sounded angry or rebuking.

TANICK: And when – – you didn’t either, did you?

LAURION: No, I didn’t. I thought it was dismissive.

TANICK: And how about your mother? Did she tell you what she thought about that? Did she hear that too?

LAURION: She did. I don’t know if I’ve discussed what her impression was.

TANICK: All right. What happened next?

LAURION: Okay, we’re up to the point of – –

TANICK: Dr. McKee made some comment – –

LAURION: – – therapy and – –

TANICK: – – you say about therapy.

LAURION: Okay. Then he said, “Can you get up and – – can you get up out of bed and walk.” My father said, “I think I can walk, but my gown is not covering me in the back. It’s tied at the neck, but not at the waist.” Dr. McKee said, “That doesn’t matter.”

TANICK: Excuse me. This is like a hospital gown that has you tie it around your neck in the back, and there’s sort of a slit there down the middle of the back?

LAURION: Yes. Yes.

TANICK: The back – – the front is closed?

LAURION: The front was closed, yes.

TANICK: All right. Go ahead.

LAURION: Dr. McKee said, “That doesn’t matter.” He put his hands on his forearms and began lifting him into a sitting position. My father again said he wasn’t getting up and having his back side hang out, and he resisted being pulled up. My wife said, “It matters to us. Can you wait a minute while we leave the room. Daddy, do you want us to leave the room?” And my father said yes. So we got up and filed outside of the room and stood immediately adjacent to the door. We just turned to the right and stepped just far enough that we were not in the doorway.

TANICK: Were you able to – – was the door open or closed?

LAURION: The door was open.

TANICK: Were you able to see inside?

LAURION: No, I did not see the exam after I left the room.

TANICK: And how about your mother and wife? Did they see – –

LAURION: They didn’t see it either.

TANICK: Are you – – am I right – – and correct my understanding. You’re telling us your father was kind of physically resisting  Dr. McKee pulling him up?

LAURION: Yes. From the angle I was seated, I saw – – once my father was sitting up, I could see that he was resisting. My wife, from her angle at the foot of the bed, saw that he gripped the bottom rail – – the middle rail of the safety railing, which now seems to be abbreviated only to at the head of the bed instead of the whole length of the bed. My mother and my wife both said they could see my father grip the bed rail in order not to be pulled up. My wife observed that – – well, I’ve already said that, that he grabbed the bedrail. And initially, when we left after the exam, I started to say something in the hall of the hospital and my wife said, “We’re not talking about this now.”

TANICK: What did you start to say?

LAURION: I started to say that Dr. McKee was a jerk, and my wife said, “We’re not” – – I think I may have said “Did you understand him to say I had to find out if you’re alive or dead?” And my wife cut off all conversation. She said, “We are not discussing this in the hallway of the hospital.”

TANICK: All right. Were other people walking by that could have heard something?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And did you say, “I think he’s a jerk”  or – –

LAURION: No, I did not say that.

TANICK: You were thinking that, but you didn’t say that?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Right?

LAURION: I simply said, “Can you believe” – – my opening comment was “Can you believe that he just walked in there and said, I don’t know if you’re alive or dead’?” And my wife said, “We are not discussing this here.” Then we took my mother to supper at Perkins.

TANICK: We’ll get to supper in a minute.

LAURION: Okay.

TANICK: You just – – you used the word “jerk” a minute ago. You said you were about to say – –

LAURION: I said I was about to – –

TANICK: – – he was a jerk?

LAURION: opine that he was a jerk.

TANICK: But you didn’t?

LAURION: No, I didn’t.

TANICK: All right. And what made you think at that point that he was a jerk? Was it because he asked that question about being – – he didn’t know if you were alive or dead? Is that what made you think he was a jerk, or was it everything that did at that point?

LAURION: It was all parts of what we observed.

TANICK: Okay. How long – – how long passed from the time Dr. McKee came into the room until the time you and your wife and mother left the room?

LAURION: The amount of time it took for the conversations that I’ve just related. I would approximate three or four minutes.

TANICK: All right. Was there anything else said? Because what you told us wouldn’t, I don’t think, take three or four minutes, unless there was something else said.

LAURION: That’s why I said possibly no more than three or four minutes.

TANICK: Was there anything – – was there anything else that was said or done or – –

LAURION: Yes. Yes.

TANICK: Excuse me. – – that you recall during that three or – – possibly three or four minutes before you – –

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: – – left the room? Go ahead.

LAURION: When Dr. McKee said that he had to do a neurological exam, and then my father talked about therapists, and he had said, “You don’t need therapy,” then he asked “Have you been nauseated? Has the nausea continued?” And my father said, “No, I haven’t been nauseated since I got here.” And up until that point, I didn’t want to interrupt, because I know that when a doctor is talking to a patient, he’s not looking just for the answers, but he’s looking for the ability to answer. And so, up until the point, none of the rest of us had said anything.  But when he asked if my father was nauseated and my father said, “No, it’s been stopped since I’ve been here,” I said at that point, “Excuse me, Dad,” and then I turned to Dr. McKee and I said, “I don’t want to interrupt, but I just want to make sure.” “Dad, do you mean that you were nauseated until you got here in this room or until here at the hospital, because you were nauseated yet in the ICU.” And he said, “Oh, yes. Here in the room.” And Dr. McKee turned and looked at me and said, “And you are who?” And I said, “I’m his son.” And with that, he turned back to my father and made no acknowledgment of the fact that I had mentioned that the nausea had lasted longer than when he got to the hospital.

TANICK: What did he do then, when he turned to your father? Was this when the gown incident happened?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. Have you ever told anyone before about this discussion about nausea?

LAURION: I don’t recall. I don’t know.

TANICK: I’ve read numerous accounts by you of this incident, different forms and different venues and to different people, and I hadn’t seen any reference to this discussion about nausea. I’m not a witness here, so you don’t have to take my word for it. I’m just telling you that’s my recollection. I just wanted to ask you if you remember ever communicating this portion of the dialogue about nausea, because I hadn’t seen it before.

LAURION: Okay. I want to correct your statement that there were several venues.

KELLY: Just a minute. Just a minute. Answer his question.

LAURION: What was the question again?

TANICK: Well, I prefaced my question by asking by saying that I’ve read several different accounts that you’ve made of this incident, and I used the word “venue.” If you don’t like the word “venue,” I’ll take that out. I’ve read different – – certain accounts – – I’ve read several accounts, Mr. Laurion, of your discussion of this incident with Dr. McKee, and I don’t recall seeing anything about a reference to a discussion about nausea. Now, I’m not a witness, so I’m not testifying. I’m giving you a chance to tell me if you remember in any of the writings, blogs, reports – –

LAURION: I don’t believe – –

TANICK: complaints that – –

LAURION: I don’t believe – –

KELLY: Just a minute, both of you. You have to wait until he finishes his question so that she can get the question down. Okay?

LAURION: I’m sorry.

TANICK: That’s fine.

LAURION: I thought he had.

TANICK: Oh, that’s okay.

KELLY: It’s not fine for her, though.

TANICK: All right. My question was, had you ever mentioned in any of the communications you’ve made to any entity or person in writing or e-mail, electronically or blogs or Web site, anything about nausea?

LAURION: No, I don’t believe so.

TANICK: Have you ever told anyone about that, other than your lawyers?

LAURION: My family members.

TANICK: Okay. Was there some reason that you didn’t put that into any of your communications – – written communications or electronic communications?

LAURION: When I wrote and posted on two doctor Web sites, I’d just gotten home. I was upset. i did it relatively quickly, and it was probably just an error of omission. I did make note at a different, in response to some question about why I hadn’t contacted Dr. McKee directly, I said he didn’t strike me as somebody who was interested in my opinion, and that was based on my observation about the “Have you been nauseated” on interrupting. But no, I don’t – – I did not mention it in the – – in the – – in the on-line comments, and I don’t believe I mentioned it two days later when I wrote to St. Luke’s.

TANICK: And you wrote other communications as well about this later than that, did you not?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: How about your complaint to the board – – medical board?

LAURION: That was the same initial complaint. I wrote one letter that included , as an addressee, St. Luke’s Hospital and the board. It was, word for word, the same.

TANICK: All right.

LAURION: And it was sent to other entities, like the St. Louis County Social Services and things of that nature. It was, word for word, the same letter – –

TANICK: Okay. And those – –

LAURION: – – cut and pasted.

TANICK: And those were all prepared about two days after this incident?

LAURION: Four days, because I wrote the – – I wrote the “Rate your doctor” site and comments on the 22nd. I sent the letters on the 24th, I believe.

TANICK: Okay. Fair enough. And so all those communications  that you made occurred within five – – four or five – – five days of this incident. Right?

LAURION: Well, the incident was the 19th. I posted on the 22nd, and I wrote the letters on the 24th.

TANICK: So I’m right; it was within five days?

LAURION: Okay. Five days.

TANICK: Right. I just want – – and you’re saying the reason – – and I take it you tried to be as complete and detailed as possible in those postings and the complaints?

LAURION: No, I was trying to convey that he had behaved rather shabbily to my father, and I was not trying to give an exact word-for-word account of – –

TANICK: But you decided – – excuse me. Finish your answer.

LAURION: I think I did finish it.

TANICK: Okay. But I take it, then, that you were – – you were selective, then, in what you put in the blogs, and in your report – – in the complaints? You picked out certain things. You weren’t trying to – –

LAURION: I haven’t posted on any blogs.

TANICK: Just let me finish. You were selective in what you decided to put on the  – – on the Web site and what you told other people? By that, I mean you weren’t trying to give a verbatim account; you were trying to distill this and – – and give certain information, but not all the information. Right?

LAURION: I think my intent was to give all the information of what happened, and I think I simply omitted the – –

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: :Excuse me for interrupting.

TANICK: So the fact that this – – the dialogue about the nausea was not included previously in any of your communications was a matter of oversight on your part. Is that what you’re saying? You just forgot about that?

LAURION: I think so, yes.

TANICK: Was there anything – –

LAURION: But I’ve never gone back and tried to add that either.

TANICK: I didn’t ask you that. Was there any – – anything inappropriate that Dr. McKee did or said or didn’t do in connection with that nausea interaction?

LAURION: I thought that he blew off a comment that might have been important to him. He asked how long my father had nausea. My father gave him the wrong answer. I corrected the answer, and then he ignored me and went on with his examination.

TANICK: What do you mean “blew off”?

LAURION: Ignored. I told him that my father’s nausea had persisted longer than my father had said, and his only response to it was to ask me what my relationship was.

TANICK: How do you know he ignored it?

LAURION: He didn’t acknowledge it.

TANICK: Do you know whether he heard it or not?

LAURION: No, I don’t know. I’m sure he did.

TANICK: What were you expecting him to say?

LAURION: “Thank you.”

TANICK: Anything else?

LAURION: Pardon me?

TANICK: Anything else?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Was there anything else now that you recall occurred during the incident during the – – you said perhaps three to four minutes before you stepped out of the room?

LAURION: I don’t believe so.

TANICK: Okay. Now you – – then you and your mother and wife left the room, and you were outside the room while Dr. McKee was doing whatever he did, presumably examining your father, but you don’t know what he did there?

LAURION: No. I could hear him asking some questions.

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: And approximately three or four minutes later, he came out and looked at us, turned his head to the right as he walked past us, and said, “You can go back in now” – –

TANICK: I take it no one – –

LAURION: – – but he kept walking.

TANICK: I take it no one recorded any of this? There was no – – you didn’t record this in any kind of machine, did you?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: All right. And nor did your wife or your mother, I take it. Right.

LAURION: No.

TANICK: And no one took notes at the time, did they?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Did anyone write – – to your knowledge, did you or your mother or your wife or father write any notes on this at some point – – at some point contemporaneous or relatively contemporaneous with this occurring?

LAURION: Yes. I wrote on two doctor rate your – – rate-your-doctor sites.

TANICK: But did you write any notes?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Did you write anything down on a piece of paper to remember it or anything like that?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: And neither did your wife or mother or father, to your knowledge?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: All right. Now you say that it was about three or four minutes before Dr. McKee strode out of the room. Is that right?

LAURION: Three to five, perhaps. My left knee bothers me, and I was standing in the hallway. Had it been any more length of time, I’d have had to ask for a chair to sit down on.

TANICK: And you said you were able to hear, though, what was going on in the room?

LAURION: No. I said I could hear him asking questions.

TANICK: All right. Could you hear the answers?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: All right. Was there some reason you couldn’t hear the answer?

LAURION: Because my father was being soft-spoken and because I was standing around the side of the doorway.

TANICK: What – – tell us what – – to the best of your recollection, what you heard Dr. McKee’s questions to be.

LAURION: I didn’t hear what they were. I could just hear from his tone of voice that it sounded like he was asking questions.

TANICK: Did his tone of voice sound unusual in any way?

LAURION: No. It just sounded like he was asking questions.

TANICK: You couldn’t hear what he said?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: How do you know he was asking questions?

LAURION: From the tone of his voice.

TANICK: How can you tell from the tone of voice whether someone is asking questions or not?

LAURION: It sounded like an interrogative tone of voice.

TANICK: And then you say Dr. McKee left the room?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: The three of you were standing outside of the room, and he walked out?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. And what – – tell us what your description of his departure was like.

LAURION: He was walking out the door, and we were immediately to the right of the door as you would go out of it. He turned his head 90 degrees and said, “You can go in now,” and then he continued walking over to the nurse’s station. There was a nurse sitting next to a large tub. I assumed she was a nurse. She might have been a HUC or a ward clerk or something of that nature. There was a woman in scrubs, in any event. And he went and stood directly behind her.

TANICK: How far away from you?

LAURION: I don’t know. I would – – I really don’t know. I was standing in the doorway. He went to the – – to the far left region of the nursing station, and I don’t know how large the nursing station is at St. Luke’s.

TANICK: Did you see him, what he did at the nursing station?

LAURION: Only long enough to see that he went and stood behind the nurse for a moment, and then I turned and went back into my father’s room.

TANICK: Did you hear anything he said to the nurse – –

LAURION: No, I did not.

TANICK: – – or she said? Then did the three – – did the three of you go back in the room together?

LAURION: We started to go back into the room. My wife was in the lead, I was behind her, and my mother was behind me. As we were going into the door, my wife stopped so abruptly that I bumped into her. She turned, and over her shoulder, she whispered, “Dennis, go cover your dad up.” Then she stepped around me and pushed my mother back into the hallway. I turned and looked at my father. He was lying on top of the covers. He was turned in a position that was not on his back, but not on his side. It was like somebody on their back had turned 45 degrees toward making a 90 degree turn. He had his hands gripping the bed rail – – both hands were gripping the bed rail. His face was pushed up against the bed rail. Had the bed rail not been there, it’s my impression that he would have rolled off the bed onto the floor. He was on top of the covers. There were no sheets or blankets over him. His gown was up around his knees, and I could see his testicles.

TANICK: So did you go in and cover him in some way?

LAURION: So I walked over and said, “Dad? Dad?” And at that point, he sounded like he was just waking up, and he said, “What?” And I said, “Dad, can I get you back in bed,” and he said something to the effect of, “Oh, yes.” So I pulled the covers down, got – –

TANICK: He was in bed?

LAURION: He was on the bed, not in the bed. I construe “in the bed” as being covered up, if that makes a difference. But anyway, he was on top of his covers, and I asked if I get him back into bed. I pulled the covers down around him, got him covered up, cranked the bed up a little bit so that he was in a seated – – in a semi-seated position. My mother and my wife came in at that point, and my mother said – – my wife said – – I think it was my wife, said, “Are you tired, Dad?” Do you want to just rest now? Should we leave?” And he said, he wanted to rest. So at that point, we left and took my mother to the restaurant for dinner.

TANICK: Okay. Did you have any further interaction with anyone at the hospital that day?

LAURION: I went up to the nursing station and I asked the young lady who was seated at the part of the nursing station at that point facing my dad’s room, and I said, “Who was that doctor who just saw my father?” And she gave me his name, and I said, “Who does he work for?” And the she said Northland Myology – – Neurology and Myology.

TANICK: What else?

LAURION: And then we left.

TANICK: You didn’t see Dr. McKee as you left at all?

LAURION: No. He was no longer there.

TANICK: Why did you ask for his name?

LAURION: Because I wanted to write to somebody to complain about him.

TANICK: Did you consider writing to Dr. McKee?

LAURION: No, for the reasons I’ve already mentioned.

TANICK: Because you thought he would ignore you or – –

LAURION: Yes, exactly.

TANICK: Did you think about calling and talking to him about this.

LAURION: No, I did not. I dismissed that concept.

TANICK: Why not?

LAURION: Because, first of all, I’d never have reached him, and for the second reason, I don’t think that he would have paid attention or even continued the conversation.

TANICK: Why do you say that?

LAURION: Because of his ignoring my comment about my father’s nausea.

TANICK: When you went back in the room, what was the condition or status of your father’s gown?

LAURION: It was at his knees.

TANICK: The bottom was at his knees or the top?

LAURION: Oh, no, the – – the bottom was at his knees, and his legs were open.

TANICK: Was the gown tied in the back?

LAURION: Only around the neck, the same as it had been before.

TANICK: [ Comment is absent from this display because it discusses an assertion never made in public. ]

LAURION: I did, because I don’t think – –

TANICK: Pardon?

LAURION: [ Comment is absent from this display because it discusses an assertion never made in public. ]

TANICK: You indicated that when Dr. McKee then left the room, did you – – that he said to you and, I take it, your wife and mother – – you were all kind of together there. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: He said, “You can go in now.” Right.

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: So it’s not the case that he didn’t talk to you at all. Right? That’s not true.

LAURION: No, I said that on the rate-your-doctor site that he didn’t talk to us, and I realized later that, by my interpretation, he did not stop and give us any information about how the exam went or what my father’s condition was. I construed that as he didn’t talk to us. My intent in saying that  he didn’t talk to us was he didn’t have a conversation with us?

TANICK: But he did talk to you?

LAURION: In the sense that he said, “You can go in the room,” yes.

TANICK: Well, that’s talking, isn’t it?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. Did you and your wife and your mother have any discussion about this incident, then, that evening? I know you talked about when your father got home, but, you know, that evening right away you went to – – I mean, right after leaving the hospital, you all went out to dinner. Did you talk about this?

LAURION: Once I took my mother home, yes.

TANICK: You didn’t talk about it while your mother was present?

LAURION: I’m sorry. What?

TANICK: You didn’t talk about it when your mother was present?

LAURION: No, I talked to her in my mother’s home, but we didn’t discuss it at any great length.

TANICK: Well, what is it you did discuss that evening?

LAURION: Just a general sense that that this had not been a desirable hospital experience. We did not stay to discuss anything at great length, though, until two days after my father was home.

TANICK: All right. So you didn’t have any significant discussion with your mother, your wife, or your father until he came back home from the hospital – –

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: – – And you’ve told us everything that happened during that discussion. Right?

LAURION: I believe so.

TANICK: Did you have any discussions with – – strike that. John, I want to go for maybe about five, ten more minutes, and then we’ll take a break. Is that all right with you?

KELLY: That’s going to coincide just about exactly with my tolerance here.

TANICK: Well, we can – – we can take a break now if you want.

KELLY: Five, ten minutes will be fine.

TANICK: I think we’ll just finish this up in five or ten minutes, this portion of it.

TANICK: What you’ve told us up to now, Mr. Laurion, represents, to the best of your recollection, everything you can remember about the incident with Dr. McKee on April 29th – I’m sorry, April 19th, 2010, with your father in the hospital. Right?

LAURION: I think so, up to that point.

TANICK: Okay. And what you’ve given us and what you’ve told us are factual recitations of what you remember occurring. Right?

LAURION: They are my recollection of what happened.

TANICK: Well, they are the facts as you remember them. Right?

LAURION: Okay. Yes.

TANICK: All right. And did you have – – when was the next time that you had a discussion or communication – – and when I’m saying “communication,” I’m talking about any kind of Internet, blogs, Web sites, smoke signals, e-mails, any kind of communication in writing, orally, electronically, or otherwise with anybody else concerning this – – concerning Dr. McKee and what happened or what happened with your father, other than the conversation you said you had with your mother, your wife, and when your father was present when he got out of the hospital.

LAURION: I think it was approximately April 22nd.

TANICK: All right. That was the day after your father – – incidentally, your father got out of the hospital, I think, on April 21st.

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. Which was a Wednesday?

LAURION: Yes. And the following day, he was still pretty much sleeping in his chair all day. On, I think it was April 22nd, I went to the Lakeside Post Office to get stamps. While I was still on the sidewalk, a woman approached from the other direction. , and I knew she was vaguely familiar. She called me by name, and I was embarrassed that I couldn’t remember her name. And then she said something – –

TANICK: Excuse me. Let me just stop you. Where were you in the Lakeside Post Office? Inside?

LAURION: I wasn’t in – – no, I was in front of the doorway, on the sidewalk.

TANICK: Coming in or leaving or standing in line or what?

LAURION: Getting ready to go in.

TANICK: So you were about to enter the building?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. And you saw a woman approaching you?

LAURION: A woman facing from the other direction on the sidewalk, and she – –

TANICK: Was anyone with you?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: What were you going there for?

LAURION: Stamps.

TANICK: Go ahead.

LAURION: She – – she called me by my first name.

TANICK: What time of day was this, approximately?

LAURION: I think it was approaching 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon.

TANICK: Go ahead.

LAURION: And she – – she commented – – she asked how my retirement was, how I was enjoying my retirement from St. Mary’s – –

TANICK: Excuse me. Did you know who she was as she approached you?

LAURION: I knew she looked vaguely familiar. When she called me by my name and mentioned St. Mary’s, then I realized she was one of the ladies that would bring me material from outpatient surgery.

TANICK: Did you – – excuse me. Did you recognize her at that point  as “Oh, yeah, she’s one of the ladies who brought me records?”

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. Go ahead.

LAURION: Okay. I don’t recall – – oh, so anyway, she commented that this was the first time she had seen me in blue jeans, because I always wore dress trousers and a tie.

TANICK: What was she wearing?

LAURION: I think she had on some kind of a zipper jacket, blue jeans, and some kind of slip-on shoes, like moccasin-type shoes, or the kind that don’t have shoe strings.

TANICK: Okay. Go ahead.

LAURION: And she asked how I was enjoying my retirement, and I commented that it was great, and I said something about “And how about you?” And she said, “I don’t work at St. Mary’s anymore.”

TANICK: What – – why did you say, “How about you”? What – – do you mean she was retired?

LAURION: No, I was just asking how have things been with you, or something of that nature. “How have you been,” it might have been.

TANICK: Sure.

LAURION: And – –

TANICK: She said, “I don’t work at St. Mary’s anymore”?

LAURION: Right. “I’m not there anymore.”

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: And I said then that – – something to that effect – – oh, and she had also commented that I was wearing a baseball hat, because I used to wear a fedora to work, and it would sit in an area near my desk. And then I commented that – – I said, “I was at St. Luke’s Hospital recently; my father had a stroke.” And I said, “He was visited by a doctor who should probably get the worst bedside manner in the world award.” And she said, “St. Luke’s. Dr. McKee?” And I said, “Why would you guess that,” or “how would you know to guess that?” And she said, “He’s a real tool.” At that point, I glanced into the Post Office, saw that there was nobody in front of the lady clerk there, and I – – we said goodbye, and I went inside and bought stamps.

TANICK: What did the woman do?

LAURION: I don’t know. I don’t know whether she had been visiting the store next to the Post Office or the – – there was a physical fitness on the other side of the Post Office.

TANICK: So you lost sight of her? She didn’t walk in the Post Office with you?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Have you seen her since?

LAURION: I’m sorry. What?

TANICK: Have you seen her since?

LAURION: Oh, no.

TANICK: Have you talked to her since?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Why is it you brought up St. Luke’s and that you had an encounter with a doctor with the worst bedside manner? What caused you to bring it up?

LAURION: I was upset about it. Blowing off steam. I felt that, as a nurse, she was a kindred spirit; that she was familiar with people telling horror stories about doctors.

TANICK: Is that what you consider it? A horror story?

LAURION: I consider it a very uncomfortable episode in my life.

TANICK: You consider what you told her to be very unfavorable of Dr. McKee, didn’t you?

LAURION: I said, and you can draw your own conclusions, that my father had a stroke and was at St. Luke’s, and he had an encounter with a doctor who should get the worst bedside manner award.

TANICK: Would you consider that to be an unfavorable comment?

LAURION: I would, yes.

TANICK: Would you consider that to be a deprecatory comment?

LAURION: I would, but I didn’t say the name of the person that I was saying it about.

TANICK: And would you consider that to be disparaging?

LAURION: I would.

TANICK: Would you consider it to be harmful to someone’s reputation?

LAURION: Only if I said his name.

TANICK: And did she, then, say, “Oh, you mean Dr. McKee”?

LAURION: She did.

TANICK: And what did you say?

LAURION: I said, “Why would you guess that,” or “how would you know to guess that?”

TANICK: And what did she say?

LAURION: She said, “He’s a real tool.”

TANICK: What did you say?

LAURION: I think I said, “I see my opening. I’m going in now. It was nice seeing you.”

TANICK: Did you acknowledge that she had – – that Dr. McKee was the doctor that had seen your father or not?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Pardon?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: You didn’t acknowledge that?

LAURION: (Shaking head)

TANICK: All right. Do you want to take a break? We’ve been going at it for an hour and a half.

KELLY: Yeah, that’s fine. It’s a good time to do it.

TANICK: Why don’t we take about a ten minute break here.

KELLY: All right. It works for me.

TANICK: Ready to resume?

KELLY: Ready to go.

TANICK: Okay, Mr. Laurion, we just took a short break. I want to ask you if there’s anything that you thought of during the break here that you want to change in your testimony, either amend or delete or add to, to make it full and complete.

LAURION: No, I didn’t think about my testimony during the break.

TANICK: Well, think about it for a minute now. I want – – I want to know if there’s anything different you want to add to what you said earlier this morning – – earlier this afternoon.

LAURION: To the best of my recollection, no.

TANICK: Okay. I think we finished up here by you talking about running into this nurse, or someone you know as a nurse from your days at St. Mary’s. Would you classify her as a friend?

LAURION: An acquaintance. A work friend.

TANICK: And do you remember how often that you interacted or saw her when she was working at St. Mary’s?

LAURION: No, I don’t know. I’m not even sure which department she was from, but each of the departments sent different women throughout the week. There might be two or three of them that were covering the day shift during the particular week.

TANICK: Do you have any recollection of how – – the frequency with which you saw her? I know you weren’t keeping track, but was this someone that you saw often, or see her once or twice a week, or is this something – – someone you saw infrequently?

LAURION: I don’t know. I saw one person from each department each work night.

TANICK: This woman, you’ve described in part and told us what she was wearing. She said that Dr. McKee is a “real tool”? Was that her words to the best of your recollection?

LAURION: Or “He’s a real tool.”

TANICK: Do you remember which one it was?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: But she did identify – – she did use the name Dr. McKee?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. And what did you understand that to mean, if anything?

LAURION: I don’t know. Maybe he was a tool of medical help. I don’t use that term ordinarily, and I assumed it was a pejorative, but – –

TANICK: Was that the last thing she said to you, other than goodbye?

LAURION: Yes, I think so.

TANICK: And did you respond at all to what she said?

LAURION: No. That’s when I excused myself to go in the Post Office.

TANICK: How long did your interaction with her take?

LAURION: I don’t really know. Just a moment.

TANICK: Wasn’t she, in fact, leaving the Post Office as you approached the Post Office?

LAURION: I may have made that assuming. I saw her on the sidewalk. I don’t really know where she came from.

TANICK: Was she coming toward you or you toward her?

LAURION: We met at the door to the Post Office on the sidewalk.

TANICK: So wasn’t it the fact that you saw her coming out of Post Office?

LAURION: I parked near the Post – – almost in front of the Post Office, got out of my car, and then encountered her on the sidewalk as I was heading toward the door. I assumed that she was coming out of the Post Office although I didn’t ask her, and she didn’t tell me.

TANICK: Have you ever seen that woman before outside of the hospital setting? Have you ever seen her socially or in a grocery store or on the street or at any community events or anything?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: When you were working at St. Mary’s during that seven year span, did you work a particular time period or shift or did it end in a change? That’s a multiple question, but – –

LAURION: It was always an evening shift.

TANICK: It was evening?

LAURION: The hours were defined as be here after 4:30. I worked nights only, because all of the desks were occupied during the day. So I would come in any time after 4:30. When I worked at Social Security, I of course came in at 4:30. Later, when I wasn’t working there, I started gravitating toward 5:00 o’clock, 5:30, 6:00.

TANICK: Were there other people that you knew by name who worked with you or in close conjunction with you?

LAURION: Yes, there – –

TANICK: You mentioned your two supervisors consecutively. Who else were people who worked with you?

LAURION: In the inside of the medical records department, there were young people who wore a pager to take records to the emergency room or to the wards, and there were some people who assembled inpatient records. So on any given night, there might have generally only one or two people; sometimes as many as four, if their assembly – –

TANICK: Do you know – –

LAURION: – – was behind.

TANICK: – – the names of any of those people?

LAURION: I know people by their first name, yes – –

TANICK: Do you – –

LAURION: – – because I worked with them every night.

TANICK: Sure. Do you know anybody’s last name with whom you worked?

LAURION: I believe I knew one lady by her last name.

TANICK: And what was her full name and what did she do?

LAURION: Her name was Florence Miller.

TANICK: And what did Ms. Miller do?

LAURION: She assembled inpatient records.

TANICK: Was she a nurse?

LAURION: I’m sorry. What?

TANICK: Was she a nurse?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: She was a records person?

LAURION: She was a medical records clerk.

TANICK: Was she working there after – – at the time you retired?

LAURION: I believe so.

TANICK: Do you know if she’s still working there?

LAURION: I’m sure she wasn’t. She’s fourteen years older than I am.

TANICK: Is there anybody else whose last name – – who worked in conjunction with you and – –

LAURION: Yes. The young lady who worked most often with me.

TANICK: Mm-hmm.

LAURION: The one who carried a pager. Her name was Sarah Wisdorf.

TANICK: And is that Wisdorf?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And what did she do?

LAURION: She wore a pager and responded to calls from the emergency room or from wards to bring them charts.

TANICK: She was a records person too?

LAURION: A records transporter.

TANICK: Okay. And she was a younger lady?

LAURION: I think she was about 22 when I got hired.

TANICK: And is there anyone else whose last name you know?

LAURION: One of the girls who did a summary was named – – give me a moment, please.

TANICK: Sure. Take your time.

LAURION: Kim, and I think her last name was Hart.

TANICK: H-a-r-t?

LAURION: I don’t know how it was spelled.

TANICK: But you’re pronouncing phonetically. It’s Hart, H-a-r-t. I mean it’s Hart. Right.

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And what did she do?

LAURION: Some – – some nights she used the pager, as did Ms. Wisdorf.

TANICK: Mm-hmm.

LAURION: Some nights she did assembly and, ultimately, before I retired, she either quit or transferred to some other department.

TANICK: Okay. Anyone else whose name you recall? Last name?

LAURION: I don’t believe so. I remember the other girls by their first names.

TANICK: Can you give us some of those names?

LAURION: Well, there was a Jennifer and a Jen. There was a girl named Heidi. And, for the most part, there was no turnover among them for much of the time I worked there, so I worked pretty much with the same young ladies.

TANICK: Anyone else’s name you recall? A colleague of yours? A work mate?

LAURION: Not that I recall, no.

TANICK: Was there anybody – – you talked about – – when you identified your supervisors, was there anybody in between you and the supervisor, like a manager of medical records, a manager or director?

LAURION: Between me and the supervisor?

TANICK: Yeah. Yeah.

LAURION: Or above the supervisor?

TANICK: Someone – – no, no, between you and them. Somebody who was an intermediate level.

LAURION: I never interacted with her, but there was a lady called a lead employee. She worked straight days – –

TANICK: What’s her – –

LAURION: As did the supervisor.

TANICK: And what’s her name? What was her name, or different people’s names?

LAURION: Debbie Miller.

TANICK: Debbie Miller?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And is she still there? Do you know?

LAURION: So far as I know. I haven’t heard that she doesn’t – –

TANICK: Was there anybody else whose name you recall that you worked with in conjunction with your – – with your job at St. Mary’s?

LAURION: No, I don’t think so.

TANICK: Was there a particular – – were there charge nurses that you knew of who kind of were the head nurses or lead nurses?

LAURION: I had nothing to do with them. No interaction with them.

TANICK: And I think you indicated that this particular woman that you ran into at the Post Office was a nurse? You knew her as a nurse?

LAURION: I think she was a nurse. I don’t actually know that. I think she was a nurse.

TANICK: Okay. And do you know what unit or department she worked in? I think you said you got a lot of records from different departments.

LAURION: Only that it would have been an outpatient department.

TANICK: Is there any greater specificity you have than that?

LAURION: No. I got records from several outpatient departments. Typically, one of the people going home would bundle everything up and – –

TANICK: How many – –

LAURION: – – either hand it to me or set it on my desk.

TANICK: How many outpatient departments were there?

LAURION: I’m not sure. I dealt with outpatient surgery. I dealt with endoscopy. I dealt with imaging of any kind: MRI, CT, X-ray. I worked with any outpatient department that wasn’t more invasive than endoscopy or outpatient surgery.

TANICK: With respect to the woman at the Post Office that you ran into, to who you ascribe this statement about Dr. McKee being a, quote, “real tool,” unquote, what was her approximate age?

LAURION: I don’t really know. I think she was younger than I, but older than the college girls.

TANICK: And so she wasn’t of retirement age?

LAURION: She was – – well, when I started there, I was 56. When I left, I was 60. Or I would have been younger than 56. But I approximated that she could have been maybe seven, ten, twelve years younger than I. She might have been in her 50s when I was in my 60s.

TANICK: Okay. That’s fine. And what race was she?

LAURION: White.

TANICK: And how would you describe her stature in terms of size, height, weight?

LAURION: A little bit shorter than myself.

TANICK: Which would be – – what’s your height?

LAURION: 5 foot 9, 5 foot 10.

TANICK: So she’d be in the 5 foot 5 range?

LAURION: I don’t know. I just know that I looked down when making eye contact.

TANICK: And – –

LAURION: I – –

TANICK: Go ahead.

LAURION: I sat at a desk that had a corral in front of it, saw I generally saw these women from (indicating) – – I ordinarily wasn’t seeing their waist.

TANICK: That’s fine. How about her size? Was she a heavyset woman? A slender woman?

LAURION: Trim.

TANICK: And how about her hair color?

LAURION: Either dark blonde or – – or light brunette. Graying.

TANICK: How about length of hair?

LAURION: I don’t recall. I would construe it as medium. Not a short cut and not something hanging down her back.

TANICK: Did she have any distinguishing features on her face? Did she wear glasses, for instance. Spectacles?

LAURION: I don’t recall.

TANICK: All right. Did she have any other distinguishing – – did she have any distinguishing features on her face?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: All right. How about on the rest of her anatomy that you could see. Did she have anything that distinguished her, that you can remember? If she wore – – a particular pendant she wore, or necklaces? You probably don’t wear necklaces in a hospital. But anything about her from her garb or apparel you can recall in her work days?

LAURION She wore scrub smocks when she was working.

TANICK: Would that be indicative of what department or unit, she might have worked in, or didn’t work in?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Do you know anything about her personally, whether she was married, single, divorced, had a family, kids? Anything like that?

LAURION: I recall that she said she was married.

TANICK: Pardon?

LAURION: I recall that she had said she was married.

TANICK: Okay. Did she ever – – do you know who her – – what her husband did, or did she ever mention anything about having kids or anything like that?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Do you know where she lived?

LAURION: No. That never came up.

TANICK: When you talked to her – – is there anything else about her that you can remember from a physical standpoint or personal standpoint?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: When you saw her at the Post Office did she – – she asked you, “How’s retirement going?” Right?

LAURION: “How do you like retirement?” “How is your retirement?” Something to that effect.

TANICK: And you asked her, “How’s it going with you,” or something like that?

LAURION: I think so.

TANICK: Did you ask her – – or did she mention anything about her being retired or not working at St. Mary’s anymore, or anything about what she was doing?

LAURION: I think I may have asked her something about, “Are you still working the same job,” or “Are you still in the same department,” or something to that effect. I said something that elicited a response that “I don’t work there anymore.”

TANICK: Did she tell you where she does work?

LAURION: No, and I didn’t ask.

TANICK: When she said, “I don’t work there anymore,” do you – – did you understand her to mean, “I don’t work at St. Mary’s” or “don’t work in that same unit or department”?

LAURION: I don’t know. I assumed it meant she worked somewhere else.

TANICK: Okay. Did you ask her how long it’s been since she’d been working there or anything like that?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: If you had to find her for some reason, let’s say she owed you money, hypothetically owed you lots of money and you had to find her, how would you go about finding her?

LAURION: I don’t know.

TANICK: Don’t know where to begin?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Have you made any efforts to locate her during the course of this legal dispute?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Do you know whether anyone has?

LAURION: You might have.

TANICK: I only asked you if you know anyone has.

LAURION: I don’t, no.

TANICK: I think you indicated that this encounter happened – – did you say about 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon? I think you said that.

LAURION: Sometime in the early afternoon.

TANICK: Early afternoon. Had you gone – – put on the Web sites at that point anything about your encounter with Dr. McKee?

LAURION: No. I believe I did it that night.

TANICK: Because all of your Web site comments refer to this reference to the tool. Right?

LAURION: I don’t know if it says it on the Web site. It does on the letter to St. Mary’s – – I mean St. Luke’s.

TANICK: Okay. All right. What was your reaction, if anything, when she mentioned – – made the comment about Dr. McKee being a, quote, “real tool”? What did that strike you as?

KELLY: Well, you’ve already asked that question twice, and it’s been answered twice. Take another swing at it, but there’s a limit.

LAURION: What was my reaction?

TANICK: Were you surprised that she said that? Did you feel that confirmed your view? Did you think that that was a – – did you wonder what she meant by that? All of the above or something else?

LAURION: I don’t know.

TANICK: Did you tell anyone about that encounter that you had with her?

LAURION: Not in detail, no, but I mentioned it to St. Luke’s.

TANICK: Did you tell your wife when you got home?

LAURION: Yes, I – – no, I – – I’m sure I must have.

TANICK: What do you remember telling your wife when you got home?

LAURION: That I had run into somebody that I used to work with at St. Mary’s and that I had mentioned that my father had a bad experience with a neurologist and that she had guessed his name and that I was embarrassed I couldn’t remember her name and couldn’t respond to her in kind.

TANICK: What did your wife say?

LAURION: I don’t recall. You’d have to ask her.

TANICK: Did you talk to anyone else about it?

LAURION: I don’t know if I discussed it with my parents or not.

TANICK: Do you have any idea how she would know of Dr. McKee, if at all, if she worked at St. Mary’s and he’s at St. Luke’s? But do you know how she would have known him at all?

LAURION: I just assumed that nurses have some kind of a grapevine. She could have worked at St. Luke’s before. He could have worked at St. Mary’s before.

TANICK: Did you have – – you’ve now told us everything that you know about this woman nurse that you ran into at the – -at the Post Office.

LAURION: So far as I know, yes.

TANICK: Now, you subsequently posted on various Web sites information, facts about Dr. McKee and this incident. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And tell me what was – – what prompted you to do that? What was the – – what were the circumstances leading up to your action to do so?

LAURION: Well, there was – – his visit angered me. There was the fact that these were called rate-your-doctor sites. Initially, I simply went online to a search engine and typed in “David C. McKee complaints.”

TANICK: Can you hold on for a minute here? I just want to get the chronology here. You got home – – you weren’t planning on – – when did you start – – first think about doing any kind of communication about Dr. McKee?

LAURION: I don’t know. I know that I did the postings on April 22nd.

TANICK: All right. And was that after you got back from the Post Office?

LAURION: I don’t recall.

TANICK: You don’t – – well, I’m sorry. Strike that. Apparently you did, because you told us before that you used the phrase “He’s a real tool,” so you picked that up at the Post Office?

LAURION:  Apparently.

TANICK: All right. Were you – – all right. Do you remember approximately what time of day you did this?

LAURION: I think it was the evening of April 22nd.

TANICK: Was there something that happened that day that prompted you to do that at that time?

LAURION: No. I was still harboring irritation over the visit. I wondered if this was an isolated instance. I googled complaints about Dr. – – “complaints” + “David C. McKee.”

TANICK: Where did you google that?

LAURION: Where did I google?

TANICK: Where did you do that?

LAURION: On Google.

TANICK: I mean where? At your home?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And what did you find out?

LAURION: I found several Web sites on which he already had profiles.

TANICK: And which Web sites were those?

LAURION: One was InsiderPages.com. One was Vitals.com. One was HealthGrades.com. What have I mentioned?

TANICK: InsiderPages.com, Vitals.com, HealthGrades.com, and there’s – –

LAURION: DoctorScore, DoctorScoreReport, DoctorScorecard, something with “doctor score” something.

TANICK: Mm-hmm. Any other ones?

LAURION: Not then. No.

TANICK: All right. Well, later on, you went to other Web sites. Right?

LAURION: No, but I have a Google alert that lets me see if his name comes up.

TANICK: All right. Well, let’s talk about those four you saw. You went onto Google, you looked up Google complaints about Dr. McKee. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And the reason you’re doing that, you were still harboring this resentment about the way your father had been treated. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And you were looking to see if this was an isolated or if he had other problems. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. And what did you find when you checked out these scores?

LAURION: They all offered star reportings, where there were things like “response to my question” or “cleanliness of office” or “spends time with me”  and categories like that, that would offer – – where somebody could give so many stars out of eight, or so many stars out of six. And I found that the composite was that he was roughly at 50 percent.

TANICK: 50 percent of what?

LAURION: Well, four stars out of eight or five stars out of ten.

TANICK: On all of these?

LAURION: On those four, yes.

TANICK: All right. So he had – – he was rated on all four of those.

LAURION: I believe so, yes.

TANICK: And the ratings seemed to add up to an average rating somewhere in the middle, a middling rating. Is that what you’re saying?

LAURION: Approximately.

TANICK: All right. Did you know – – how were you able to know what a middle rating is?

LAURION: Because they display – – and one of them categorized. One said his rating is – – I believe “moderate” was the word.

TANICK: did you see any other information besides just conclusory ratings in terms of numbers or characterizations compared to actual specific verbiage from other people?

LAURION: I don’t recall.

TANICK: I don’t know if my question was real clear, but let me rephrase again. What you saw on there was an equivalent to a report card, in a sense?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: But there wasn’t – – you didn’t see any kind of essay material? You saw a score or a conclusion, but you didn’t see any kind of descriptive verbiage from patients or others who were talking about particular encounters they had with Dr. McKee, did you?

LAURION: I don’t know if I did that day or not. I know that I did on other days, but I don’t know at that point if there were any narratives or not.

TANICK: All right. “Narrative.” That’s a better word. Thank you. What kind of narratives did you ever see about Dr. McKee on any of these Web sites ever, from April 22nd to today?

LAURION: Well, on three of those Web sites somebody from San Francisco went in the day after I posted and said that he was a wonderful doctor, and somebody else from San Francisco said that he really did wonderful things for his or her MS.

TANICK: Do you know – – do you remember which Web site that was?

LAURION: I’m guessing that it would be those other than HealthGrades, because I found out HealthGrades does not allow narratives.

TANICK: Okay. Any other narratives that you’ve ever seen about Dr. McKee other than the two patients apparently from San Francisco who seemed to be favorable?

LAURION: Yes. There’s a woman on one of them, and I don’t recall which, who has recently posted that he didn’t seem to want to hear anything from her, so she went without visiting a doctor at all for five years, but her pain is now so bad that she’s going to have to see a doctor, but it won’t be him.

TANICK: How recent was that?

LAURION: I’m sorry. What?

TANICK: How recent was that?

LAURION: I don’t know. Since my posting, and closer to this date than to the original date.

TANICK: Did you ever contact that woman?

LAURION: No. There’s no contact information there.

TANICK: Any other postings that you’ve seen – – narratives about Dr. McKee?

LAURION: I thought there was one more, but I can’t recall it. Oh, yes, I recall. A lady posted he has a very dry sense of humor; you have to understand that his sense of humor is very dry. I think it was a lady.

TANICK: Did you contact her or try to?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Okay. Anybody else? Any other postings that you’ve seen about him?

LAURION: None that I can recall.

TANICK: What else happened, then, after you checked those four Web sites? This is the evening, I guess, of April 22nd. What did you do next?

LAURION: I originally thought that I had posted the same paragraph on all four of them. However, when I went back to look a couple of days later, it was only posted on two of them.

TANICK: Well, the next thing, I take it, is you posted something on somewhere?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: I posted on two of those Web sites.

TANICK: All right. And you thought you posted on four. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: What accounts for that discrepancy?

LAURION: I don’t know, but when I went back to look a couple of days later, there was no remark on Doctor Scorecard, and when I wrote to ask the sites to delete them, Health Grades wrote back something to the effect that “You must be mistaken. We don’t accept narratives. All you could have done is filled out the number of stars.”

TANICK: All right. So you think your posting only appeared on Insider Pages and Vitals?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Didn’t you have to enter the two other ones too? You thought you did at least?

LAURION: I thought I had, but apparently was mistaken.

TANICK: But your intent was to publish something on all four of them?

LAURION: I believe so.

TANICK: All right. And was it the same narrative on all of those?

LAURION: Yes. I just cut and pasted it.

TANICK: All right. How did you do that? How did you do that physically? Were you sitting down at some machine?

LAURION: I was sitting at the computer, and I typed it on Microsoft Word and then I cut and pasted it into those two Web site “remarks” sections.

TANICK: Didn’t you have to enter the two other ones too? You thought you did at least?

LAURION: I thought I had, but apparently was mistaken.

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: I couldn’t have at Insider. I mean, excuse me – –

TANICK: HealthGrades.

LAURION: HealthGrades. I could not have at HealthGrades, so I apparently may have just given him a number of stars.

TANICK: Okay. And did anyone know you were doing this at the time you did it?

LAURION: I hadn’t discussed it with anybody, no.

TANICK: And did you do this spontaneously?

LAURION: I really don’t know how to answer that. I had had four days since – – or five days since my father had been in the hospital.

TANICK: So this is something you planned to do? You intended to do it?

LAURION: I don’t – –

TANICK: Strike that question. I’m going to withdraw the question. “Planning” might not be right, but this is what – – you did this intentionally, did you not?

LAURION: I think had I checked complaints about Dr. McKee and not found any profiles, I would not have overcome inertia of rest and initiated a profile for him.

TANICK: All right. So what prompted you to put a profile on there was – –

LAURION: No, I didn’t put a profile.

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: I saw a profile – –

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: to which I added my comments.

TANICK: All right. What was – – had you not seen a profile, you wouldn’t have put anything, but it was seeing a profile that prompted you to put something on there. Right?

LAURION: I don’t know. Looking in back in hindsight, I think that’s possible.

TANICK: And what was it about the profile that prompted you to put your own comments on there?

LAURION: The fact that the reports struck me as mediocre, to begin with, vindicated my sense that it was appropriate to say something.

TANICK: Why?

LAURION: I really don’t know how to answer that any better.

TANICK: What was it about the mediocrity that caused you to put something on there? Are you suggesting that if it had been a higher rating, it wouldn’t have, or if it were a lower rating, you wouldn’t have?

LAURION: If he had had a high rating, I might have perceived that I caught him on a bad day, let’s just let it go.

TANICK: So what was in your mind was is the fact that you saw him being rated what you term mediocre prompted you to say, “Well, I guess I better put something” – – “I should put something on here too because apparently other people have had some difficulty too”?

LAURION: I really don’t know. I felt that it justified my saying something.

TANICK: All right. His mediocre rating, in your mind, justified you putting your view on there. Right?

LAURION: It may have acted as a catalyst for me.

TANICK: All right. How long did it take for you to put on the material?

LAURION: As long as it took to type it and stick it on there.

TANICK: All right. Did you compose it all at once or did you – –

LAURION: No, I wrote it at once.

TANICK: I take it, it would have been a couple minutes?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Did you consult or refer to anything when you put on the – – put that on the Web site?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Did you look at any notes or documents you had written up or anything like that?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: All right. So what you were putting on there was your recollection of what had occurred at this incident on February 23rd – – April 28th – – the 19th. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: It was your factual recitation of what you recall. Right?

LAURION: There again, I don’t know what you mean. I recited it as accurately as I recalled.

TANICK: Well, you believed you were putting facts on there. Right?

LAURION: I believed that I was giving an accurate account of what happened.

TANICK: A factual account?

LAURION: I don’t know.

TANICK: You don’t know if you were stating facts or not?

LAURION: I was stating my recollection, my impressions.

TANICK: All right. Let’s mark this. (Whereupon Deposition Exhibit 1 was marked for identification.) Mr. Laurion, I’m showing you what the court reporter has marked as Exhibit 1, do you know what it is?

LAURION: It’s a copy of what I’ve said, but I don’t know what it is copied from.

TANICK: Is this the sub – – is this the substance of what you placed on at least two Web sites, from your testimony, Vitals – – http://www.Vitals.com, and http://www.InsiderPages.com/doctors/David McKee, M.D., Duluth. Is this the posting?

LAURION: I don’t know if this is the posting. This is my text.

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: You’re giving it to me out of context.

TANICK: Well, what’s the context?

LAURION: Well, you haven’t printed a Web screen. I don’t know if you typed this on a piece of paper and handed it to me. I don’t know the source of this copy.

TANICK: Okay. Are these the words you used in your posting?

LAURION: I believe so.

TANICK: All right. Is there anything on here that you think has been added to your posting?

LAURION: (Reviewing document.) I believe these are my words.

TANICK: Did you – – this indicates – – it says 4/23/10. Now, that suggests it was posted on April 23rd. Do you know what would account for that?

LAURION: It might be that I did it late enough in the evening that it was past midnight or it might be on the East Coast and it was midnight there.

TANICK: Did you put the heading on here? “McKee David C MD – Northland Neurology & Myology?

LAURION: Oh, no. That would have been – – I didn’t label them at all. He had profiles.

TANICK: Okay. Did you put on there, “Duluth Minnesota neurologists, 4/23/10,” colon, “I thought you died.”

LAURION: I did not put the “Duluth MN Neurologists either.”

TANICK: How about the, quote, “I thought you died,” unquote?

LAURION: There may be a headline for me to fill in . I don’t recall.

TANICK: You don’t recall if those are your words or not?

LAURION: I don’t know.

TANICK: But the rest of this says – – the rest of this document is – – are the exact words that you posted on at least two Web sites?

LAURION: I think so.

TANICK: Was there anything about – – I want you to read it. Is there anything on there – –

LAURION: I have read it.

TANICK: All right. Is there anything on here that you don’t think is your words?

LAURION: I don’t believe so, no.

TANICK: Is there anything on – – that’s not on here that you posted at that time? Is there anything deleted from here?

LAURION: No, I don’t think so.

TANICK: Just a minute. Well, if I understand you correctly, you’re telling us that this was posted on InsiderPages.com, Doctors and – – www – – Vitals. com, and you thought you posted it on the other two, but those apparently didn’t get on there, according to to what you know?

LAURION: It was actually only posted on Insiders and – –

TANICK: Vitals?

LAURION: – – Vitals.

TANICK: And what is InsiderPages.com?

LAURION: It’s a rating site on which people can rate things.

TANICK: And who has access to it?

LAURION: I suppose anybody with a computer.

TANICK: Anybody in the world?

LAURION: that would be anybody with a computer, yes.

TANICK: Okay. And do you know who has access to Vitals.com? Or, I’m sorry, what is Vitals.com?

LAURION: That’s a rating site, more specifically just for medical – – excuse me, medical sources.

TANICK: What’s the difference? Does InsiderPages have profiles of various medical personnel? Doctors?

LAURION: Among other profiles.

TANICK: They have profiles other people besides medical people?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: What kind of people?

LAURION: Plumbers. Hotels.

TANICK: Attorneys?

LAURION: Restaurants.

TANICK: Attorneys?

LAURION: Excuse me?

TANICK: Attorneys?

LAURION: I don’t know.

TANICK: All right. But it’s – – it’s a source that provides comments or ratings about people and services and entities. Right? In a general sense. Right?

LAURION: Yeah. I think most of the comments come down to subjective comments about personality, though.

TANICK: And how about Vitals.com. That profiles – – is that profiles about medical people?

LAURION: It’s a site where you can go to look and see if your doctor has a profile, and if he does, you can see what people have said and what they’ve rated, or if there’s not a profile, you can start one.

TANICK: All right. And again, the whole world with a computer has access to that. Right?

LAURION: I suppose so, yes.

TANICK: Have you ever consulted either of those Web sites before?

LAURION: Not those, no.

TANICK: Okay. And I take it the reason you were drawn to those two Web sites is because – – after Googling his name – –

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: – – it came up that he was listed on those two. Right?

LAURION: He was listed on all four of them.

TANICK: On all four? Right. Was he listed on anything else?

LAURION: I think he was, but I didn’t go any further than the first four.

TANICK: Why not?

LAURION: I don’t know. I ran out of steam.

TANICK: You have various quotes in this document, and you’re quoting various people here – – well, not various. You’re quoting Dr. McKee at various points, and you’re quoting your wife at two points here, and you’re then quoting this friendly – – friend nurse. Right? Those are quotes. Right?

LAURION: They are my impressions of what was said, yes.

TANICK: Well, I take it when you put it in quotes, you’re saying that this is, to the best of your recollection, verbatim what was said?

LAURION: My intention was to separate it from the rest of the text that was what I’m saying now.

TANICK: Are those quotes verbatim, to the best of your knowledge?

LAURION: They were at the time.

TANICK: Well, do you think they are now? Has something changed?

LAURION: Well, after hearing three of my relatives say that they don’t think he said 44 percent, when I wrote to St. Luke’s, I did not refer to “44 percent” specifically. That was my impression of what he said. I later learned that was not my wife’s impression of what he said. “Therapists? You don’t need therapy.” That’s an exact quote. “That doesn’t matter” is an exact quote. “It matters to us. Let us go into the hall.” That is an exact quote.” And, so far, as I know, “Dr. McKee is a real tool” is a quote.

KELLY: Just so that we can identify this for the record, what is the source of this particular Exhibit 1, Counsel?

TANICK: Don’t know. It is what it is.

KELLY: All right.

Whereupon Deposition Exhibit 2 was marked for identification.

The Reporter: Exhibit 2.

LAURION: You’re handing this to me?

TANICK: Yeah. You’ll have a copy there, Counselor. Just give me a minute, please. Maybe I don’t have an extra copy of it. All right, Mr. –

KELLY: Well, wait a minute.

TANICK: I don’t have a copy there.

KELLY: Well, we’ll get some copies.

(Reporter’s note: Mr. Kelly stepped out of the room briefly.)

TANICK: All right. Are you ready?

LAURION: (Nodding head.)

TANICK: Mr. Laurion, on Exhibit 2, do you know what that it?

LAURION: I know that it is my words. I don’t know what it is derived from.

TANICK: Well, let me just represent to you and tell you what I think it is. I’m not testifying, but if this refreshes your recollection, I believe this is the original – – this is a posting from the InsiderPages.com Web site. That’s what I’ll represent it to you as.

LAURION: Then I have to clarify the question.

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: Why did you not print the whole Web page so that it could be seen in its context?

TANICK: Well, I’m asking you. Okay?

LAURION: I’m asking you to clarify the question.

KELLY: Just a minute.

TANICK: My question – Go ahead. Let me finish here. Can you identify this as something that you posted on InsiderPages.com.

LAURION: I can post it – – I can verify that it is my words. I don’t know where you have taken it from.

TANICK: Okay. Do you recall posting those words on InsiderPages.com?

LAURION: I do.

TANICK: Okay. And this was posted on or about April 22nd. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. And this is the  – – this is the – – the substance it the same as Exhibit 1?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Mark that.

(Whereupon Deposition Exhibit 3 was marked for identification.)

The Reporter: Exhibit 3.

TANICK: Mr. Laurion, do you recognize what Exhibit 3 is?

LAURION: Again, it is the words that I said.

TANICK: Did you post this on some Web site, if you know?

LAURION: I have already indicated I posted it on the two that I mentioned.

TANICK: Do you know which one, if any, this post is taken from?

LAURION: Again, it is the words that I said.  I have already indicated I posted it on the two that I mentioned. I can verify that it is my words. I don’t know where you have taken it from.

. . .

TANICK: You had some discussion with your mother and wife about, “What is it Dr. McKee said in the room,” Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And there was some discrepancies as to what they – – what the three of you heard?

LAURION: I would say differences.

TANICK: All right. You said you heard this 44 percent. Your wife said she heard some kind of reference to a percent, but not sure of the exact, and your mother said she heard something, a reference to mortality, but not necessarily tied to a percentage. Is that right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. So you went and checked it out, or you went to Wikipedia and you saw this 44 percent. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And you felt, well, that confirms; I guess he must have said it, because that’s what Wikipedia says. Right.

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And you say you did that after your posting. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. How much after your posting did you do that?

LAURION: After I spoke to my parents, and presumably before I wrote to St. Luke’s.

TANICK: All right. Well, you wrote to St. Luke’s on April 22nd.

LAURION: Then it would have been after – April – to St. Luke’s, I may still quote that figure.

TANICK: Right. So you must have seen it before you wrote to St. Luke’s?

LAURION: No, I did not. I heard it before I wrote to St. Luke’s.

TANICK: All right. My – all right. My question was when you – when you went to look – when you saw it in Wikipedia.

LAURION: I went down and looked it up after the family conversation about what had been said. When I showed it to my wife, and she still insisted she hadn’t heard 44 percent, so I didn’t make any more reference to 44 percent.

TANICK: But I take it, then – – I’m just trying to get the time period here, if I can. You wrote your letter to St. Luke’s , I believe, on August – – I’m sorry, April 22nd.

LAURION: I believe so. I wrote some April 22nd and – –

TANICK: And some were – –

LAURION: – – copied some on April 24th.

TANICK: You’re right. Some of the letters were written April 22nd and some were written April 24th. But at any rate, in all of those letters, you reference – – in those letters – – pardon me. In those letters – –  and I’ll show them to you, but I didn’t see the reference to the 44 percent. And I’ll show you the letters in a moment, but, I mean, do you remember not – – consciously not putting in the 44 percent in the letters to the various institutions?

LAURION: At some point, I made that decision, yes. I don’t recall the exact date.

TANICK: All right. And why – – why did you make that decision?

LAURION: Because my wife didn’t feel that she had – – that that’s what he said.

TANICK: I thought you said, though, that you looked at Wikipedia and that kind of confirmed your view?

LAURION: I looked at Wikipedia after having a conversation with my parents and with my wife at my father’s house.

TANICK: So you felt that Wikipedia confirmed what you heard, but by that time you had already written the letters. Is that right?

LAURION: By that time, I had already conformed my wife’s saying that she didn’t think a specific figure was said or that a specific figure – – one said it was – – excuse me, unintelligible.

TANICK: Where did you find the Wikipedia? Where did you find that Wikipedia entry? Or a Wikipedia entry about stroke? Where did you find that? Was that on your computer at home?

LAURION: I looked it up.

TANICK: I know, but where did you look it up?

LAURION: I don’t know.

TANICK: Did you go to a library to look it up?

LAURION: No, I don’t know.

TANICK: Did you look it up on a computer?

LAURION: Obviously, I looked it up on a computer.

TANICK: Do you remember whose computer you looked it up on?

LAURION: No, I don’t.

TANICK: Do you remember what computers you were looking up – or using in April of 2010?

LAURION: I have used my father’s computer at his home. I’ve used either of my sons’ computers at their homes.

TANICK: All right. How about your computer at your home?

LAURION: I have, yes.

TANICK: How about your computer – – do you have a computer at your place of work or business?

LAURION: It’s the same computer.

TANICK: That’s one you have at home?

LAURION: Yes

TANICK: All right. So if one were trying to – if one were trying to locate where – where – when you saw that Wikipedia entry – if you were trying to locate it, how would you go about locating it?

LAURION: Where I’d locate it?

TANICK: When? I’m sorry. When? If someone – if there is an issue, “When did Mr. – when did Dennis Laurion go on a computer and find this Wikipedia reference to the 44 percent?” If someone were just trying to ascertain that, how would they do that to your knowledge?

LAURION: I don’t know.

TANICK: How would you do it?

LAURION: I wouldn’t because I know when I looked it up.

TANICK: What if someone said, “Can you show us” – “Can you substantiate or corroborate when you looked it up?”

LAURION: No, I would have to tell them that my stepson came in November and fixed our computer and refigured it and put on new profiles and, so far as I know, new software.

TANICK: Therefore, what?

LAURION: I – I don’t know.

TANICK: Well, I take it, then, that you’re telling us that you presumably looked up the Wikipedia posting – Wikipedia on your own computer.

KELLY: He hasn’t said that.

TANICK: No, I said, “I take it.”

KELLY: You’re putting words in his mouth. He hasn’t said that.

TANICK: All right. Well, I’ll take them – all right. Well, you don’t have to argue with me. You don’t have to shout. I’ll take it out. I’ll take it out of your mouth and put it in my mouth.

TANICK: Is it the case that you read that on your own computer?

LAURION: I don’t know.

TANICK: So – – all right. Is there any source material you looked up in connect with – – are there any sources you examined in connection with this incident with Dr. McKee other than Wikipedia? Did you look at other medical treatises, other medical documents, anything else?

LAURION: I – –

TANICK: With source – –

LAURION: I don’t believe – –

TANICK: – – major – –

LAURION: – – so.

TANICK: Mark that as exhibit 4.

KELLY: Isn’t that Exhibit 5?

TANICK: I’m sorry. Is that Exhibit 5? Is that Exhibit 5?

REPORTER: Yes. I’m sorry. Exhibit 5.

(Whereupon, Deposition Exhibit 5 was marked for identification.)

TANICK: Do you see – – do you have Exhibit 5 in front of you?

LAURION: I do.

TANICK: Mr. Laurion, what is that?

LAURION: That’s a print from DoctorScoreCard.

TANICK: And do you know what it is?

LAURION: Yes. It’s a copy of the Duluth News Tribune article.

TANICK: All right. Did you post this on there?

LAURION: I did.

TANICK: And on the first – – this is a scorecard or a – – well, a scorecard for Dr. McKee. Right?

LAURION: That’s what the site [ is ] called, yes.

TANICK: All right. And it says “Average score,” 10 is best; 1 is worst. This is a 1 rating. Who put that in there if you know?

LAURION: I don’t know. I just know that I posted the comment, that I posted a copy of the Duluth News Tribune.

TANICK: Okay. And do you know when you posted that? I take it, it was after the Article appeared, so – –

LAURION: Yes. I don’t recall the date.

TANICK: The article was published on or about June 12th, 2010.

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: If you look at the bottom of page 2 here of these exhibits, it says “Overall score given by ‘Anonymous’ on 9/2/10”. Would you have been “Anonymous”?

LAURION: I don’t know. I don’t recall if I filled in a score.

TANICK: Okay. Do you – – how did you post this on DoctorScoreCard?

LAURION: I don’t recall that either. I may sent it as an e-mail attachment or I may gone to the site and inserted it into “Remarks.”

TANICK: Well, why did you do that?

LAURION: Why?

TANICK: Yes.

LAURION: Because I think if somebody is suing his patients, it’s appropriate for other people to know that. It’s a public record.

TANICK: I guess I didn’t ask you that. I don’t think I asked you why you – – I think you told us what prompted you to put the postings on Vitals and InsiderPages, but what was your purpose in doing it?

LAURION: In doing what?

TANICK: In posting – – in making those postings about your encounter with Dr. McKee. You told us, I think, what prompted you to do it, that you said you saw he had a profile there. But what was your purpose? What was your goal or objective?

LAURION: I think it was simply to state a case of bad behavior from that individual while sticking to not causing any conclusions. I didn’t make any reference to his skill as a doctor, but I –

TANICK: Well – go ahead.

LAURION: – felt the site exists for that purpose.

TANICK: For what purpose?

LAURION: If you see a doctor, you can go there and rate him. You can tell good things about him and you can tell bad things about him.

TANICK: And you told bad things?

LAURION: I told that one episode. I didn’t make any predictions or characterizations.

TANICK: And I take it, though, you wanted the world at large to see that, that’s why you posted it there. Right?

LAURION: Yes, it was a site where people list their ratings and they compare with each other.

TANICK: Okay. And you recognize that the people who would be checking that site would include people who are interested or inquiring about Dr. McKee?

LAURION: No, because I’ve read a number of Web sites that say that people should just take those sites with a grain of salt and not pay any attention to them.

TANICK: Who did you think might be in the audience who would see the postings you made?

LAURION: I didn’t really care. It was more important to me to say it than who was going to read it.

TANICK: You didn’t care  – – you didn’t care what the effect would be in any way?

KELLY: He didn’t say that, Counsel. Objection. You’re putting words into his mouth.   And that wasn’t framed in the form of a question, so I object to it as well.

TANICK: Fair enough. Did you care about what effect the posting would have?

LAURION: I don’t think I thought about the effect at that time.

TANICK: Were you indifferent to the effect?

LAURION: No, because ultimately I removed it.

TANICK: Well, when you posted it, did you have any thought about what effect it might have?

LAURION: No, I didn’t think about it beyond my right to say it.

TANICK: So what effect – – is it the case that what effect it had wasn’t something of concern to you when you posted it?

LAURION: I don’t know if that’s accurate. I was concentrating on my right to say it.

TANICK: Were you thinking about what effect it might have on people who read it?

LAURION: No, I think at the moment it was still close enough to my father’s episode that I was blowing off steam.

TANICK: How angry were you when you wrote that?

LAURION: My father never appeared vulnerable to me before. After Dr. McKee saw him, I was incredibly angry.

TANICK: Now, Dr. McKee had seen him on April 19th. This is – – by the time you’re doing your postings, it’s about three – – three or four days later, on April 22nd or so. Right?

LAURION: (Nodding head.)

TANICK: Incredible anger had well up, had it not?

LAURION: I can’t answer that either.

TANICK: Well, were you still angry when you did the posting?

LAURION: I was still irritated, yes.

TANICK: Were you still angry?

LAURION: I don’t know. I was upset.

TANICK: Was there any other reason for you to do those postings other than, you say, to blow off steam, to express your thoughts?

LAURION: No, and on the – – I believe the 8th – – 7th or 8th of May, I decided that I should concentrate on the actual context with peer agencies rather – –

REPORTER: I’m sorry. “Context with” what?

LAURION: Peer, P-e-e-r, agencies. And I wrote to the sites and asked them to delete my postings.

TANICK: Had you ever, in the past, Mr. Laurion, ever done any kind of postings expressing negative – – any negativity about any other kind of medical provider?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Have you ever done so since your encounter with Dr. McKee?

LAURION: Complaint letters?

TANICK: No. Have you posted anything on Web sites, Internet, e-mails, blogs, about any negative reactions or encounters with medical personnel?

LAURION: Since this time?

TANICK: Yeah, since then. You said you didn’t do it before.

LAURION: I don’t believe so.

TANICK: All right. Have you ever posted anything on Web sites or Internet sites or e-mails or blogs about your – – about negative encounters you’ve had with any kind of service institutions, organizations, retail businesses, any kind of negative encounters in the business community?

LAURION: Yes, I posted a review on Insiders – – no, excuse me, on Trip Advisor.

TANICK: Is that about Howard Johnson’s?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. Have you done anything other than that?

LAURION: Since then?

TANICK: Yeah, at all. Since, before, during.

LAURION: I don’t really know. I’ve been a member of Trip Advisor for maybe two years, and I think all of my other postings were compliments.

TANICK: Is Trip Advisors an organization that people belong to that exchange information about travel and trips they’ve taken?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. And people can kind of put on there whatever they want?

LAURION: Within reason, I suppose. I’m sure it’s moderated, but you can describe restaurants or hotels, local sites of interest.

TANICK: After you did your – – excuse me. After the postings that you made on or about April 22nd, that evening, or maybe it didn’t get posted till the next day, but did you have any – – in the ensuing next day or two, did you have any further dealings with this matter involving Dr. McKee? Anything you did, or talked to anyone, or did anything else happen with respect to this McKee matter?

LAURION: The next day?

TANICK: Yeah, the next day or the following day, or the next couple days?

LAURION: I looked at the sites to see if my comments were posted.

TANICK: And they were posted on two, but not the other two. Right?

LAURION: Exactly.

TANICK: Did you – – did you ever ascertain how many people made hits or contacts on any of those sites?

LAURION: No, I don’t have a – – I wouldn’t – – I don’t know how I would do that.

TANICK: Why did you check to see if you site – – or your comments were posted?

LAURION: Just to be thorough, to see if they were there.

TANICK: You wanted them to be there, I take it?

LAURION: I did at that point, yes.

TANICK: Did you subsequently – – now, you sent a number of letters to various institutions. I’ve counted up at least twelve, and maybe up to eighteen different institutions.

KELLY: Objection in this respect. He sent one letter to a number of institutions. That’s the fact.

TANICK: All right. How many different – – how many letters did you – – how many different institutions did you send letters to complaining about Dr. McKee? Approximately.

LAURION: I would say approximately fourteen.

TANICK: All right. And the letter was identical to each one, other than who it was addressed to. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: TANICK: All right. And those letters were written in the time frame – – in the time period of April 22nd, April 23rd, April 24th, right in there?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And were any of those written before your postings, if you remember?

LAURION: I don’t believe so. I believe the chronology is that I posted on the Internet sites and then – – although I may have written the draft of the letter and then just extracted that one paragraph to use on the Internet before sending the letter to the addressees.

TANICK: All right. Well, let me just focus in on that for a minute, if I can. Can you – – is there some – – can you recall what the chronology – – the sequence was of that, to the best of your recollection? Do you remember doing a draft first, or the Web site first, or the letters first, or some of the letters? If we were trying to reconstruct it, what would – – how would we reconstruct the timing?

LAURION: I’m not sure whether I extracted that paragraph from a rough draft or if I later used that paragraph with the modification about the 44 percent when I wrote to sources.

TANICK: All right. The source – – the – – and you mentioned this before, and I want to make sure we’re complete and fair here. These sources – – the letters to the sources, these fourteen, I think you said, had – – included essentially what was in your Internet postings?

LAURION: I think so.

TANICK: But you modified it in certain respects. It was – – it was similar, but not identical?

LAURION: I – –

TANICK: Is that fair?

LAURION: – – don’t know that either.

TANICK: Well, you did say you deleted the 44 percent hemorrhaging – – hemorrhage to death factor. Right?

LAURION: I don’t know if we’ve – – is that my letter to them? (Indicating.)

TANICK: Yeah.

LAURION: You can look at that paragraph and tell me whether I had or not.

TANICK: All right. Let me ask you this, Mr. Laurion. I’m just jumping back to our discussion about your computer and your – – your computer activity. Have you taken – – have you done anything to remove from any of the hard drives of any of your computers that you’ve used any information regarding Web sites you’ve visited?

LAURION: No, I wouldn’t know how to do that.

TANICK: How about your son-in-law. Did he –

LAURION: He’s not my son-in-law. He’s my stepson.

TANICK: Stepson. I’m sorry.

LAURION: When we came back from dinner with my – at my sister’s house, our computer was no longer working. The computer was given to my wife by her son. He gets rid of his every five years and he brings it to us. So, he was here right before Christmas and he got our computer working again. What he did to it, I don’t know.

TANICK: So you don’t know if he’s removed anything from your hard drives that would be reflective of Web sites you’ve visited in connection with this matter concerning Dr. McKee? You don’t know one way or the other?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: How would you find out?

LAURION: I don’t know.

TANICK: Well, one way would be to check your hard drive. Right?

LAURION: If somebody wanted to look at all of my finances and my passwords and my letters to my mother and so forth?

TANICK: The – – the various letters you wrote to the fourteen institutions, I mean I’m going to see if I can identify them and, you know, tell me if I’m missing one. I think you sent – – you sent to – – and essentially you sent the same letter. Right? We talked about that.

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: It was the same – – the exact same letter to various institutions – –

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: – – other than the salutation. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. And who composed that?

LAURION: I did.

TANICK: Did you have any input from anybody?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Did you show it to anybody before you sent it, like your wife or your mother or father or anybody?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: And did you use any material – – did you use any notes or source material or anything in connection with those various letters?

LAURION: No. I simply drafted it.

TANICK: And you sent it to St. Luke’s Hospital. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Why?

LAURION: Because he has privileges from St. Luke’s, and at that point, I thought that somebody with an M.D. after his name would call him in and say, “We don’t like getting complaints like this. Could you be a little friendlier in the future, and we’ll consider this over.”

TANICK: So the reason you wrote to St. Luke’s – you wanted somebody in authority there to admonish Dr. McKee. Right?

LAURION: I wanted somebody to tell him that they either felt that that was poor behavior or that the writer thought that was poor behavior, and we don’t like getting letters like this.

TANICK: Did you have any communications back from St. Luke’s?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Was that Dr. Gary Peterson?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: He was the medical director there. Right?

LAURION: I’m not sure what his title is, but he’s the senior medical officer, by whatever name.

TANICK: And what – what did he tell you?

LAURION: Initially I got a letter from him that said that Dr. McKee is not their employee, and that, therefore, his recourse was limited to giving a copy of my complaint to Dr. McKee, and that he had done so.

TANICK: And then what?

LAURION: Subsequently, I had a phone call from a woman whose name I don’t remember, but she said she worked in the patient advocate office, and she said that her supervisor, whose name I also don’t remember, suggested that I should talk to Dr. Peterson by phone. I called and left a message asking to speak to him, and he called me back.

TANICK: And approximately when was this?

LAURION: I don’t recall.

TANICK: This was within weeks, I take it, of the incident?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Last spring?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And what did – – did you have a discussion with Dr. Peterson?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Tell us, to the best of your recollection, what you remember discussing with him.

LAURION: I recall asking him why he was distancing himself from Dr. McKee, since their Web site says Dr. McKee is on their staff. And the bulk of the phone call was Dr. Peterson’s giving me a lecture about the difference between employees and staff, and that “staff means they have privileges, but they’re not our employees.”

TANICK: All right. Well – –

LAURION: And he regrets the episode happened, but there’s very little more he can do, or maybe there’s nothing more he can do.

TANICK: Did you talk to Dr. Peterson about the substance of your letter?

LAURION: I don’t recall.

TANICK: All right.

LAURION: I recall more what he said.

TANICK: All right. Do you remember what you said?

LAURION: It was basically an expression of my disappointment that they were giving my father a patient bill of rights that said he had certain rights to courtesy, and now they’re saying they have no enforcement mechanism.

TANICK: He responded by talking about the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?

LAURION: Yeah. (Nodding head.) I’m sorry. Yes.

TANICK: Okay. Did you do anything in response to that?

LAURION: I don’t believe so.

TANICK: All right. Were you satisfied with Dr. Peterson’s responses?

LAURION: I was disappointed.

TANICK: Were you angry about it?

LAURION: I wouldn’t say angry. I would say that I was disappointed and that I envisioned this as perhaps a self-fulfilling prophecy.

TANICK: Another institution you sent your letter to was the Office of Quality Monitoring. Do you remember that?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: What is that?

LAURION: It’s an agency that acts as an advocate or overseer for Medicare patients.

TANICK: Agency of what?

LAURION: Of the federal government.

TANICK: And you knew of them from your Social Security work?

LAURION: No, actually I didn’t.

TANICK: How did you find out who – – how did you find out who they are?

LAURION: By researching medical sources for Minnesota.

TANICK: And why did you want to write to them or why did you write to them?

LAURION: Because my father was a Medicare patient. Medicare was being billed for his treatment.

TANICK: And what was your purpose in writing to them? What did you hope to accomplish by that?

LAURION: I’m not really sure at this point.

TANICK: Would you want somebody to call this to the attention of Dr. McKee and point out that there was a problem?

LAURION: Either that or refer it to the appropriate source. My expectation of everybody I wrote to was that some of them were not going to be involved, but would refer to somebody who is involved,  or that they would give me other sources of contact.

TANICK: Did you hear back from them?

LAURION: Yes, I did.

TANICK: What did they – – it tell you?

LAURION: It said that they were limited to a review of my father’s medical record, and that if my father wanted his medical record reviewed, he could call them by telephone and request it. I didn’t feel that was necessary.

TANICK: I believe you wrote to the Minnesota Medical Board?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: The Board of Medical Practice.

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: When did you do that?

LAURION: Oh, wait. The Board of Medical Practice?

TANICK: Yeah.

LAURION: I thought that I had written to them on the 22nd or 24th. Subsequently, they contacted me and said, “You have to do this on our form. If you want to, you can even write, ‘See attached’ and just staple your original letter, but send it back on our form.” That was one lady who contacted me. A different lady contacted me and said, “A number of agencies have referred your complaint to us. In order for us to work it any further, we have to have your home address, and it has to be on our form.”

TANICK: Did you do that, then?

LAURION: I printed the form and stapled the original letter and, to some extent, stated the nature of the complaint on the front of the form.

TANICK: Did you hear back from them?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And what did you hear back from it?

LAURION: What date or what did I hear?

TANICK: What did you hear back from them? When I say “it,” the board.

LAURION: Mr. Mark Zuski (Phonetic.) wrote back and said that he had the complaint and that it would be processed by somebody looking at it initially to see if it should be dropped, and then if that wasn’t done, it would be referred to a panel of two doctors and a lay person, and if I needed status or had any further comments, that he was the person I could contact.

TANICK: And what – – how did that play out?

LAURION: I don’t understand the question.

TANICK: What happened next? What was – – what was your communication, then, with the medical board after that?

LAURION: I sent them one request for a follow-up, asking what the status was. They wrote back that and told me that the – – the committee of the three people that I mentioned would be meeting in a particular month, I think September, and that I would hear from them.

TANICK: And did you?

LAURION: I did, yes.

TANICK: And what did you hear?

LAURION: They wrote back and said that they were not acting on the complaint, but they would reopen it if anybody else provided a similar complaint.

TANICK: And what happened next?

LAURION: I went to their Web site and looked to see what other decisions they made on that day.

TANICK: And – –

LAURION: They had reprimanded a doctor for not paying his taxes. They had reprimanded a doctor for being an alcoholic. They had reprimanded a doctor who was alleged to have botched five surgeries, and one of them was apparently said to have killed somebody. And they also reprimanded some anesthetists for not following procedures of administering anesthesia.

TANICK: Well, let me ask you this. I don’t mean to cut you off. But did you have any further communication with the medical board, the Board of Medical Practice relative to Dr. McKee?

LAURION: I think I notified them he had sued me.

TANICK: Okay. Any further communication?

LAURION: I don’t believe so.

TANICK: You also wrote to the Minnesota Medical Association?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And what was your purpose in doing that?

LAURION: My purpose was the same as my purpose in all of the others. They were either regulatory bodies or they were peer-review bodies, and my ultimate goal was that somebody would say, “You should be careful how you address your patients so that we don’t get these complaint letters.”

TANICK: You wrote to the Lake Superior Medical Society?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: The Patients Action Network?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Did you hear back from any of those organizations?

LAURION: Seven or eight of them wrote and either said we’ve referred your claim to the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice or the avenue for you to address is the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice.

TANICK: You wrote to the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Advisory Committee. Right?

LAURION: Yes. Their Web site said if you have experience with medical care in St. Louis County, give us feedback.

TANICK: And you also wrote to the Office of Medicare Ombudsman. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Another letter was also sent to the American Neurological Association?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: The American Academy of Neurology?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Any other ones I didn’t name?

LAURION: Not if they were on the documents that were provided to you. You have a copy of every one that I sent.

TANICK: I take it that all of those – – is it the case that all of those correspondences – – I know there’s some communication you received back from these organizations, but all of those communications to those organizations and entities were sent out on or around April 22nd, 23rd, or April 24th, right in that area. Right?

LAURION: April 22nd and April 2t, so far as I know.

TANICK: Do you know – – what was the dichotomy – – why there was a dichotomy there, why you sent some on one day and some a couple of days later?

LAURION: Because I’m lazy and it was time to go to bed.

TANICK: Okay. Well, maybe it’s time to take a break now, too.

KELLY: Okay.

TANICK: Just a minute. What’s your – – what’s your thought on timing, John? I’d kind of like to get – – maybe go to maybe 5:30 today.

KELLY: If you go to 5:30, will you be able to finish?

TANICK: Not today.

KELLY: Well, we can go to 5:30. How do you feel about that?

LAURION: I’d like to kind of get this wrapped up today.

TANICK: I don’t think we’ll finish today. We kind of reserved tomorrow morning.

KELLY: How much more time do you think you need?

REPORTER: Off the record?

TANICK: Yeah, we’re off the record.

(Discussion off the record.)

(Whereupon, Deposition Exhibits 6 and 7 were marked for identification.)

TANICK: Back on the record. Mr. Laurion, I’ll proceed by asking you if there’s anything you’ve heretofore testified to that you want to amend, change, add on, delete, things you’ve remembered in response to my previous questions?

LAURION: No, I don’t believe so.

TANICK: Okay. Did your father have any further interaction with Dr. McKee after he left the hospital?

LAURION: That’s a matter of contention.

TANICK: Well, I’m asking you.

LAURION: Dr. McKee’s office says he was. My father says he wasn’t.

TANICK: So what – do you have an understanding one way or the other whether he was – there was a plan or an intent or a desire or a contemplation that he would be seeing Dr. McKee again, if you know?

LAURION: My mother received a phone call that said, “The doctor would like to see your husband again” or “Ken again” or “Mr. Laurion again.” My mother did not want to accede to that, but she didn’t want to argue with it either, so she said, “Oh, he’s still home-bound,” and she was told, “Oh, we’ll make the appointment in the future.” And I think at that point my mother didn’t respond any further. When she told my father that she had been called to make an appointment, he said, “Call them back and tell them I’m not coming in there. I’m not going to see him again.” My mother called back and said that she wanted to cancel the appointment and she was – when she hung up, she was not – my father said, “Did she ask why?” and she said, “Nope. They just said okay.” And he said, “I did not cancel an appointment. I refused an appointment. I wasn’t asked if I wanted an appointment.” Nor was anything said in his discharge summary about a return visit to Dr. McKee.

TANICK: Did your mother then, to your knowledge, have two conversations with Dr. McKee’s staff or office?

LAURION: Yes. She was called to establish the appointment. Then she called back at my father’s direction to cancel the appointment.

TANICK: Were you, Mr. Laurion, in the loop on either of those conversations?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: When did you become aware that those conversations occurred?

LAURION: Just at a subsequent visit to their house.

TANICK: They told you – your mother told you about it? Your mother and father told you about it?

LAURION: Yeah.

TANICK: Did he get any care from any other doctor?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And whom?

LAURION: His attending physician, Dr. Greg Gilbertson.

TANICK: Has Dr. Gilbertson then been attending to and treating your father since last April?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Since his discharge?

LAURION: He has seen him at least two times, possibly three times.

TANICK: Has your father been institutionalized at all since then?

LAURION: He’s had a trip to the emergency room.

TANICK: Otherwise, he’s been at home?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And is his condition today – – well, you described it earlier, but has his condition changed in any way during the course from last April? Is he better? Is he worse?

LAURION: I think he’s better.

TANICK: Are you satisfied – – are you personally satisfied with the quality of care your father has been given by all these medical institutions. I know that’s kind of a broad question, but – –

LAURION: My family was completely satisfied with all of the treatment he got a St. Luke’s other than the episode with Dr. McKee. He was treated by, I think, nine other doctors, including radiologists. He has been seen by Dr. Gilbertson. Dr. Gilbertson – – I took him to the appointment, and I went in with him without asking if he wanted me to or not, and he was very open about what he thought his circumstances were. He explained why he needed a new prescription, prescribed the prescription, told me he would only make the prescription for a few days and that we would check back and then he would determine whether to go further. So, yes, I’m satisfied with the care that he otherwise got at St. Luke’s , and I’m satisfied with the care that he got at Dr. Gilbertson’s, and I’m satisfied with the care that he got subsequently in the emergency room.

TANICK: You subsequently received a letter from me on or about May 7th, 2010, did you not, which is marked as Exhibit 7?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And I take it you read and reviewed that letter on or about that date?

LAURION: Oh, yes.

TANICK: And you responded later that day – – I’m sorry, the next day. On May 8th, you wrote back to me, did you not?

LAURION: My letter is dated May 7th.

TANICK: Okay. May 7th. You’re right. May 7th. It looks like it was dated May 7th. It looks like it was sent on the next day, but – – Is that – – is Exhibit 8 a true and correct copy of the – – is that 6?

LAURION: These are 6 and 7.

TANICK: Oh, I’m sorry. Do we have a – – Let’s just go off the record.

(Discussion off the record.)

(Whereupon, Exhibit Numbers 6 and 7 were re-marked for identification.

TANICK: All right. Mr. Laurion, we just made a correction on the letter. Exhibit 6 is a copy of the letter I sent you dated May 7th, 2010. Correct?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And you responded that you received it and read it and responded to me on or about the same day, May 7th – –

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: – – with Exhibit 7, which is your response to my letter. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: In your letter to me, you state that – – you describe that you visited four Web sites that seek patient – – that contain – – you were seeking patient ratings of doctors. You testified about that. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. And then you say that you posted the contents of Enclosure 1. That’s the Web site  – -that’s the Web site that we talked about earlier, which is Exhibit 1 in this case. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. And then you – – and you also sent – – you also then told me that you wrote a letter, and that’s that letter we talked about to these various institutions. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Twelve of them listed here, I guess. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And then you go on to say – – you explained that you had heard back from the – – strike that. We can mark these as group, whatever the next number is?

(Whereupon, Deposition Exhibit 8 was marked for identification.)

REPORTER: Exhibit 8.

TANICK: Exhibit 8. I’m jumping forward a little bit here. Exhibit 8 is a collection of, I think, most, if not all, of the letters that you sent to these various institutions. It may not be all of them, but is that, in fact – – are those, in fact, copies of the letters you sent to some of these institutions. They’re all the same, except for the salutation.

LAURION: (Reviewing documents.) Yes.

TANICK: Okay. And that’s what you refer to as Enclosure 2 in your letter to me?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. You go on in your letter to me to say that you were – – you were planning on, quote – – you planned to quote, Let this drop,” unquote, until you received my letter. Right?

LAURION: That had been my intention. If you hadn’t sent me this letter – –

KELLY: Just a minute. You answered the question.

LAURION: Thank you.

TANICK: So until you received my letter, you say your intention was to just cease doing anything relative to Dr. McKee at that point and let the matter rest. Right?

LAURION: With the exception of complying with the contact from the Minnesota Medical Board to put it on their form.

TANICK: And you also said in your letter to me that you have, quote, “no intention of posting anything more about Dr. McKee or corresponding with anybody about Dr. McKee.” Right? That’s at the top of page 3.

TANICK: That’s at the top of page 3. End of the first paragraph on page 3.

KELLY: We’ve got a problem. What’s page 2?

TANICK: Don’t you have page 2 there?

KELLY: I didn’t get page 2.

TANICK: Okay, it’s missing from your copy. Sorry.

KELLY: All right. But I understand now, so that’s why we are page 3?

TANICK: Yes.

KELLY: Go ahead.

TANICK: Is page 2 missing from yours too?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Pardon?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Okay, it’s an error then, in our – –

KELLY: Not a problem.

TANICK: And error in our photocopying, and I take the blame for that. On page 3, you state at the end of the first paragraph that you had no intention of doing anything more about it, posting any more information about Dr. McKee or corresponding with anybody about Dr. McKee. Right? That’s what you said in your letter?

LAURION: I said that with the preface “otherwise.”

TANICK: “Otherwise.” So what did you mean, “otherwise?”

LAURION: I meant that if there’s no further need to post about him, that I won’t. If I’m left alone, I’m done.

TANICK: All right. And you conclude by saying, “I am no longer inclined to discuss Dr. McKee’s behavior with anybody.” And the next paragraph is “I’ll consider this matter finished. Right? And “Will Doctor McKee” question mark. Right?

LAURION: (Reviewing document.)

TANICK: And, “Will Dr. McKee,” question mark. Right?

LAURION: Yes, and I was taking your threat letter at face value, that if I complied with what you wanted, that would be the end of the issue.

TANICK: However, you decided not to do that. Right?

LAURION: No, I don’t agree with that.

TANICK: The letter goes on, then, to include the two enclosures, the first one is – – the Enclosure 1 is the Web site information that you posted on the two Web sites?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: You thought you posted it to another two, and then the second one is the standard letter you sent to the institutions. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Another paper clip. Did you take any action before this letter to delete or remove or expunge or redact anything from those Web sites?

LAURION: I believe I did it that evening.

TANICK: I said before the letter.

LAURION: No, I believe it was after I received your letter.

TANICK: All right. So the letter prompted you to do something?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And what is it, it prompted you to do?

LAURION: You told me not to talk to anybody else and to delete the postings. I deleted the postings and stopped talking to anybody else.

TANICK: Did you do anything else relative to that?

LAURION: Ask me something specific, so I can answer it one way or the other.

TANICK: Did you do anything relative to the Dr. McKee situation other than try to delete postings?

LAURION: I successfully deleted the postings, those sites I wrote to and asked them to delete them, and they deleted them. The sites that hadn’t posted them wrote and told me that they hadn’t posted them. I just did not delete them manually.

TANICK: Were you aware – – I think you indicated you tried to post on Dr.Scorecard, but apparently it didn’t catch?

LAURION: I don’t know that I tried or if I simply read it and then a lapse of attention and didn’t do it.

TANICK: That’s the one I think you said you thought you did, but you found out you didn’t. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. Were you aware that their requirements for posting is that you be a patient of the doctor you’re posting on? Did you know that?

LAURION: No, I didn’t, but I made it very clear that I was a relative of a patient. I wasn’t misrepresenting myself.

TANICK: Did you fill out any kind of questionnaires about Dr. McKee in any of those Web sites?

LAURION: If they asked for a number of stars, I gave them, yes.

TANICK: Do you know which Web site that was, the stars?

LAURION: Presumably InsiderPages and Vitals.

TANICK: And do you know whether you were required – – whether those ratings are supposed to be done by a patient versus someone else who is not a patient?

LAURION: I don’t know that either.

TANICK: Did you ever use – – do you ever use the term “shirts” as a pseudonym or a reference or a name on any of your Internet postings?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Is that something – – what does that refer to?

LAURION: It’s just an acronym for some site. It was a word other than my name.

TANICK: Why did you use “shirts” instead of your name?

LAURION: I don’t really know.

TANICK: Pardon?

LAURION: I don’t know.

TANICK: Did you have any communications at any time  at all, Mr. Laurion, with any members of the media respecting or regarding Dr. McKee and the situation with he and your father?

LAURION: Not by name. I wrote to – only after I got your threat letter, I wrote to Mark Stodghill and to two television stations. I said, “I have been threatened by a lawsuit by a doctor. If he follows through, is it newsworthy?” Nowhere in these contacts did I say his name or even my father’s name or St. Luke’s Hospital as a track back.

TANICK: Do you recall when you first communicated or contacted the medical board? Was that on or about April 22nd or April 24th?

LAURION: One or the other of those dates.

TANICK: So you had contacted them before my letter to you?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. And do you know when this – – when the medical board got back to you – – I think her name is Martinez, Ms. Martinez – – saying you have to fill out their forms?

LAURION: Shortly before your threat letter.

TANICK: All right. And when did you fill out their forms and finalize your complaint?

LAURION: I took a couple days. I had an attorney look at it, neither of these gentlemen.

TANICK: Pardon?

LAURION: I had an attorney look at it before sending it.

TANICK: Okay. I’m sorry. You said neither of these gentlemen. Are you talking about – –

LAURION: No, I didn’t come and see either of these gentlemen. I saw a different attorney.

TANICK: And then you made your posting  – – I mean, you made your complaint with the medical board. Right?

LAURION: I don’t see that as making a complaint. I see that as reformatting my original complaint to comply with their template or structure.

TANICK: Okay. That came after my letter to you. Right?

LAURION: I think by the time I sent it, yes.

TANICK: All right. Just a minute.

(Whereupon Deposition Exhibit 9 was marked for identification.)

REPORTER: Exhibit 9.

TANICK: Is Exhibit 9 – is that the complaint you made to the medical board after they sent you the form to fill out.

LAURION: I need to clarify the question.

TANICK: Well, what is Exhibit 9, to your knowledge?

LAURION: It’s a complaint registration with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice.

TANICK: And attached to it, is there not a letter?

LAURION: There is a letter.

TANICK: And you sent that letter on or about May 22nd?

LAURION: I’m still waiting for the clarification of the question.

TANICK: Well, I’m not going to give it to you. You’re going to get my next question. Are you – – the complaint registration form, which is Exhibit 9, is dated May 14th. Is that the date you sent it, if you remember?

KELLY: What’s the date?

TANICK: The complaint registration, the second page is dated May 14th.

KELLY: Oh, I see. Yeah.

LAURION:  Okay, if you’re not going to clarify the question, I’ll ask Mr. Kelly to clarify the question before I answer it. I was advised by the Board of Medical Practice that this complaint is confidential, that it’s not subject to litigation, that it is not subject to – –

KELLY: It’s all privileged.

LAURION:  – – to prosecution, that it’s privileged.

KELLY: That’s right.

LAURION:  Therefore, am I supposed to be answering questions about this?

KELLY: We’ll let him. Roll away.

TANICK: Pardon?

KELLY: Go ahead. Just because he asks about it doesn’t mean it’s going anywhere.

TANICK: I asked you whether that’s the date you sent it.

LAURION:  It is, yes.

TANICK: All right. And then there’s also a – – there’s a letter that’s dated May 22nd. Did you also send that to the Board of Medical Practice?

LAURION:  I did.

TANICK: Was that sent separately from Exhibit – – the complaint registration, if you remember?

LAURION:  I think it was.

TANICK: All right. Just for clarity then, why don’t we – – can we just mark that, the letter, Exhibit 10. Have your – – just give it back to the court reporter, if you don’t mind, because it’s not part of Exhibit 9. It’s a separate document.

(Whereupon, Deposition Exhibit 10 was marked for identification.)

REPORTER: Exhibit 10.

TANICK: That’s going to be 11, John. This is going to be 11.

(Whereupon, Deposition Exhibit 11 was marked for identification.)

REPORTER: Exhibit 11.

TANICK: Mr. Laurion, I have before you now Exhibit 11, and that’s a collection of communications that you made to members of the media, right, concerning the situation with Dr. McKee. Right?

LAURION:  It was concerning the fact that a doctor was threatening to sue me, and I asked if that was newsworthy.

TANICK: Sure.

KELLY: Let me see what you’ve got as Exhibit – – what? Oh, yeah, this is not the right one.

TANICK: I’m sorry. Did I give you the wrong document? No, I think – – you’re right. I gave you the wrong document.

KELLY: Okay. Yeah, all right.

TANICK: I’m sorry. Here you go.

KELLY: I see what we’re doing.

TANICK: That’s it, John. I’m sorry. My fault.

KELLY: Thank you.

TANICK: All right. Let’s mark this, then, as the next number. Would that be 12?

(Whereupon, Deposition Exhibit 12 was marked for identification.)

REPORTER: Exhibit 12.

TANICK: All right. Exhibit 12, Mr. Laurion, actually that will come before – we’ll talk about it before Exhibit 11. Exhibit 12 is a document that you sent to ImproveVitals and to Legal – – or to InsiderPages and also t5o City Search – – well, no. City – – that’s their response. These are – – Exhibit 12 is correspondence that you sent to ImproveVitals and InsiderPages asking to delete the postings you had made. Right?

LAURION:  Yes.

TANICK: And that was in response to my letter to you of May 7th. Right?

LAURION:  Yes.

TANICK: All right. And then the following day, apparently May 12, you sent these three letters to members of the media, right, asking them about whether this matter was newsworthy. Right? That’s Exhibit 11.

LAURION:  Yes.

TANICK: Okay. Why did you select those – – the letters are sent to Kevin Jacobson, who’s at KDLH TV – –

LAURION:  Yes.

TANICK: – – here in Duluth, one of the letters. Another of the letters is – – another letter is sent to Dennis Anderson of WDIO TV, and another letter is sent to Georgia Swing, who’s the city editor at the Duluth News Tribune. Right?

LAURION:  No, I didn’t send the letter to Georgia Swing. She responded to my letter.

TANICK: I’m sorry. Okay. You’re right. But you – – I’m sorry. You’re right. There was a letter sent to  – – do I have that letter here? Didn’t you send a letter to Mark Stodghill? Yeah, you sent – – I’m sorry. You sent a letter to Mark Stodghill, and she responded to it. Right?

LAURION:  Yes.

TANICK: Mark Stodghill is a reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. Right?

LAURION:  For the courts and police section, yes.

TANICK: Okay. Why did you – – I think you indicated that the reason you sent these letters to these people was to see if my communication to you on behalf of Dr. McKee was somehow newsworthy. Right?

LAURION:  Oh, no. No.

TANICK: All right. Well, you tell me why you sent those letters.

LAURION: I sent them to ask if a resulting lawsuit would be noteworthy. I didn’t ask them anything about your letter, nor did I want them to do a piece about my father’s treatment. I was not contacting any of those sources and saying “A doctor was rude to my father. Would you run with it?” because, obviously, that wouldn’t be newsworthy. I asked “If I’m sued, will it be newsworthy?”

TANICK: And why did you contact those three individuals?

LAURION:  Because those are the local entities here.

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION:  – – the ones that I was aware of.

TANICK: Well, you’re aware of more than those entities, I take it, but that’s a – – that’s a television station, maybe the principal station here?

LAURION:  I don’t know. I think there are three stations. Two of them have merged and act as two – – as one station. I don’t know.

TANICK: Whoever you sent it to, the television station KDLFJ, – – KDHF – – KDLH, WDIO TV.  Okay. That’s the two – – I’m sorry, the two television stations. Was there anyone else? And Mark Stodghill at the Duluth News Tribune. Was there anyone else in the media you sent it to?

LAURION:  No.

TANICK: Okay. So it was the two stations here, the two television stations, and the newspaper?

LAURION:  Yes.

TANICK: Okay. Did you know any of those people personally?

LAURION:  No.

TANICK: Kevin Jacobson?

LAURION:  No.

TANICK: Dennis Anderson or Mark Stodghill?

LAURION:  No.

TANICK: Had you ever had any dealings with – – business or social dealings with any of them?

LAURION:  No. I had written to the editorial page associate, Jim Heffernan, before, but not to Mr. Stodghill.

TANICK: All right. And you had had some materials published in the newspaper?

LAURION:  I have. Letters to the editor.

TANICK: Okay. But you didn’t know Mark Stodghill personally?

LAURION:  No, I simply looked on their directory and saw who was the legal or court reporter.

TANICK: All right. And did you get any response from Mr. Jacobson or Mr. Anderson at the television stations?

LAURION:  One of the reporters for one or the other of the stations, and I don’t know which it was, a woman, one who was not the main anchors, contacted me and said, “Are you suing the doctor,” giving me the impression that if I was suing him, they would be interested. I simply e-mailed no.

TANICK: Okay. Did you have any more communications with them?

LAURION:  No.

TANICK: Why were you asking if this was newsworthy? What was your purpose?

LAURION: From what I’ve read on the Internet, this is a precedent type of situation. If you Google doctors who are suing their patients, you will find only six or seven names.

MCKEE: I’m not suing a patient.

TANICK: Go ahead.

LAURION: And there are several – this apparently is a hot topic. Not only doctors suing families, but anybody suing somebody for Internet defamation. I think even your own website describes Internet defamation as a brand new field, a brand new area of experience. There’s a lot of conversation about it. There are a lot of sites written by doctors for doctors, some of them internists, some of them dentists, and so forth, and inevitably on all of them there’s a question of “How do I respond when somebody complains about me on the Internet?” And the advice generally given is either ask them to retract it, which they probably won’t do, or ignore it, it will make the Web site go higher, and if you sue anybody, it will garner publicity. Also, I never cared about Internet defamation before, but I’ve been converted and I’ve read sites about Internet defamation, and they generally all say if somebody sues you for defamation, you should shine a spotlight on it; and therefore, I felt that if he sues me, he should have the courage of his convictions and let the entire community know it. The article says he rebuts all of those statements. So fine, he got to say he rebutted them. I got to say that I affirmed them. It’s a public debate.

TANICK: I know – – I remember in your letter to me, you responding to my letter to you, you said, “Left to my own devices, I am no longer inclined to discuss Dr. McKee’s behavior with anybody. I’ll consider this matter finished. Will Dr. McKee,” question mark. Do you remember that passage in your letter to me?

LAURION:  I do.

TANICK: And that was on May 7th or May 8th?

LAURION:  Yes.

TANICK: All right. And on May 11th, you were contacting media to see if there would be some interest on their part in writing an article if you were sued. Right?

LAURION:  But I was not writing about Dr. McKee. I was writing and saying I might be sued by a doctor and is that newsworthy.

TANICK: Right.

LAURION:  I purposely redacted everything from my complaint letter that would even lead them to what hospital. Had he not sued me, and they contacted me again and said what’s happening, I would have said nothing, and I would have never revealed his name.

TANICK: Did something happen between May 7th or 8th, when you wrote me your letter, saying, “I’m no longer inclined to Discuss Dr. McKee’s behavior with anybody,” and May 11th, when you wrote these communications to the two TV stations and newspaper, that altered or changed your view?

LAURION:  Again, I’m not acceding that I wrote about dr. McKee. Had you not sent me a threat letter, I would never have contacted the public. But I found your threat letter to contain a great deal of hubris, and it annoyed me, and I thought if he wants to threaten me, then he should be prepared to back it up in a public arena.

TANICK: That’s fine. I’m not arguing with you. I’m just asking you factually, did something happen between the time you wrote me on May 7th or 8th saying I’m inclined to let this matter rest – – I think your words were, “I’m inclined” – – well, let’s get your exact words here. “Left to my own devices, I am no longer inclined to discuss Dr. McKee’s behavior with anybody. I’ll consider” – – I’ll consider this matter finished. Will Dr. McKee?” That’s on May 8th. My question is, did something happen between May 8th and May 11th relative to your decision to contact the media?

LAURION:  Yes, it did.

TANICK: All right. What – – what happened in those three days.

LAURION:  I re-read your letter.

TANICK: And?

LAURION:  I read that you said, “You have posted false statements,” and I concluded that your calling them false does not make them false, and therefore I felt that you were being rather cavalier. I also read that Dr. McKee has a sterling medical record and an outstanding history of treating patients, and I thought, well, he hires you to publish – – to polish his reputation, apparently. And I read one last comment that said, “Please be mindful that my client has the means and motivation to pursue all available recourse against you as to this matter.” I interpreted that as meaning, “I will squash you like a bug,” so I became annoyed and I concluded that if he wants to sue me, then not let it be a hip pocket lawsuit. Let’s put it out in the public where a judge can see it, and if you want to sue somebody and you’re so right, then you should have the courage of your convictions, and if a newspaper reporter calls you and asks you about it, you should be able to say, “Yes, I’m suing him because my cause is right, and this is what’s wrong, and this is why I’m offended.”

TANICK: Okay. If I understand you correctly, what you’re saying is when you first wrote me the letter on May 8th, you were inclined not to do anything about this and let it rest. Right?

LAURION:  Not to do anything about him specifically.

TANICK: And then you re-read the letter and you got angry. Right?

LAURION:  I was angry when I read it the first time, but yes.

TANICK: All right. You got more angry when you read it the second time. Right?

LAURION:  Yes.

TANICK: And that worked you  – – and you worked up in – – you worked yourself into a situation where you decided, “I’m really upset about this letter”?

LAURION:  I would not describe it in that fashion.

TANICK: All right. Well, you describe it in – –

LAURION:  I came to the conclusion that if you’re threatening to sue me, and if you follow through on it, there should be some publicity. If you don’t follow through on it, there won’t be any publicity.

TANICK: Okay. You heard back, then, from Georgia Swing, the editor from – – the city editor from the Duluth newspaper; she tells you Stodghill is on vacation and she – – she tells you if the doctor takes action against you, it would be newsworthy. “Please keep us informed.” Right?

LAURION:  Yes.

TANICK: Did you have any communications with her or Mr. Stodghill or anyone associated with  the – – the newspaper between that time and the time the suit was commenced – – the time the suit was served on you, which I guess is when it was commenced, which was about May 21st  or so, about ten days later?

LAURION:  I had two telephone calls from Mark Stodghill. One was while the lawsuit was still a hip pocket lawsuit. He asked me if anything was happening, and I said, “I can’t bring you up to date on the status. I can’t answer your question at this time.” Once the suit became public, once I knew it was filed, he contacted me again before possibly – – I assume he hadn’t seen the record yet, but he called again and said, “Can you bring me up to date now?” I said, “I can tell you that I have an attorney and I can ask him if it’s okay to give you his name.” I called Mr. Kelly and asked if it was okay to give him his name, and he said it was. I called Mr. Stodghill back and I said, “My attorney is Mr. Kelly.”

TANICK: Did you ever talk to Mr. Stodghill about the case?

LAURION:  You mean what happened?

TANICK: Yeah.

LAURION:  No. Anything he printed was simply from your Complaint and our response.

TANICK: It was kind of a lengthy answer. Okay. I just want to make sure I understand what you’re saying. Stodghill called you back sometime – – when he got back from vacation, probably. Right?

LAURION:  Yes.

TANICK: And said “Hey, what’s going on,” or “We’re interested in this,” or something to that effect?

LAURION:  Yes.

TANICK: And by that time, you had been served?

LAURION:  I had.

TANICK: But it hadn’t been filed?

LAURION:  Yes.

TANICK: How do you know it hadn’t been filed?

LAURION:  Because he (indicating) hadn’t told me that he had filed it.

TANICK: Who is “he”? You’re pointing to Mr. Kelly?

LAURION:  Oh, yes. I’m sorry.

TANICK: All right. Well, at least you didn’t – – you were not aware of whether it had been filed or not, but you hadn’t been told it had been filed?

LAURION:  No, I believe I knew that it wasn’t filed yet because I had asked him about filing our response, and he had not yet committed that he was going to do that.

KELLY:  You know, that’s about enough of our conversations.

TANICK: Yeah, I don’t – –

KELLY:  We’re not going to – –

TANICK: I’m not inquiring – –

KELLY:  – – get into any more of that.

TANICK: – – into your conversation. You’ve already told me what you want to tell me about that. But then Stodghill – – so then Stodghill, you said called you back shortly thereafter?

LAURION:  Yes.

TANICK: Do you remember approximately how long it was?

LAURION:  It might have been the day before it was filed or the day after it was filed.

TANICK: All right. And did you tell him it had been filed?

LAURION:  No, I told him what I told you. I said – –

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION:  – – “I can tell you I have an attorney.”

TANICK: Did he know that it had been filed?

LAURION:  Not at that point, no.

TANICK: How did he find out it had been filed?

LAURION:  That’s his job. He goes to the courthouse every day and looks at whatever has been filed.

TANICK: So your second conversation with Stodghill was before it was filed, apparently?

LAURION:  I don’t know that for sure.

TANICK: All right.

LAURION:  Because there was a period of time where it was taken to the courthouse and then it appeared on the record.

TANICK: All right. Well, my question – – I guess what I’m trying to find out here, if you know, is did Stodghill know that it had been filed when he called you the second time. I’m not asking you to read his mind, but did he indicate to you, “Oh, yeah, I see it’s been filed”?

LAURION:  I would have to infer that he did not, because he called me and asked me what is the status.

TANICK: It was at that point – –

LAURION:  That suggests that, so far as he knows, I’ve written and said that I might get sued and now he wants to know did you.

TANICK: Okay. So you had two conversations with him?

LAURION:  He called at one point to ask me if I had any status, and I told him I could not give him any status at that point. He called subsequently to say, “Now?” And I said, “At this point, I can tell you I have consulted an attorney. I’ll give you his name if he gives me permission to do so.”

TANICK: All right. So then, as far as you know, contacted Mr. Kelly, but he didn’t call you back again?

LAURION:  No, he didn’t call me back.

TANICK: All right. Have you had any discussion with Mr. Stodghill at all – –

LAURION:  None.

TANICK: – – since then?

LAURION:  No.

TANICK: Have you run into him in the city or community?

LAURION:  I wouldn’t know the man if I saw him.

TANICK: Do you know where he lives?

LAURION:  No.

TANICK: Okay. Maybe we should take a break. Let me just check something for a second, okay?

All right. This is – – oh. Let me – – just a couple more questions. Then we’ll break for the day. Did you have occasion to communicate – – or strike that. Did you get any response from people after the – – from anybody? Did you get any communications from people after the newspaper article was written – – was published?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. Tell me about the communications that you received. I’m asking for incoming communications.

LAURION: Some people wrote me a letter and said that they had seen Dr. McKee before, and they hoped that I prevailed, because their impression was the same as mine. I forwarded those letters to Mr. Kelly. One lady – – two people phoned me at home, had a story to tell me. I didn’t give them my response. I simply listened to their declaration, and then I asked them if I could give their phone number to my attorney, and I passed that information to Mr. LaCoursiere.

TANICK: And who are they?

LAURION: Who are they? Who?

TANICK: What – – you said there were two women.

LAURION: I don’t have idea. I sent it to my lawyer.

TANICK: You gave them the name – – you gave him the name and phone numbers of two women who called you who reported unfavorable encounters with Dr. McKee.

LAURION: Two people. One was a man. One was a woman. I forwarded those contacts here. I did not record them. I don’t know the people’s name or phone number suqsequently.

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: And I didn’t keep copies of the letters that were sent to me. I forwarded them here.

TANICK: All right. How many letters?

LAURION: I think two.

TANICK: Were they from the same people? The same people who called you?

LAURION: You mean did the – – were the callers the same as the people who – –

TANICK: Yeah.

LAURION: – – wrote.

TANICK: Right.

LAURION: No, it was four separate people.

TANICK: All right. And were the letters favorable or unfavorable to Dr. McKee?

LAURION:  I didn’t get any letters that were favorable of Dr. McKee, no.

TANICK: Did you get any other kind of communi – – did you receive any other kind of communications, electronically or otherwise, about Dr. McKee and you and your father and the situation after the article was published?

LAURION: Yes, but it was all very noncommittal.

TANICK: What do you mean by that?

LAURION: I mean that people said, “I read your article in the news” – – I read the article about you in the newspaper,” and they didn’t say one way or the other.

TANICK: Were these people you knew? Friends? Relatives? Or are these people calling you out of the blue?

LAURION: No. When I took my father to – – when I took my mother to St. Mary’s for an episode, the emergency room doctor who was admitting my mother said, “Are you the Laurion family in the newspaper,” and I said yes. And he said, “Then I understand why you brought your mother here instead of to St. Luke’s.

TANICK: Who was that?

LAURION: I don’t know what his name was.

TANICK: A doctor?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: The admitting doctor at where?

LAURION: He simply meant that he had read the article.

TANICK: Where was he – – the admitting doctor at where?

LAURION: The emergency room doctor at St. Mary’s told me that he had read the article. He didn’t say, “I hope you win.: He didn’t make any comment about Dr. McKee. He simply acknowledged that he read the article.

TANICK: Any other communications you received from anybody after the article published?

LAURION: I think pretty much everybody who treated my mother at St. Mary’s said, “I read the newspaper article about you.”

TANICK: did they say anything else to that effect? Did they say, “You’re right”? “You’re wrong”?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: All right. Anybody else?

LAURION: I have had communications with my brothers and sister about the status of the case.

TANICK: Anybody else commenting about, “Oh, I saw that in the newspaper”?

LAURION: Oh, I’m sorry.

TANICK: That’s what I’m talking about.

LAURION: I think my wife’s beautician may mentioned that he saw an article when she went to get a haircut.

TANICK: Anybody else?

LAURION: I don’t believe so.

TANICK: Did you ever hear from that nurse friend who you ran into at the Post Office?

LAURION: No. No feedback.

TANICK: You’ve discussed this matter, I think you said – – in your interrogatory answers, you said you discussed this case with your sister Patricia. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: What have you discussed with her?

LAURION: I told her that I’m being sued. Told her the steps of the suit, when it was filed, what discovery was asked for.

TANICK: Did you tell her about the underlying incident with Dr. McKee on April 19th?

LAURION: I don’t recall. My parents may have.

TANICK: Well, I’m asking if you – – you don’t remember talking to her about what happened?

LAURION: I don’t know.

TANICK: You don’t know or you don’t recall?

LAURION: By the time I talked to her, I was already sued.

TANICK: Well, my question is, do you remember talking to your sister about what happened at the hospital with Dr. McKee and your father?

LAURION: I don’t know. At that point, it was alread published and she could see for herself what I had alleged.

TANICK: How about your uncle, Duane Geisler, G-e-i-s-l-e-r?

LAURION: Duane Geisler is not my uncle.

TANICK: I’m sorry. Well, who is he?

LAURION: He’s a man who called and said that he had a similar experience.

TANICK: Oh, I see.

LAURION: He’s one of the phone calls that I passed – –

TANICK: Okay, well that’s – –

LAURION: – – to Mr. Kelly.

TANICK: – – my mistake. I’m sorry. That’s my mistake, referring to him as your uncle. He was a prior patient, apparently, of Mr. – – or Dr. McKee. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: That’s one of the names. Do you remember the other name?

LAURION: No, I don’t. I only remember that one because you referred it to me.

TANICK: All right. And did you discuss your situation with him?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Did he talk to you about what his experience was?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: What did he tell you?

LAURION: He said that he had an unfavorable examination with Dr. McKee and that he would be willing to discuss it, and I said can I give his name to your – – to my lawyer.

TANICK: Did he give you any specifics with you about what happened that was unfavorable?

LAURION: I think he mentioned an unwillingness to receive questions.

TANICK: Anything else?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Didn’t you – – and you didn’t tell him what your experience was?

LAURION: No. I had to tell you about my discussions at that point.

TANICK: Pardon?

LAURION: I was under discovery. I wasn’t going to have to call you every time I told you something about it. The easiest way was not to tell anyone.

TANICK: Has Mark Stodghill gotten back to you at all – –

LAURION: No, never.

TANICK: – – since your earlier discussion with him? All right. This is probably a good spot to stop for the evening, so why don’t we adjourn for the evening and resume at 9:00 o’clock. I’m hopeful that we can finish by 10:00. We probably can. I don’t know if you want to keep Mrs. Laurion on call or whatever.

KELLY: No, we’re going to run this like a very well-oiled train. As soon as you’re done with him, on to Bonnie.

TANICK: That’s fine. Have her here. Okay. Should we say 9:00 tomorrow? Is that okay with you?

KELLY: 9:00 is fine, yeah.

TANICK: Okay. 9:00 tomorrow.

(Discussion off the record.)

(Whereupon the deposition of Dennis K. Laurion was adjourned at approximately 5:27 o’clock p.m. on January 6, 2011, and was continued at 9:17 a. m. January 7, 2011, as follows.)

TANICK: Good morning, Mr. Laurion.  We’re continuing your deposition this morning. I want to ask you, first of all, is there anything that, overnight, you thought about that you want to add to or delete or modify or change anything that you testified to yesterday in your deposition?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Have you spoken to anyone about yesterday’s deposition other than your attorneys?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Did you talk to your wife about it?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: What did you tell her?

LAURION: I told her my recollection of what the questions were.

TANICK: Did you tell her what your answers were?

LAURION: Some of them, I’m sure I did.

TANICK: Did you talk to her about reconciling any recollection that she has that might be different from yours?

LAURION: No, I spent more time discussing how long it took and how many times each question was asked.

TANICK: Did she say anything to you about the deposition?

LAURION: I got home, and she asked me how it went, and I gave her the response that I just told you about.

TANICK: Do you speak to anyone else?

LAURION: I went to my mother and father’s house and gave them the same feedback about how long it took and how many times the questions were asked.

TANICK: Did you think the questions were asked too [ many ] times?

LAURION: I think that you’ve asked me the same question several times. I think that you’ve asked me several times if I wrote something that I had already written and told you that I wrote.

TANICK: Is that irritating?

LAURION: No, it’s an observation.

TANICK: All right. Did you talk to your parents about what happened in the ward room on April 20th yesterday?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Last night?

LAURION: We did not revisit that topic.

TANICK: Did you talk to them at all about any events that happened after your father was released from the hospital or discharged from the hospital in terms of his contact with Dr. McKee’s office or staff for scheduling purposes?

LAURION: No. We were there very briefly, and they go to bed early.

TANICK: Did you talk to either one of – – either your wife or your parents about who this nurse might be that you ran into at the Lakeside Post Office?

LAURION: No, I did not.

(Whereupon Deposition Exhibit 13 was marked for identification.)

REPORTER: Exhibit 13.

TANICK: Exhibit 13, Mr. Laurion, and show it to your Counsel, too, is a – – is that not the InsiderPages Web post – – Web site posting you made on or about April 22nd concerning Dr. McKee and the incident with your father?

KELLY: Do you have another copy of it?

TANICK: Yeah, I – – I’ll give you that. I don’t have a separate copy right now, but – –

LAURION: This is my vocabulary. I have no idea what it’s printed on.

TANICK: The bottom of it indicates it was InsiderPages, taken off of InsiderPages.

LAURION: well, that’s fine, but there’s none of the formatting that was on the page.

TANICK: Well, you – – and – – and that’s the same content that’s reflected in Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 2 and Exhibit 3 that you testified to yesterday. Right?

LAURION: And I made the same response to those.

TANICK: Right.

LAURION: To me, this is a paragraph in a vacuum, with a whole bunch of little black dots and squares and – –

TANICK: But it’s your paragraph?

LAURION: It is.

TANICK: That’s what you wrote and posted. Right?

LAURION: Well, it’s my paragraph, but – –

TANICK: Yeah.

LAURION: I certainly hope you wouldn’t hand me fourteen of these exhibits and expect that I was going to say that every one of them was a different Web site. This is my words. It is not in the broader context.

TANICK: All right. Tell me what the broader context was.

LAURION: Well, I don’t know because I don’t have that page in front of me any longer.

TANICK: What do you recollect the broader context was?

LAURION: Well, there would be things about what the site was. There would be some banner ads up here about something they’re trying to sell. There would be a reference telling you what the rules are and do you see your doctor below and do you want to post, and click here to add remarks. So I’m acknowledging that these are words I’ve written. I’m also indicating I don’t recognize the format on which they’re being shown to me.

TANICK: Okay. Thank you. I – – I – – I – – I think I asked you about this yesterday, but I – – I don’t quite remember your answer, and I want to make sure it’s clear. The last entry you – – the last sentence in the  – – in your Web site posting refers to your running into this – – it refers to a nurse – – a friend who was a nurse, and you ascribed to her the phrase, quote, “Dr. McKee is a real tool.” We talked about that yesterday. Right?

LAURION: Yes we did.

TANICK: And I think I asked you what you understood that term to mean. Right?

LAURION: And I said I assumed it was a pejorative.

TANICK: Did you also say you thought it may relate to his being used by somebody in some way?

LAURION: No, I didn’t say that at all.

KELLY: Whatever he said is of record.

TANICK: I understand.

KELLY: And it was testified to.

TANICK: That’s – –

KELLY: It’s been asked and it’s been answered – –

TANICK: All right. Thank you – –

KELLY: – – repeatedly.

TANICK: Mr. Kelly, thank you for reminding me about that. Is there – – if you – – you didn’t know what that term meant, but you thought it was a pejorative. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Why did you use a term in your postings that you didn’t know what it – – what it meant?

LAURION: I don’t know. I was simply stating what happened. I now feel that perhaps I shouldn’t have quoted somebody if I couldn’t go back and present her. But at the time, I simply repeated it.

TANICK: I’m sorry. When you – – you said, “when I couldn’t present her.” What do you mean by that?

LAURION: Well, what I mean is I’m quoting somebody who hasn’t really felt that she was on the record and wasn’t having a conversation to be quoted. My article perhaps should have stopped without that sentence.

TANICK: Why do you say that?

LAURION: I think I just explained why.

TANICK: Did you ever try to contact that woman and ask her if it was okay to use her quote?

LAURION: I wouldn’t have known how to do that.

TANICK: So you didn’t try?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Did you ever look up in any source material, dictionary, Wikipedia, slang dictionary, or any other kind of treatise or text what the term “real tool” might mean or what it might refer to.

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Have you ever discussed that term with anybody else since it supposedly was made to you at the library?

LAURION: I wasn’t at the library. I was at the Post Office.

TANICK: I’m sorry. I misspoke. You’re right. It was the Post Office. Thank you. Thank you for correcting me.

LAURION: No, I haven’t.

TANICK: I asked you yesterday about who this friend nurse was, and you gave me the best description you had of her. Is there anything else you can add to what you told us yesterday in terms of what who she was  or what she looked like or anything that might help identify and/or locate her?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: I don’t think I asked you how long did – – how long did she work there during your time period? I think you – – I think you said you worked there from 2000 to 2007. Was she there during that whole time period, if you remember?

LAURION: I don’t know. And the last one, one and a half, two years, they stopped doing that at all. They just starting mailing me that stuff, because they were bringing me material today that I wasn’t assembling until four or five days later.

TANICK: So this woman is someone whom you interacted with at St. Mary’s sometime through about 2005 or 2006, roughly. Right? You didn’t see her or deal with her in the last year, year and a half you were there. Is that right?

LAURION: I’m not sure of the exact time frame. I just know that at some point they stopped bringing me the material because it was just as efficient to throw it in a big envelope and mail it.

TANICK: Would you be able to recognize the woman if you saw her again?

LAURION: You mean in a lineup?

TANICK: Well, if you saw her anyplace. If she happened to be sitting out in the reception room here at this law firm, or if you saw her at the Post Office, or if you saw her in a grocery store?

LAURION: I think I would.

TANICK: All right. And would you be able, then, to recognize her face if you were shown a picture of her?

LAURION: Yes, perhaps.

TANICK: Do you think you’d remember her name if someone mentioned the name?

LAURION: No. As I told you yesterday, there was [ a ] corral in front of my desk. I saw these ladies’ heads and shoulders. I didn’t see their name tag.

TANICK: So when she approached you at the Post Office, she didn’t – – you didn’t say, “Oh, hi,” whatever her name was or anything like that? You never knew her name?

LAURION: No.

KELLY: This has been gone into at quite some length. Asked and answered.

TANICK: I’m just going to try to jog your memory and see if this helps, Mr. Laurion. I’m going to mention a few names and see if any of these people might jog your memory in terms of who the person is.

LAURION: Unless they worked in medical records, the names aren’t going to mean anything to me.

TANICK: Well, she worked in outpatient surgery?

LAURION: I don’t know that she worked in outpatient surgery. She worked in some outpatient facility.

TANICK: Oh, I’m sorry. I misunderstood. I thought you said outpatient surgery. Maybe I misunderstood you.

LAURION: No, I told you yesterday that there were perhaps as many as six or eight different departments.

TANICK: All right.

LAURION: She could have been in outpatient surgery. She could have been in outpatient endoscopy. She could have been from imaging, although I’m not sure – –

TANICK: Okay. Well – –

LAURION: – – because those people generally wouldn’t have been a nurse.

TANICK: All right. So you – – so you weren’t able yesterday, I take it, then, to identify what particular department she worked in?

LAURION: No, I thought I made that clear.

TANICK: Well, you may have, but I didn’t – – I misunderstood you, so it wasn’t clear to me. Do you know someone who worked at the hospital there when you did named Dana Cope, C-o-p-e? Does that ring a bell?

LAURION:  I don’t recognize the name, no.

TANICK: How about a Katie Bergstrom?

LAURION: No, I don’t recognize that name either.

TANICK: How about a Margaret Rich?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Katie – – Christy Severson?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Karen Gilquist?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: When you filed your – – as I understand from our testimony yesterday, the documents you wrote to the Minnesota Board of Medicine on or about – – I think it was April 22nd. That was in your first surge of correspondence. Okay.

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. And then they got back to you and said you have to fill out our form, and they sent you a form to fill out and that kind of moved the process forward. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. You can take a look at the exhibits there. Exhibit 10 – – I’m sorry, Exhibit 9; would you take a look at that, please, Mr. Laurion. Just – – Carol, would you just make a note I want to make sure that John gets a copy of Exhibit 12 – – no, 13, the one we used this morning. That was our first one this morning. I didn’t have a copy for him. Exhibit 9, Mr. Laurion, is what we were talking about just right, I think, at the end of your testimony yesterday – – well, not the end but right near. Late in the testimony. Exhibit 9 is the complaint form that you filled out and sent back to the board, the medical board. Right?

LAURION: Excuse me. Yes.

TANICK: And that – – you dated it May 14th. Do you remember when you sent it to them?

LAURION: I had this notarized at the bank. I’m sure I dropped it off at the Post Office the same day.

TANICK: And then Exhibit 10 is a copy – – it’s not signed – – of a letter you sent to the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice on May 22nd. This apparently was sent the day after you received the lawsuit papers in this case. Right?

LAURION: Well, I read here that I was served on May 21st.

TANICK: Mm-hmm.

LAURION: And – –

TANICK: You sent this the next day, May 22nd?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: Okay. Do you know, is it your view or belief that Mr. – – that Dr. McKee commenced this litigation against you after he was notified that you had been – – that you had filed a complaint with the medical – – medical board, or don’t you know?

LAURION: I had a time line that’s not in front of me , but I received the – – your threat letter after – – within a few days of his being given a copy. And your – – what was the question again? I’m sorry.

TANICK: Sure. I asked you if you have a view or a belief as to whether this – – whether Dr. McKee was aware that you had filed a complaint with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice before the lawsuit was commenced, if you know?

LAURION: My impression is – – and without recollecting exact dates, my impression is that I received a receipt notice from the Board, and it was subsequent to that that I received the Summons and Complaint.

TANICK: Well, that – – that addresses the issue of when the board received it, but do you have any idea when Dr. McKee received the – – received anything from the medical board relative to your complaint, if you know?

LAURION: I don’t know when he received it. I know that I received their receipt that said it had also been sent to him, and I received that a few days prior to receiving the Summons.

TANICK: And do you have that receipt?

LAURION: I have – – I have it at home, yes.

TANICK: All right. May I ask you to furnish it to your counsel? And I would ask Mr. Kelly to furnish to us the receipt.

(REPORTER’S NOTE: Request for production.)

TANICK: Is it a – – excuse me. Is it like a mailing receipt or a stamped receipt or what? What do you mean by “receipt”?

LAURION: It was an acknowledgment form that they had received my complaint.

TANICK: Was it a letter. Was it – –

KELLY: Why don’t we just do it this way. We’ll produce it.

TANICK: Do you know what – – do you know – – do you know that you indeed have it? You’ll be able to find it?

LAURION: I believe so.

TANICK: All right. Produce it for us please. Mr. Laurion, in your Answer to the lawsuit – – and I – – we’ll make a separate copy, but I’ll – – I just want to ask you about a couple things you say in your Answer to the lawsuit. I’ll – – I’ll show you.

KELLY: Hang on.

TANICK: Do you have a copy of it, John?

KELLY: No, I don’t. Just hang on. I’ll be back.

(Brief recess from approximately 9:33 a.m. to approximately 9:35 a.m.)

KELLY: Okay. Sorry.

TANICK: That’s all right. We’ll get to that in a second. There’s one other thing I want to ask you about, Mr. Laurion. In your complaint to the medical board – – that’s Exhibit 9. I think you have that in front of you. That’s the – – it’s called “Statement of Complaint.” Yeah, you have it there.

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: The form you filled out. [ Comment is absent from this display because it discusses an assertion never made in public. ] That’s what you said. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And you didn’t state that in your Web site posting, did you?

LAURION: We discussed this yesterday. [ Comment is absent from this display because it discusses an assertion never made in public. ]

TANICK: You say you weren’t aware of it at the time you did the Web posting?

LAURION: No, I had not discussed it with my – –

TANICK: And you – – excuse me. Finish up. I’m sorry. I interrupted you.

LAURION: I was finished.

TANICK: You said, “I didn’t discuss it with,” and I interrupted you.

LAURION: Oh, I may have simply been repeating that I hadn’t discussed it with my wife until later.

TANICK: And you didn’t see it actually? You never saw that?

LAURION:  [ Comment is absent from this display because it discusses an assertion never made in public. ]

TANICK: [ Comment is absent from this display because it discusses an assertion never made in public. ]

LAURION: [ Comment is absent from this display because it discusses an assertion never made in public. ]

TANICK: All right.

LAURION: [ Comment is absent from this display because it discusses an assertion never made in public. ]

TANICK: [ Comment is absent from this display because it discusses an assertion never made in public. ]

LAURION: Yes, I do.

TANICK: Would you take a look at the Answer? Perhaps, well, maybe Mr. Kelly will show you a copy. Just a minute, please.

KELLY: Is it an Exhibit?

TANICK: No, it’s not an Exhibit. I’m not going to use it as an Exhibit.

KELLY: Well, let’s see.

TANICK: I have a couple questions I want to ask you about your Answer to the lawsuit.

LAURION: You’re asking questions from the formal document referred to as – –

TANICK: The Answer – –

LAURION: – – the Answer?

TANICK: – – of Defendant Dennis K. Laurion, right. Just a second here.

KELLY: (Handing.)

TANICK: In your Answer, Mr. Laurion – – in the Answer – – I know that was prepared by your lawyer on your behalf, but did you read it before it was filed or furnished to us?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: All right. Is there anything in there that you thought you disagreed with? I know it’s a lot of legal jargon, but I’m just wondering if you disagreed with anything that was set forth in the Answer that was filed on your behalf.

KELLY: Well, it – – oh, go ahead.

LAURION: (Reviewing document.) I don’t believe so.

TANICK: Okay. Can you take a look at Paragraph 14.

LAURION: (Reviewing document.)

TANICK: I’m sorry. 13. Excuse me. It asserts that any – – any statements that you made regarding your father’s treatment at St. Luke’s Hospital are immune from civil liability under Minnesota Statute 147.121. Do you know what that refers to?

LAURION: Yes, I know what it refers to. It refers to – –

KELLY: You needn’t answer that question because it asks for – – it is an assertion of a legal defense, and the question calls for a legal opinion, and you needn’t go into that.

TANICK: I didn’t ask him for a legal opinion.

KELLY: I have instructed him not to ask – – answer your question.

(REPORTER’S NOTE: Instruction not to answer.)

TANICK: All right.

KELLY: Bring it up with the Court.

TANICK: All right.

KELLY: It’s an improper question. You know it. So let’s go on.

TANICK: I disagree with you, Mr. Kelly.

KELLY: Well, then you can bring it up with the Court.

TANICK: You stated your position and I’ve stated mine. Take a look at Paragraph 14, please. In that paragraph, you allege – – you state that any statements you made about your Mr. – – Dr. McKee’s treatment of your father are immune from liability under Minnesota Statute 554.03. Let me ask you this. Do you know what the statute is, what statute you’re referring to?

KELLY: You can answer that question. Do you know what that statute is?

LAURION: Not at this time, no.

TANICK: All right. Do you know of any facts that would support the assertion that – – that your claims are subject to – – that the claims are subject to immunity?

KELLY: The objection is the same. The instruction is the same. He won’t answer that question.

(REPORTER’s NOTE: Instruction not to answer.)

TANICK: I understand. I want to make it very clear that I’m asking for a factual basis  for your assertion of immunity under the Minnesota Statute – – Statute 54 – – 554.03. That’s my question. You can make your objection, Mr. Kelly.

KELLY: I will. My objection is based on this. You’ve already established that he doesn’t know what the Statute is, so to ask him a question about the factual basis  for whether  or not the statutory  requirements are met doesn’t get you anywhere.

TANICK: All right. When you did your posting on the three – – or the two Web sites that you say you posted, InsiderPages and Vitals.com. Right?

LAURION: Okay.

TANICK: Those were not communications you made to any government entity, were they?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: And you weren’t trying to influence any kind of government action by these postings, were you?

LAURION: It’s possible that somebody reading it might have written to their Congressman or their state legislator.

TANICK: Well, anything’s possible. Was that your intent when you put it there?

LAURION: I don’t know. It was within the realm what could happen, and that I felt at the time.

TANICK: Was that – – was that your purpose by putting it on those Web sites, to influence governmental decision-making?

LAURION: Not in entirety, no.

TANICK: And those were, indeed, published in the world at large, weren’t they?

LAURION: Well, we agreed to that yesterday.

TANICK: Let me ask you about Paragraph 4, your answers on the first page of your Answer. I’ll let you read it for a minute.

LAURION: (Reviewing document.)

TANICK: Do you agree with what’s set forth in Paragraph 4, that what you stated – – the materials that you submitted to various entities, including the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, constituted, quote, “a factual recitation of what you observed and heard” concerning Dr. McKee’s conduct when he was examining your father?

LAURION: I think that they constitute the exactness of what I saw.

TANICK: So you don’t have any  – – you don’t disagree with how that’s phrased?

KELLY: Well, we’ve already gone into that. He’s already said yes, so we can repeat that ad nauseum, but he’s testified to that.

TANICK: Did you participate or assist your wife in submitting a complaint to the medical board regarding Dr. McKee?

LAURION: [Comment is absent from this display because it discusses actions of a person who was not a party to this suit.]

TANICK: [Comment is absent from this display because it discusses actions of a person who was not a party to this suit.]

LAURION: [Comment is absent from this display because it discusses actions of a person who was not a party to this suit.]

TANICK: Okay. Would you mark that as 14?

(Whereupon, Deposition Exhibit 14 was marked for identification.)

REPORTER: Exhibit 14.

TANICK: Mr. Laurion, a few moments ago you mentioned – – you brought up a receipt you received from the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, and you say you thought you had it at home, and Mr. Kelly said he’d produce it. In looking through my papers here, after I asked you that, I see this document, which I take it – – I presume that’s the document you’re referring to?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: You called it a receipt, so that kind of confused me, but it’s a letter you received from them, from the board. Right?

LAURION: It says, “This will acknowledge we received your complaint.”

TANICK: Right.

LAURION: That’s a receipt to me.

TANICK: All right. I’ll – – I’ll accept your word. You call it a receipt. So I do have that. You don’t have to produce it. You already produced it, and Mr. Kelly doesn’t have to furnish it to us. I do have that document. As I said, I was a little confused when you used the word “receipt,” I see it as a letter, but I’m not going to quarrel with you about semantics.

(REPORTER’S NOTE: Withdrawal of request for production.)

TANICK: My question is, that’s the document you received from the board indicating that they received your complaint. It’s dated May 20th. Right?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And I take it you probably would have received that sometime May 21st or 22nd or somewhere right around that area?

LAURION: I’m not sure.

TANICK: Okay.

LAURION: It was timely.

TANICK: Do you know when – – whether doctor – – well, strike that. That’s okay. Exhibit 7. Would you take a look at Exhibit 5, please? That’s a document that I believe you testified yesterday reflects a posting of the newspaper article that appeared in the Duluth News Tribune about this lawsuit, and it’s posted on DoctorScoreCard. Correct?

LAURION: Yes.

TANICK: And you were the one that posted that?

LAURION: I am.

KELLY: Asked and answered.

TANICK: Why did you use the word “anonymous”?

LAURION: Because I didn’t open an account with them, and I’m not even sure I used the word “anonymous” or if I just filled in the block and then it registered as “anonymous” or posted as “anonymous”. Some of those forms simply have a block where you can either put in your name and a comment – –

TANICK: The – –

LAURION: – – or you can just put in a comment.

TANICK: This is dated – – apparently the posting was done on September 2nd, 2010. At least that’s what the date suggests – – or that doesn’t suggest it. It says that. Right?

LAURION: I don’t know where you’re picking that up from.

TANICK: It’s on the bottom of the second page. It says, “Overall score given by anonymous on 09/02/10.”

LAURION: That’s cut off of the Exhibit.

TANICK: You don’t have that on yours?

LAURION: The date is. Whatever it says on the bottom is truncated.

TANICK: Let me see that for a minute. I was referring to that part there (indicating) where it says, “Edit”.

LAURION: Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you were – – what was your question?

TANICK: My question is, do you recall posting this on or about September 2nd, 2010?

LAURION: I don’t recall what the date was, but I recall posting it.

TANICK: All right. Well, was there something that caused you to post this on or about that date?

KELLY: We went into this yesterday. It’s been asked and answered.

TANICK: I don’t remember that.

KELLY: Well – –

TANICK: But if you could just answer it for me, I’d appreciate it.

LAURION: As I became aware of sites that were either discussing doctors or the concept of doctors suing people, I posted the article. And I didn’t find those sites on the same day, and consequently I didn’t post them on the same day.

TANICK: You mentioned a few moments ago, in response to one of my questions, Mr. Laurion, that you had some type of – – you had some type of time line. Do you remember saying that a few minutes ago? You said “time line”?

LAURION: I think the form that I sent to the – – I was referring to the letter that I sent to the Minnesota board.

TANICK: You’re referring to the letter of May 20th, which kind of lays out when certain events happened? Is that what you’re referring to as “time line”? May – –

LAURION: May 20th – –

TANICK: – – 22nd?

LAURION: – – was my receipt.

TANICK: Well, I’m talking – – on May 22nd, is that what you referred to as a time line? I think that’s Exhibit 10.

LAURION: Yes, that’s what I was referring to as a time line.

TANICK: Have you prepared any other kind of document that lays out a chronology in any way of events other than what we’ve already seen?

LAURION: No.

TANICK: Can we break for a minute, and I’ll see if we’re done. I think we are, but I just want to check my notes.

KELLY: Okay.

(Brief recess from approximately 9:53 a.m. until approximately 10:03 a. m.)

TANICK: All right. We took a short break, Mr. Laurion, and I want to ask you, before we conclude, if there’s anything you want to add to or delete from or modify or change in your testimony heretofore.

LAURION: No.

TANICK: All right. Well, I don’t have any more questions for you.

KELLY: Okay. We’ll play hopscotch, and you come on down the line here and grab one of those chairs.

(Discussion off the record.)

REPORTER: Reading and signing?

KELLY: We’ll read and sign, yeah.

(Whereupon, the deposition of Dennis K. Laurion was concluded at approximately 10:30 o’clock a. m.

Dennis Laurion Deposition Signature Page Front

LARGER COPY

Dennis Laurion Deposition Signature Page Reverse

LARGER COPY

DEPOSITION OF BONNIE LAURION

DEPOSITION OF DR. DAVID MCKEE

 

 

 

Deposition of David C. McKee, MD, January 7, 2011

The following text is copied from Exhibit AA-156 of David McKee, MD, V. Dennis K. Laurion.

State of Minnesota District Court

Sixth Judicial District

File # 69DU-CV-10-1706

David McKee, MD, Plaintiff, vs. Dennis K. Laurion, Defendant

Deposition of David C. McKee, MD, January 7, 2011

Carol Danielson Bille, RPR, Danielson Court Reporting, LLC The following is the deposition of David C. McKee, MD, taken before Carol Danielson Bille, RPR, Notary Public, pursuant to Notice of Taking Deposition, at the law offices of Hanft Fride, PA, 1000 U. S. Bank Place, 130 West Superior Street, Duluth, Minnesota, commencing at approximately 11:43 a.m., January 7, 2011.

Appearances

For the Plaintiff:

Marshall H. Tanick, Esq., Mansfield, Tanick, and Cohen, P. A.

1700 U. S. Bank Plaza South, 220 South Sixth Street

Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55402-4511

612-339-4295

For the Defendant:

John D. Kelly, Esq.

Nathan N. LaCoursiere, Esq.

Hanft Fride, PA,

1000 U. S. Bank Place, 130 West Superior Street,

Duluth, Minnesota, 55802

218-722-4766

Proceedings

Mr. KELLY: Doctor, would you state your full name for me, please?

Dr.MCKEE: David Charles McKee.

Mr. KELLY: And, Doctor, where do you live?

Dr. MCKEE: In Duluth.

Mr. KELLY: And where do you practice medicine?

Dr. MCKEE: At multiple locations. Mostly in Duluth, but I do outreach in Virginia, Cloquet, Hibbing, and Grand Rapids.

MR. KELLY: For the record, what is the name of the firm or clinic under which you practice?

Dr. MCKEE: Northland Neurology & Myology.

MR. KELLY: And do you have a partner in that practice?

Dr. MCKEE: There’s another physician in the practice. We’re – – we’re partners in every sense except from a business standpoint.

MR. KELLY: All right. Who is that?

Dr. MCKEE: Edward Crisostomo.

MR. KELLY: How long have the two of you been practicing together under that clinic name?

Dr. MCKEE: A little over fifteen years.

MR. KELLY: You’re a neurologist by specialty, are you not?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

MR. KELLY: When did you graduate from medical school?

Dr. MCKEE: 1987.

MR. KELLY: And as I recall, it was from the University of Wisconsin?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

MR. KELLY: And where did you do your residency?

Dr. MCKEE: Portland, Oregon.

MR.KELLY: Portland. And in what year did you finish your residency?

Dr. MCKEE: I finished my residency in 1991, but then I did a fellowship at McGill University – –

MR. KELLY: In Montreal?

Dr. MCKEE: – – the following year. In Montreal.

MR. KELLY: And what was the fellowship in?

Dr. MCKEE: Neuromuscular diseases and muscle disorders.

MR. KELLY: When were you eligible to sit for your boards?

Dr. MCKEE: The neurology boards?

MR. KELLY: Yes, sir.

Dr. MCKEE: In – – the neurology boards are done in two parts, and you – – the – – it’s a little bit complicated, but the soonest you can become eligible to take the first part, which is a written exam, is six months after you’ve finished your residency. At least that’s in most cases. So, in my case, that would have been very late 1991 or, you know, probably early in ’92.

MR. KELLY: Did you sit for those exams then or wait until you were finished with your fellowship?

Dr. MCKEE: No, I took it then.

MR. KELLY: And the second phase is what? An oral exam?

Dr. MCKEE: If you pass the first phase, then you can take the oral exam, and you can’t take that immediately either. I don’t remember exactly how long you’re required to wait, but it’s – – it’s a matter of a few months.

MR. KELLY: And you are Board-certified, are you, Doctor?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

MR. KELLY: And your Board certification was first received when?

Dr. MCKEE: In 1992, as soon as I could have gotten certification.

MR. KELLY: In your particular specialty, do you have to re-certify periodically?

Dr. MCKEE: Like most specialties, there was a point at which the – – the board that determines certification decided that certifications would be – – would not be permanent and would require retesting periodically. But most – – most – – probably all of the specialty boards picked a point at which they grandfathered people in, so in – – in my case, the residency – – my residency class were aware that, for us, we would be able to get under that wire if we passed both portions of the exam at the earliest time we were eligible to take them, and I did that, so my certification in neurology is permanent. But I’m also Board-certified in electrodiagnostic medicine, and that’s something that’s an extension of my fellowship, and – – and, in that case, I became certified long after they had set the grandfather point, so I have to re-do that one every ten years.

Mr. KELLY: Do you have a specialty within your specialty? Are there particular – –

Dr. MCKEE: That’s – –

Mr. KELLY: – – aspects of neurology that you are particularly focused on?

Dr. MCKEE: That’s the one I was just referring to.

Mr. KELLY: The electrodiagnostic – –

Dr. MCKEE: Neurodiagnostic medicine and peripheral nerve and muscular disorders.

Mr. KELLY: Do you see stroke patients with some frequency in your practice?

Dr.MCKEE: Very often.

Mr. KELLY: And if you would – – I think you started out to tell me this, but I’m not sure. What hospitals are you admitted to practice?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, I have active privileges at St. Luke’s, and I had had courtesy – – actually, the first couple of years I was in Duluth, I think I had active privileges at St. Mary’s, but a few years after I started in Duluth, they changed that to a closed system, and most of the doctors that weren’t directly employed by the Duluth Clinic were switched to courtesy privileges. And so I’ve had courtesy privileges there for a long time, and I actually gave those up a few months back. And I have active or courtesy privileges at Virginia Regional Medical Center. I think they’re actually active, but I’ve never admitted anybody there. And I have courtesy privileges at Fairview Hospital in Hibbing, as well as the hospital in Grand Rapids and – – Memorial Hospital in Cloquet.

Mr. KELLY: In Cloquet. I gather, though, that most of your work, to the extent that it involves work in hospitals, is done at St. Luke’s?

Dr. MCKEE: Right.

Mr. KELLY: Has it been your experience that when you deal with patients or families in which a stroke episode has been involved, that the patient and the immediate family members are typically anxious? Upset?

Dr. MCKEE: You know, the – – I would say yes. The range of emotion is – – is quite wide, and there are families that, you know, take this very much in stride. Maybe it’s the third or fourth stroke that somebody has had, and everybody in the family is well aware that the individual has a lot of risk factors for stroke and is almost expecting another one. And – – and there are others that – – that are extremely anxious.

Mr. KELLY: Have you found it to be the case that a patient or their immediately family members will look to the physician for clues as to what can be expected in the case? How things will develop?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: And that patients and immediate family members tend to be sensitive to cues and expressions by the practitioner?

Dr. MCKEE: My experience is that they – – they usually have questions about prognosis, although in some cases they – – actually don’t want to carry out any discussion that can be avoided at all, and I think that’s sometimes an extension of anxiety; sometimes maybe a little bit of denial.

Mr. KELLY: The hospital gown is a perpetual source of irritation, I think, to everybody. Would you agree?

Dr. MCKEE: Yeah, it’s one of those items that’s never in fashion and always in fashion, I suppose.

Mr. KELLY: It seems to me I’ve read that there’s been some move afoot to try and adopt a new standard for the hospital gown, but I’m not aware that it’s been adopted.

Dr. MCKEE: No, I’m not aware of that, but it seems like an idea that isn’t a bad one.

Mr. KELLY: You had never met Dennis Laurion or Kenneth Laurion or Lois Laurion or Bonnie Laurion prior to April 19 of 2010. Am I correct?

Dr. MCKEE: To the best of my knowledge, no.

Mr. KELLY: And when and how did you first learn that you were being asked to see Kenneth Laurion at St. Luke’s Hospital?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, I don’t remember this happening because it would have been a completely routine thing. I can tell you what – – what would have occurred and almost certainly did occur in this case. The attending physician, who, in this particular instance, was Craig Gilbertson, would have written an order in the chart to have a neurologist see Kenneth Laurion, and that order would have been taken off by the – – the secretary, the unit clerk in whatever part of the hospital; in this case, the intensive care unit. That person would have called my office and talked to one of the secretaries there, who would have told me about it or put a note on my desk.

Mr. KELLY: Do you know whether you had seen other patients at St. Luke’s on April 19 of 2010 before you visited Kenneth Laurion?

Dr. MCKEE: I can’t remember. I don’t know.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember what time you went on duty that day?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, I’m on duty most of the time. There are only two neurologists that cover St. Luke’s, and one of us is on call at all times. Normally, call switches at 7:00 a.m., and – – and so I would have been responsible for anything coming through the emergency room or any in-patient work starting at 7:00 a.m. that day and extending till 7:00 a.m. the next day unless I was also on call the following day or, I guess, the preceding day. If you tell me – – and I don’t remember what day of the week it was that I saw Kenneth Laurion – – I can tell you how long I would have been on call already and when I would have come off call.

Mr. KELLY: So you don’t, as you sit here now, recall whether you had been on call or whether you were specifically asked by Dr. Gilbertson to see that patient?

Dr. MCKEE: No, and – – that raises a point. Sometimes the person on call isn’t the one who ends up seeing a patient, because if the referring physician specifically requests one of the two of us, then if that person is in town and available, then that person would – – would do the consultation, even if he wasn’t on call that day.

Mr. KELLY: Do you have any recollection, as you sit here this morning, of what information you were given concerning Kenneth Laurion before you went to see him?

Dr. MCKEE: No, I don’t. And normally what – – what I would have would be just a, you know, two – – or three-word presumptive diagnosis, something like hemorrhagic stroke, or stroke, and occasionally, maybe 20 or 30 percent of the time, if the referring physician either considers the situation especially urgent or if they think that the situation is confusing and that they’ve got some useful information that isn’t in the chart or not readily available, they’ll call and discuss the case rather than just send it through the secretarial channels, and then there would be some background that way. I don’t recall that having been the case here, and so normally I would have just a very brief one – – or two – – or three-word presumptive diagnosis. But I would have checked the electronic medical record before going in to see the patient, so I would have had, by the time I went into the room, a reasonable background. Probably would have, for example, already seen the CAT scan and pertinent laboratory tests.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember anything about the specifics of any CAT scan or lab tests as they pertained to doctor – – or, excuse me, to Kenneth Laurion before you saw him?

Dr. MCKEE: I was aware that he had a hemorrhagic stroke that was acute and in the posterior portion of the brain. So, yes, I had that information.

Mr. KELLY: I suppose it goes without saying that such a stroke, any stroke, is a serious medical event?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: Did you initially go find Kenneth Laurion in the ICU unit at St. Luke’s?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: And you discovered that he was not there?

Dr. MCKEE: That’s right.

Mr. KELLY: And then how did you find out where he was? What’s the process?

Dr. MCKEE: Oh, it’s very simple. I – – you know, along with the brief presumptive diagnosis there would have been the room number that the patient was in. In this case, it was a room in the ICU. And then going there and not finding him, you know, then what you would do is check with the unit clerk there and ask if – – if the patient had been transferred or if he was just off having some kind of a study, presumably an imaging study somewhere else in the hospital. And from there, you would know where he was and where to go.

Mr. KELLY: And so off you went to find him?

Dr. MCKEE: (Nodding head.)

Mr. KELLY: And when you arrived at Kenneth Laurion’s room, do you recall what time it was? We’ve heard roughly 6:00 o’clock. Does that jibe with your recollection?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, I know it was in the evening, and, you know, I don’t think I could say anything more precise. That – – normally, that’s when I do hospital consultations, unless they’re especially urgent. And so 6:00 o’clock is probably about right.

Mr. KELLY: Were you wearing a white coat at that time?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: And were you wearing a shirt and tie at the time?

Dr. MCKEE: I don’t know. Of course, I was wearing a shirt. I don’t always wear a tie. In fact, more days than not, I don’t wear a tie. I usually wear a dress shirt with a button-down collar, and then I usually don’t bother with a tie. If it’s an open collar, I wear one.

Mr. KELLY: So you may or may not have been wearing a tie?

Dr. MCKEE: Yeah. I definitely wasn’t wearing a stethoscope.

Mr. KELLY: All right. Did you carry anything with you when you went to see Kenneth Laurion? Did you have any instruments?

Dr. MCKEE: Oh, yeah. That’s the purpose of the white coat, really, the – – at least for me. Apart from it sort of denoting to patients and family that you’re a physician, it’s beneficial mostly for all the pockets that it has. And so, you know, my – – the pockets of my lab coat are always stuffed with reflex hammers and light sources and things of that nature.

Mr. KELLY: And needle? Something of that nature?

Dr. MCKEE: (Nodding head.) Mm-hmm.

Mr. KELLY: All right. And do you recall there being several people in Kenneth Laurion’s room when you arrived – –

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: – – to see him? And we have been told that Kenneth Laurion’s wife, Lois, was there, and that Dennis and Bonnie were there when you arrived. Do you have any reason to disagree with that?

Dr. MCKEE: No, I don’t have any reason to disagree with that. I can’t say that I can draw up a real precise mental picture of where everybody was, but I do remember that Dennis Laurion was sitting, as he said yesterday, at what we would call the 3:00 o’clock position, if the head of the bed was 12:00 o’clock.

Mr. KELLY: Had you finished?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes, I had.

Mr. KELLY: Good. And can you tell me what your recollection is of the length of the exam?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, I – – you know, again, I – – I can tell you how long it takes me to do this. I can’t tell you that I had a precise mental image of the encounter. But, you know, normally, to – – to evaluate somebody with a stroke who’s alert and able to provide a history – – as you can imagine, it takes longer if you can’t get a history easily from the patient or from family members. But that wasn’t the case here. If the patient is able to provide a history and / or their family members, it can help that way. You begin by introducing yourself and then taking the pertinent history and then doing the neurological exam, and the whole thing usually takes about twenty minutes.

Mr. KELLY: Is it your recollection, then, that you were in Kenneth Laurion’s room for twenty minutes?

Dr. MCKEE: Again, I can’t say that I can remember the – – all the sequence of events and how long they lasted. I remember a lot of what happened, but I – – yes, I think that’s a good estimate, you know.

Mr. KELLY: From portal to portal, from the time you entered till the time you left?

Dr. MCKEE: I think that’s – – yes, it’s probably right around twenty minutes.

Mr. KELLY: And in the course of time, it would be your custom, your practice, to introduce yourself, obtain a history, and go through a set of diagnostic tests?

Dr. MCKEE: (Nodding head.)

Mr. KELLY: Presumably you have some communication with the patient?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: And then you leave?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: While you were with Mr. Laurion, Doctor, did you take any notes?

Dr. MCKEE: Probably not. I usually don’t have a need to do that. I always dictate my report immediately after leaving, and I’m able to remember events well enough that that usually isn’t necessary.

Mr. KELLY: I take it you didn’t have his chart with you when you went into the room?

Dr. MCKEE: No, because the hospital switched to electronic charts some time ago. So, as I said a few minutes back, I would have looked over the pertinent – – you know, the most pertinent records and imaging studies before going in, so I had a background. But there wouldn’t have been a chart that I could have physically brought into the room.

Mr. KELLY: Did you go to the nurse’s desk immediately from Kenneth Laurion’s room?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: To the nursing station?

Dr. MCKEE: Sure. Yes.

Mr. KELLY: And did you then immediately dictate your consultation notes?

Dr. MCKEE: Essentially, yes. I – – I might have written some orders in the chart before I started dictating my report, but I would have been doing those things essentially right after leaving.

Mr. KELLY: And when and how at that time did you prepare and dictate your consultation notes?

Dr. MCKEE: Well – –

Mr. KELLY: Is that in a room or with a mobile machine that you had, some sort of – –

Dr. MCKEE: No, no, no. At the nurse’s station you have multiple computer terminals, and next to each terminal there’s also a phone. Normally what I would do is – – you know, I would have acquired a lot of the information before going into the room. Now I’ve gone into the room and gotten additional history from the patient and family and done the physical exam, so leaving, I know more than coming in. At that point, I would, more often than not, go back to the computer to look up, you know, any – – anything additional that seemed important, based on the interaction I had in the room and then would have – – would have done the dictation through the phone system. And that’s also the time that I would have written any orders in the chart.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember whether you had any orders with respect to Kenneth Laurion?

Dr. MCKEE: Not offhand. I — I almost always do. So I – – you know I probably wrote a few orders in the chart, but I can’t remember offhand that I did.

Mr. KELLY: When and how did you first learn that some complaint had been made about you in regard to the visit you had with Kenneth Laurion?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, the first time that I found out there was some kind of formal complaint was when I got a phone call from Gary Peterson on May 6th, who is – – Gary Peterson is the medical director at St. Luke’s Hospital. But I was aware of the – – at least one of the Internet postings several days before that.

Mr. KELLY: All right. And how was that brought to your attention?

Dr. MCKEE: It was brought to my attention by a patient, who is a long-term patient with a chronic neurologic problem, and she – – she’s a very energetic lady, and she – – as soon as I came in the room to see her in my clinic, she said something to the effect of, “Dr. McKee, you’re not going to believe what I saw on the Internet,” and then proceeded to describe one of Dennis Laurion’s postings and was very upset and thought that this was outrageous. And, in fact, on leaving, she, being very outgoing, made a point of telling the four or five people in the waiting room that they needed to go on line and find this and needed to rebut what she had read.

Mr. KELLY: Did she happen to tell you what Web site or what rating site – –

Dr. MCKEE: I’m sure she did – –

Mr. KELLY: – – she encountered this on?

Dr. MCKEE: – – but, you know, I can’t remember which Web site, because, as we all know now, there are several of them. I can’t remember which one she specifically mentioned.

Mr. KELLY: Did you go to look at the Web site that she had brought to your attention?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, not right away, but yeah, I did.

Mr. KELLY: Had you ever looked at that or any other Web site to see whether anybody had submitted a rating on you as a physician?

Dr. MCKEE: No, I never had. I was, up to that time, I think, vaguely aware that there were some Web sites of that sort. But, no, I had never looked at any of them.

Mr. KELLY: So this patient says, “I saw something on the Web site,: and at some point you went to look at what she brought your attention to?

Dr. MCKEE: Right. I don’t – – it was fairly soon after that. I don’t remember if it was, you know, perhaps that evening or the next day, but it was fairly soon after that.

Mr. KELLY: And then several days thereafter, if I understood you correctly, you received a call from Dr. Peterson?

Dr. MCKEE: Right.

Mr. KELLY: And as I understand the chronology, you first received a call from Dr. Peterson and then you were provided a copy of the document, the letter that Mr. Laurion sent to Dr. Peterson. Is that correct?

Dr. MCKEE: I should remember this, but I – – I think that’s correct. I’m – – we talked about this at length, and I think he all but read the whole letter to me on the phone.

Mr. KELLY: I see.

Dr. MCKEE: And – – and I can’t say if my knowledge of the letter came from what he said in the phone conversation or the phone conversation plus later reading the letter. But in one way or another, the contents of the letter were made available to me by – – by Dr. Peterson.

Mr. KELLY: Let’s mark these. (Whereupon Deposition Exhibitis 16, 17, and 18 were marked for identification.) Perfect. Thank you. All right, Doctor, I’m showing you what’s been marked as Exhibit Number 16, which I believe is a letter you wrote to Dr. Peterson on May 6th of 2010.

Dr. MCKEE: Yes, that’s right.

Mr. KELLY: Do you happen to remember how long after your conversation with Dr. Peterson you composed and sent this letter?

Dr. MCKEE: Very soon after. We – – we had our conversation of the phone, and it – – it essentially ended with Dr. Peterson telling me that – – something to the effect that he didn’t consider the complaint believable or reasonable, and that if I would just put it in letter form to him, the responses that I had given him over the phone, that he would consider the matter resolved.

Mr. KELLY: So he asked you for some document in response to the complaint he had received from Mr. Laurion?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes, he asked me to summarize what I had said in our phone conversation.

Mr. KELLY: All right. I’m showing you what’s been marked as Exhibit Number 17. This is a letter dated May 28 of 2010 to William Marczewski of the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. Am I right?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: And this is a letter that you composed and submitted?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: Were you requested to submit this letter to the medical board?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes. I – – I was given a notice from them that a complaint had been filed and asked for my response.

Mr. KELLY: And presumably you intended this letter to constitute your response to Mr. Laurion’s – – Dennis Laurion’s complaint to the medical board?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: And showing you finally what’s been marked as Exhibit Number 18, this letter dated June 24 of 2010, again to Mr. Marczewski, and I gather that this particular letter is in response to the submission that was made by Bonnie Laurion. Am I right?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes, the one that was signed by Bonnie Laurion.

Mr. KELLY: Now, Doctor, have you written any letters to the various agencies or offices that received a communication from Mr. Laurion concerning his appreciation of your encounter with Kenneth Laurion?

Dr. MCKEE: No, not that I can recall.

Mr. KELLY: In your letter to Dr. Peterson of May 6, in the first paragraph of your letter, you say, and this is in the middle of the paragraph, “When I entered the room, and this is Kenneth Laurion’s room, “I certainly wasn’t angry or annoyed, but did make the comment that I had looked for him in the intensive care unit and was glad to see that he had been transferred from there to a regular hospital bed, as the two possibilities when one leaves the ICU are that you are a patient” – – “are that you” – – I gather that there’s a word missing there – – “you are a patient who’s improved and doesn’t need the intensive care unit, or a patient who died.” And that would have been a comment you made in the room?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, that’s not a quotation – –

Mr. KELLY: But that’s what you wrote?

Dr. MCKEE: – – or anything to that effect. That’s what I wrote, yes.

Mr. KELLY: And so if that’s not a direct quote, words to that effect were uttered in Kenneth Laurions room?

Dr. MCKEE: That’s right.

Mr. KELLY: And then you say that “This was no glib or morose” – – and presumably another word is missing there.

Dr. MCKEE: I think it’s this letter – –

Mr. KELLY: “No glib or morose comment.”

Dr. MCKEE: I think it was meant to say, “This was not glib or morose.”

Mr. KELLY: All right. And you say that “Nobody in the room, the patient, his wife, or Dennis Laurion himself, expressed or showed any evident disconcert with that statement.” That was your recollection?

Dr. MCKEE: That’s right.

Mr. KELLY: When you prepared this letter to Dr. Peterson, were you relying on your memory?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: That is, you hadn’t made any notes at the time of the encounter – –

Dr. MCKEE: That’s right.

Mr. KELLY: – – on which you based your recollection of what you had said when you entered the room?

Dr. MCKEE: Correct.

Mr. KELLY: And then directing your attention to the second paragraph, “As for the incident with the hospital gown, the lead-up to this was nothing like what Dennis Laurion stated. I asked the patient if he had been out of bed that day, and after hearing that the therapists had worked with him but had not gotten him out of bed, I asked him if he felt up to that and if he wanted to try to stand and walk a little bit.” So far, so good?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: “He told me that he very much wanted to try to get out of bed, and I held my hands out so that he could grab them to pull himself up to a standing position.” And then you say, “I certainly did not jerk him out of bed or in any way rush him.” “It was when he was half-standing, half-sitting” – – here the picture I have is of somebody who’s got his fanny at the edge of the bed, and perhaps his feet on the floor?

Dr. MCKEE: No, it’s not quite that. The – – but luckily here’s an area in which Dennis Laurion and I agree, and we at least agree on the layout of the room and where people were. Before I started to help Kenneth Laurion up, he was lying supine. He was lying more or less on his back. And Dennis Laurion was – – if we think of him lying on his back, on his left side was Dennis Laurion. I would have been on his right side, which is also where the doorway to the room is. And so you should picture him as starting out lying on his bed – – on his back, slightly – – with the head of the bed slightly elevated, but still essentially lying back. Now I’ve got my hands on his forearms, and he, in turn, is holding my forearms like this (indicating). And so – – so he’s – – he’s being pulled up from this semi-reclined position to sitting and then, ultimately, to standing.

Mr. KELLY: All right. “I certainly did not jerk him” – – I’m going on. ” I certainly did not jerk him out of bed or in any rush him. It was when he was half-standing, half sitting that Dennis Laurion, sitting in a chair on the other side of the bed, made the observation that the patient’s hospital gown was only tied at the neck.” Had you noted that to be the case by that point?

Dr. MCKEE: No, when – – when – – when I – – again, you know, remembering that the hospital gown opens at the back, he’s lying on – – on his back, and you wouldn’t see whether it was closed or open. And as he’s now coming up, he and I are facing each other, so his back side is away from me.

Mr. KELLY: All right. “Dennis Laurion, sitting in a chair on the other side of the bed, made the observation that the patient’s hospital gown was only tied at the neck. By the way he said this, I thought that his concern was that the gown might fall off, but I could see the knot was well-tied and told him that I thought it would be fine.” So that, again, is your recollection or assessment of something that you said?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: Would you agree, Doctor, that because these gowns are the way they are that people – – both the people who wear them and the people who may be in close proximity to them can sometimes have some modesty concerns that are legitimate?

Dr. MCKEE: Certainly.

Mr. KELLY: People don’t like having portions of their body that they consider to be private exposed. Correct? I mean, you know that from experience?

Dr. MCKEE: Sure. It varies from person to person. Some don’t seem to mind, but some – – some do.

Mr. KELLY: And family members very often don’t want to be caught in a circumstance where the family member is embarrassed and, by extension, they may be embarrassed themselves. Would you agree?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: So you say, “It never crossed my mind that he was concerned about his father’s modesty,” but, in fact, that at least is a consideration in retrospect, that one must give consideration to?

Dr. MCKEE: In general, but not in this specific case, for the reason that I outline on the beginning of the next page.

Mr. KELLY: All right. Your assessment on the next page was that it would have been possible for Dennis Laurion to simply reach across the bed and tie the gown?

Dr. MCKEE: Exactly. You have to realize, these rooms are tiny. The – – you know, there’s not much more than the minimum amount of space that it would take to walk around the bed. That’s, you know, the kind of dimension we’re talking about. So if you’re on the side – – if you’re to the side of the bed, you’re within reach of the bed.

Mr. KELLY: Was the exam that you planned to do when you entered the room likely to involve Mr. Laurion, Kenneth Laurion, getting up and standing and walking to some extent?

Dr. MCKEE: It was certainly likely, as mentioned in the – – you know, as part of the letter that we’ve already covered, I asked him if he had been out of bed and if he felt up to getting out of bed and if he wanted to get out of bed, so once it had been established that we were going to do that, you know, at that point, yeah, it was, you know expected that he would be getting up and standing.

Mr.KELLY: Now, Doctor, would it typically be the case that you would conduct a neurological examination of the kind that you were planning to conduct on Kenneth Laurion in the presence of family members?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes. It’s – – you know, sometimes the family doesn’t want to stay, sometimes the patient doesn’t want the family to stay, but more often than not, both the patient and the family members prefer for them to stay.

Mr. KELLY: Did you ask Kenneth Laurion if he wanted his family members present while he was examined?

Dr. MCKEE: I don’t recall.

Mr. KELLY: Did you ask the family members whether they wanted to be present while Mr. Laurion was examined?

Dr. MCKEE: I don’t recall, but I probably wouldn’t have. You know, I – – it’s likely that I asked him, but since he was – – if he had been very confused or comatose or something like this, I probably would have asked the family – – that’s my – – that’s how I would typically handle that situation. And if I knew I was going to be doing something invasive that would be uncomfortable for them, I probably would ask them to leave. But in a situation where the patient’s awake and conversant, I would be leaving it up to the family – – or, I’m sorry, to the patient. In fact, very often family members will, when I’m starting an exam in a situation like this, ask me, “Is it okay if we stay,” and my response is always, again assuming the patient is alert, to ask the patient and say it’s entirely up to him or her.

Mr. KELLY: Do you recall whether any one of the Laurions who were in the room when you entered the room asked whether it was okay if they stayed?

Dr. MCKEE: I don’t recall.

Mr. KELLY: Is it the case that at some point Kenneth Laurion asked that the family members leave the room?

Dr. MCKEE: I don’t remember that.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember whether Mr. – –

Dr. MCKEE: But I do remember that – – that at some point the family members left the room.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember if Mr. Laurion at some point during the initial part of this encounter expressed some concern for his personal modesty?

Dr. MCKEE: Mr. – – no, I – – I don’t remember that. I mean, I don’t remember that as happening.

Mr. KELLY: All right. Why don’t we begin with your arrival at the room, then, and, if you would, walk me through what you recall happened from the time you entered the room until you left the room.

Dr. MCKEE: Well, these rooms are very small.

Mr. KELLY: Is this a – – excuse me, but – –

Dr. MCKEE: It’s a private – –

Mr. KELLY: – – one-person room?

Dr. MCKEE: Private room, right.

Mr. KELLY: Thank you.

Dr. MCKEE: Yeah. And I – – I mention that because I almost laughed yesterday when Dennis Laurion said that I strode in rapidly and appeared annoyed. Well, you can’t walk into these rooms rapidly. The first step would carry you smack into the side of the bed. And, you know, I always knock. Usually the door’s already open, and I always knock on the door frame.

Mr. KELLY: Do you recall doing that in this instance?

Dr. MCKEE: I know I did that. I always do that.

Mr. KELLY: Did you announce yourself?

Dr. MCKEE: I always do that. I always introduce myself. It’s – – it’s inevitably the very first thing that I say when I come into a patient’s room. The only exception would be if the patient’s comatose, I know they’re comatose, and there are no family members present.

Mr. KELLY: And, Doctor, over the course of time, I suppose you’ve come up with a custom, a habitual way of introducing yourself. How do you do that? When you enter a room, what do you say?

Dr. MCKEE: You’re – – you’re right. And again, let’s just work with the scenario where we’re not talking about a confused or comatose person and – – but normally I always knock on the door or the door frame. If the door is closed, I knock, wait to hear if there’s any kind of answer and stick my head in. But I always knock and come in and introduce myself. I say, you know, “Hello,” or “Good evening. I’m Dr. McKee. I’m the neurologist.” And usually at that point the patient responds with, you know, “Thanks for coming,” “Nice to meet you,” “Hello.” Something.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember that occurring in – –

Dr. MCKEE: I don’t remember exactly – –

Mr. KELLY: – – particular instance?

Dr. MCKEE: – – what – – I’m sorry to interrupt. I don’t remember exactly what Kenneth Laurion said, but the sequence began like this.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember any comments or any statements being made by any of the family members who were in the room in response to your introduction?

Dr. MCKEE: I don’t remember.

Mr. KELLY: What’s your next recollection of what happened?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, my next – – the next thing that happened was that I made a jocular comment meant to kind of relieve tension and – – to the effect of I had looked for him up in the intensive care unit and was glad to find that, when he wasn’t there, that he had been moved to a regular hospital bed, because you only go one of two ways when you leave the intensive care unit; you either have improved to the point where you’re someplace like this or you leave because you’ve died.

Mr. KELLY: All right. And what’s the next thing?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, after that, I would have started asking the patient about his symptoms, how he felt, and taking the history from him, and – – and – –

Mr. KELLY: If I may interrupt you just a second, Doctor?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember that as being next in the sequence, or are you telling me what customarily would have been the case?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, I think both.

Mr. KELLY: Go ahead.

Dr.MCKEE: You know this was, what, nine months ago now, but I – – I know that – – that following this little introduction that we got on with the business of the history and – – and his current symptoms and so forth, which would be the way things would pretty much always, you know, progress.

Mr. KELLY: Did you receive any information concerning his – – his history or concerning his immediate experience before he was admitted to the hospital from any of the family members?

Dr. MCKEE: That’s – – that’s what I was – – you know, at that point I’m getting history from him and – – and invariably I’m asking for supplementation from family members if the patient has trouble doing that. You know it’s – – it’s, in my mind, usually a good thing if there are family members there, because even if the patient is alert, sometimes they’re aware of – – of useful historical aspects that the patient either doesn’t know or doesn’t remember.

Mr. KELLY: Dennis Laurion testified that he made some remark about his father’s experience of vomiting prior to the time that you saw him. Do you recall that being said or not?

Dr. MCKEE: Yeah, Dennis Laurion mentioned that sort of after the fact, as sort of an addition to what he had said initially. But I don’t specifically remember him making those statements, no.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember any of the family members providing you with any historical information pertaining to Kenneth Laurion while you were in his room?

Dr. MCKEE: Not specifically, no.

Mr. KELLY: Did you ask his wife anything in particular?

Dr. MCKEE: You know, I probably did, and it’s likely that – – that one or more family members interjected with – – with some historical information, because that’s generally the way an encounter like this takes place, but I can’t remember the – – the specifics.

Mr. KELLY: All right. The next thing that happened, then, in the sequence, as best you can recall, was what?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, the – – the next thing was, you know, after getting the pertinent history and establishing, as mentioned in the letter, that he had been somewhat active through the day, but hadn’t been out of bed, asking him if he wanted to try and get out of bed, and he answered that he – – he very definitely did, and so I put my hands out to help him. He grabbed both of my forearms, as I demonstrated before, and – – and this is where we have a huge disagreement. I can say unequivocally I did not jerk him out of bed or force him against his will out of bed. I can say that with absolute certainty because I have never, ever done that to any patient. But in any case, I recall very specifically that he was – – you know, he was pulling on my forearms, and I was pulling on his steadily and trying to get him up, and when he was sort of no longer, you know, supported – – his back was no longer supported by the bed and – – and now he’s pulling pretty hard on my forearms (indicating) and I’m bearing a fair bit of his weight, that – – that the comment was made to me by Dennis Laurion that his gown wasn’t tied. And as I said before, Kenneth Laurion and I were facing each other. I can see the front of the gown, but not the back and see the – – could see the knot, which presumably was on the side rather than on the back, and it appeared – – it appeared good to me and like the gown wasn’t in any risk of falling off. And so I said, “It looks like it’s okay.”

Mr. KELLY: And what happened next?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, then, you know, continued to try to get Mr. Laurion in a standing position, and he did stand. And it was around that time that one of the family members asked – – and I believe it was a woman, and I think probably Bonnie Laurion, and I can’t say for certain, asked Kenneth Laurion if he’d prefer that they leave, which is, as I said a minute ago, a very routine question for family members to make. And Mr. Laurion – – Kenneth Laurion said yes, and the family members left, and we continued with the exam from there.

Mr. KELLY: All right. Up to this time, up to the time that the Laurion family members leave the room, do you have any estimate of or appreciation of how long you had been in the room?

Dr. MCKEE: Probably in the ballpark of eight or ten minutes.

Mr. KELLY: And up to this point, what you have done is gotten a history – –

Dr. MCKEE: Mm-hmm.

Mr. KELLY: – – and had an opportunity to make some assessment of your patient based on his responses to your comments and questions?

Dr. MCKEE: Right.

Mr. KELLY: Had you done any tests up to that point?

Dr. MCKEE: There’s a – – there’s a pretty good chance – – though I can’t say for certain, but just, you know, thinking as to how I usually proceed in a situation like this, there’s a pretty good chance that I had already checked a few simple things while he was still lying down, some reflexes with a flashlight and some other simple things that wouldn’t require him to move. I can’t remember whether I did those maneuvers before or after the family left. But, otherwise, it’s – – it’s as you just said.

Mr. KELLY: So if I have the sequence of events down properly, what happens now is that the family troops out. Is the door closed behind them or do you close the door behind them?

Dr. MCKEE: you know, I don’t remember – –

Mr. KELLY: Would you typically – –

Dr. MCKEE: – – if they closed the door – –

Mr. KELLY: Sorry.

Dr. MCKEE: – – or if I closed the door, but normally the door would be closed at that point.

Mr. KELLY: It would be your practice to close the door – –

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: – – so there would be some confidentiality, privacy, with the patient?

Dr. MCKEE: Right.

Mr. KELLY: And then, as I understand it, you would have gone through the series of what was left of the series of diagnostic tests that you wanted to perform?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes, which at that point would have been most of it.

Mr. KELLY: All right. And if I recall properly, you said the whole sequence took roughly twenty minutes, and we’re seven minutes into the encounter now, so – –

Dr. MCKEE: I said eight to ten.

Mr. KELLY: Oh, I’m sorry.

Dr. MCKEE: Well, it’s probably hair-splitting, but, yeah, we’re probably eight to ten minutes in.

Mr. KELLY: Okay, And then how – –

Dr. MCKEE: And I probably – –

Mr. KELLY: Go ahead.

Dr. MCKEE: Sorry. I probable spent, you know, another ten minutes, maybe a little more, completing the exam and talking to Mr. Laurion.

Mr. KELLY: Now, of that time, how long was Mr. Laurion on his feet?

Dr. MCKEE: Oh, undoubtedly less than a minute. Maybe a lot less than a minute. What I would have wanted him to do after standing – – and now he would be standing at the side of the bed, facing the door, I would have just wanted him to take a very few steps, probably while I was still holding his hands or his forearms for support, to see what kind of balance he had. I wouldn’t have been trying to assess his endurance or anything of that nature.

Mr. KELLY: All right. So this would have been a relatively short phase of the exam?

Dr. MCKEE: Right. And then I would have – – you know, usually in a situation like this, and again knowing where his stroke was and how large it was, what I really wanted to know was whether or not he had something called truncal ataxia.

Mr. KELLY: Which is what?

Dr. MCKEE: It’s a – – it’s an abnormality of balance, which is really easy to assess. It’s basically whether or not there’s a decline in balance to the point where a person has to have their legs spread further apart than normal when standing or walking to maintain balance. You can tell almost instantly when somebody stands up whether they have this, aand if so, how severe it is. So, you know, we get them to their feet and then maybe ask them to take a step or two, and then – – and then that’s it. You would usually – – or I would pretty much invariably from that point be holding the patient’s hands or forearms and then ask them to back up so they could then just sit directly back on the side of the bed, which is the easiest position for finishing the rest of the exam.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember, from the height of the bed in that room, whether Mr. Laurion would have been then returned to a seated position when you were done with this?

Dr. MCKEE: You’d always – – always.

Mr. KELLY: All right.

Dr. MCKEE: And the height of the bed is adjustable and, you know, what I do when I bring somebody out of bed like this, especially if they’re elderly or some reason to suspect that they’re going to have trouble with balance, is, if necessary, adjust the height of the bed so that their feet, once they’re over on the side of the bed, will be touching the floor without them having to hop down off the bed. It’s the easiest way to get them up.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember doing – –

Dr. MCKEE: And then it’s the easiest way to get them back down again.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember doing that with Kenneth Laurion?

Dr. MCKEE: I don’t remember if the bed needed adjustment. but it’s – – it’s something that I always do, because it’s the easiest and safest way to get them out, and, more importantly, it’s by far the easiest way to get them back into bed. That way, when they’re backing up to the bed, all I have to do is, once they’re back, if their legs are against the side of the bed, is just simply sit down and – – and then they’re right there where you need them and, no hopping up or, you know, anything of this nature.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember if Kenneth Laurion, once returned to the bed, remained in the seated position until you left the room?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, he certainly remained in a seated position while I finished the exam, because the rest of the exam is hard to do in any other position. And – –

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember what you did for the rest of the exam, that is, after you got him back on the bed?

Dr. MCKEE: I know what I always do in that situation. you know, the whole – – there’s – – there’s a logical order to go in here just from a practical – –

Mr. KELLY: A protocol?

Dr. MCKEE: Just from a practical standpoint, because much of the exam can’t be easily done with somebody lying down. Some parts can’t be done at all with them lying down. Most parts of the exam are easiest to do with them sitting , so – – there are a few little bits that can be done either way equally well, and sometimes I’ll do that lying down; sometimes after they’re sitting. And that’s what I was referring to before, in saying that, well, before I had him stand, I might have checked his pupil reflexes with a flashlight or something like this. But I always check the – – the gait and standing ability relatively early because I want to then – – you know, after doing that, I’ll have them in a sitting position, where it’s easiest to finish the rest of the exam.

Mr. KELLY: Which would typically, customarily, be what?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, there are half a dozen maneuvers that relate to testing of cranial nerves, which are the nerves that come off the base of the brain, and those are the things that you can, at least in part, do either lying down or sitting up. So it’s checking some aspects of respiratory function, facial – – muscular symmetry, facial sensation, whether or not the soft palette moves symmetrically, whether or not the tongue moves symmetrically, whether eye movements are normal and conjugate. And then following that, testing strength of all four extremities; muscle tone of all four extremities; the reflexes, whether or not there’s any ataxia, that is, a tremulous-like movement of the hands and arms when they’re used for purposeful movements. It’s usually checked by asking a person, with his eyes closed, to bring his arms out, bring his index finger to his nose, back to the starting position (indicating), while marking the starting position with your own index finger, and then repeating that maneuver on the other side; checking sensation, at least in the hands, with the eyes closed; and then the plantar responses, which are reflexes in the feet that are normally checked in a sitting position, but with the knee extended. And that is – – that’s pretty much it. Those are the standard things. Then depending on whether or not the specific issues at hand dictate it, there might be some additional tests, the same kind of things, but some additional things that you don’t necessarily do on everybody.

Mr. KELLY: Would it be your custom and practice, Doctor, at the conclusion of this sequence of events constituting your examination to assist the patient in getting back into bed?

Dr. MCKEE: What I would almost always do at the end of that – – well, really always do, is, with the patient now sitting – – a lot of times they’re pretty relieved to be out of bed, and I always ask them, “Do you want to stay sitting up or do you want to lie down? Would you like me to,” you know, “help you get back into bed or would you rather just sit” – – “stay sitting?”

Mr. KELLY: Did you have that exchange with Kenneth Laurion?

Dr. MCKEE: I’m sure – –

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember?

Dr. MCKEE: I’m sure I did, because I always do that.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember what his particular response was?

Dr. MCKEE: I don’t remember.

Mr. KELLY: Do you remember whether he was left in a seated or prone position?

Dr. MCKEE: I don’t remember.

Mr. KELLY: All right. Then when you left Kenneth Laurion, did you give him any instructions or did you provide him with any information concerning a follow-up?

Dr. MCKEE: By follow-up?

Mr. KELLY: I mean seeing him at some later date?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, what – – what I would have done after finishing the exam is, you know, tell him what I thought was going on and let him know what was coming up in the near term, if there were any, you know, important tests that he was going to be having and ask him if he had any questions. We wouldn’t have talked about follow-up, like, after discharge or anything like that at that point. That probably would have been – – well, unless I expected him to leave later that day or something, that would have been a little, you know, ahead of the game.

Mr. KELLY: Now, at this point we’ve reached the stage in the sequence where you have finished the exam and Mr. Laurion has been returned to and is on the bed in some configuration?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: And the next thing, I suppose, was for you to leave the room?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes, of course.

Mr. KELLY: Now, ordinarily, Doctor, in a circumstance of this kind where you have the patient’s family members on the floor, would it be your practice to provide them with some information concerning your observations, your findings, or conclusions?

Dr. MCKEE: It’s – – that’s variable. It depends on a number of details. If – – if the patient, in my opinion, isn’t able to retain information well, and the most extreme case would be if they were in a coma. But, you know, if they were confused or anything of that nature, then yeah, always. If the patient – – if – – if I’ve already discussed what’s going on or conveyed, it seems like, the important information to the patient and he seems to grasp it well, then not necessarily, especially if the family is going to go in, you know, right away and realize that the patient’s perfectly able to relay what I’ve just said, then probably only unless – – only in the situation where a family member would ask something.

Mr. KELLY: Do you recall what your assessment or conclusion was in regard to Kenneth Laurion’s ability to, first, absorb and then relay the information you had provided to him during your examination of him?

Dr. MCKEE: My recollection is that he seemed to be doing well in terms his cognitive function.

Mr. KELLY: All right. So what did you do next, then?

Dr. MCKEE: I left the patient’s room and went to the nurses’ station to do the various tasks that we already discussed.

Mr. KELLY: Did you observe Lois Laurion when you left the room? That would have been Kenneth’s wife.

Dr. MCKEE: I don’t recall if I did or not. you know, now, since the time that this encounter happened, I’ve read some varying descriptions of that detail, and I – – I don’t remember whether or not I saw her immediately on leaving the room or not.

Mr. KELLY: Would it ordinarily the case, Doctor, that you would attempt to at least stop and provide some comment to the – – the spouse of the patient you’ve just seen?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, again, it’s variable. It – – it depends on whether or not I think the patient has understood it and has, you know, the information at hand and able to relate it. If I’ve just explained things to patient who seems to understand well and expect that the family will be going in shortly thereafter, I wouldn’t necessarily then repeat the entire conversation to a family member, even – – even a patient’s wife. It would, you know, be my feeling that the patient is going to be asked all these questions by the family and is able to relay the information himself. But certainly anytime that a family member asks any questions after I leave the room, I always take whatever time is needed to answer those questions, even if I’ve already just answered the identical question with the patient.

Mr. KELLY: Do you recall seeing Bonnie Laurion anywhere around the Kenneth Laurion room when you departed his room?

Dr. MCKEE: No, I don’t recall that.

Mr. KELLY: Do you recall – –

Dr. MCKEE: I recall her being in the room. She was one of the individuals in the room. But, no, I don’t remember if she was at hand when I left the room.

Mr. KELLY: Did – – did you look for her when you left the room? Did you look for Lois Laurion when you left the room?

Dr. MCKEE: I don’t recall making a specific, you know, search for family members after I left the room.

Mr. KELLY: And if I understood you correctly, you departed the room and went directly to the nursing station, where you would have dictated your consultation notes?

Dr. MCKEE: Written orders and prepared my report, yes.

Mr. KELLY: And that would have closed your encounter with Kenneth Laurion. Correct?

Dr. MCKEE: Yes.

Mr. KELLY: And that would have been the last time that you had any contact at all with Lois, Bonnie, or Dennis Laurion. Am I right?

Dr. MCKEE: Well, are you asking me with the conditional that that would be the normal routine?

KELLY: No, no I – –

Dr. MCKEE: – – and not be other things, or – – or what happened in this case?

Mr. KELLY: In fact, you never had another encounter with Lois Laurion – –

Dr. MCKEE: That’s – – that’s – –

Mr. KELLY: – – Kenneth Laurion’s wife?

Dr. MCKEE: Wife. That’s correct.

Mr. KELLY: And in fact, you never had another encounter with Bonnie Laurion? You never spoke to her again?

Dr. MCKEE: No, that’s correct.

Mr. KELLY: And you never spoke to Dennis Laurion again. Is that also correct?

Dr. MCKEE: Correct.

Mr. KELLY: You haven’t seen them, that is, Dennis Laurion and Bonnie Laurion, again until you encountered them here in this conference room in connection with these depositions. Am I right?

Dr. MCKEE: I believe so yes.

MR KELLY: The hospitals and the medical profession have promulgated what is known as a patient’s bill of rights. Correct?

DR. MCKEE: Yes.

MR KELLY: And, among other things, that bill of rights encourages patients to express concerns that they may have about their or a near relative’s patient care?

MR TANICK: I’m going to object to that. Calls for a legal conclusion. The statute says what it says.

MR KELLY: Go ahead.

DR. MCKEE: I don’t know offhand what the details of the patient’s bill of rights includes.

MR. KELLY: Have you ever – –

DR. MCKEE: I suspect that it’s – –

MR. KELLY: Have you ever read it?

DR. MCKEE: You know, I probably have. But I certainly haven’t read it anytime recently. I’m aware – – excuse me.

MR. KELLY: Sure.

DR. MCKEE: I’m aware of the patient’s bill of rights and – – and have a rough idea as to what’s in there, but I don’t think I can answer specific questions about it.

MR. KELLY: I’m showing you what’s been marked as Exhibit Number 6 (Handing).

DR. MCKEE: (Reviewing document.)

MR. KELLY: Exhibit Number 6 is Mr. Tanick’s letter of May 7, 2010?

DR. MCKEE: Yes.

MR. KELLY: If you turn to page 2 of the letter, you are not shown as having been copied on that letter. Would you agree?

DR. MCKEE: Yes.

MR. KELLY: Had you seen this letter before it was sent to Dennis Laurion?

DR. MCKEE: (Reviewing document.) I – – I don’t recall. I know I’ve seen the letter – – this letter before. I don’t recall whether or not I saw it before it was sent or after it was sent.

MR. KELLY: Were you told that Mr. Laurion had, to use the term that has been employed here earlier, taken down his comments from the Web sites?

DR. MCKEE: I’m sorry. Could you say that again?

MR. KELLY: Yes. Were you told that Mr. Laurion took down the comments he posted on the Web sites?

DR. MCKEE: There was some point at which I was told that – – that he had communicated that he had removed some of what he had posted on the Web.

MR. KELLY: Did you look to see whether in fact that has been accomplished?

DR. MCKEE:  Yeah, and it hadn’t been accomplished.

MR. KELLY: Do you know whether or not by that point in time he had requested that it be taken down?

DR. MCKEE: I think I know that he claimed to have made an effort or tried to take some of this down.

MR. KELLY: Do you have some reason to believe that he had not?

DR. MCKEE: Well, I suppose you’re asking me to speculate, and – –

MR. KELLY: No, I’m asking whether – – I’m not asking you to speculate. I’m asking whether you have some reason to believe that, in fact, Dennis Laurion had not requested that those Web sites be taken down – – or that his comments be taken off?

DR. MCKEE: You know, I think I do have some reason to suspect it. If you ask if I think that he did make an effort to remove some of what he had done, my answer is – – my best guess is that he made some effort to remove some of what he posted. But how certain of that am I? I don’t know. I’m not entirely certain at all. I – – I think he – – Dennis Laurion is a very dishonest person, and I think there have been any number of examples of contradictions and out – and – out untruths that he has made verbally in the last two days, and – – and more importantly, in print and electronically before this. Frankly, I think you know that too, because there have been any number of inconsistencies that have come to light in these two days of depositions.

MR. KELLY: The – – the letters that you submitted here to the Board of Medical Practice, two letters, and the one letter to Dr. Peterson, represented your considered response to Mr. Laurion’s complaints about you. Am I correct?

DR. MCKEE: Yes.

MR. KELLY: Now, Doctor, tell me, if you would, in your own words, to what extent you believe you have been harmed or damaged by Dennis Laurion’s criticisms of your conduct of your examination or during your examination of Kenneth Laurion on April 19th of 2010. Would you, please?

DR. MCKEE: I think I’ve been harmed to a great extent. That’s a qualitative, not a quantitative term, but, you know, but I can give you some rough idea as to what I’ve been through since then. This has been extraordinarily stressful. There hasn’t been a four – day stretch since this happened in April that I haven’t had at least one night where, in the wee hours of the night, I haven’t been wide awake thinking about this. My three daughters, 16, 13, 9, at various points along the history of all of this, became aware of Mr. Laurion’s work and comments, always in very unpleasant circumstances. My 9-year-old actually had the mother of a friend of hers confront her very undiplomatically about this. All of them have come to me very upset on different occasions about the results of Mr. Laurion’s efforts. The amount of time that I’ve invested related to this is probably much more than you would imagine. During the first three or so months following his postings, I was easily taking an hour a day out of my work schedule to deal with this. It’s been less since then, but – – and that’s just time out of my work schedule. I would say that since late April, in an average week, I’ve probably spent, you know, probably seven to ten hours related to – – to these issues, more again in the first half of that time frame than the second half. It’s been – – it’s been frustrating, infuriating, and anxiety-provoking, and at times very embarrassing. And I will give you a specific example that occurred just a short time ago, some weeks back. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Integrity Health Network. It’s a relatively new organization, but it’s effectively a merger of Northland Medical Associates, North Star Physicians, and half a dozen clinics within, oh, a 100 and – – 150 mile radius or so of Duluth, and it – – it includes around 220 physicians. It has a CEO, a director of quality assurance, two medical directors, one in charge of the specialists and specialty care, and one in charge of primary care, and a COO, and I am the medical director in charge of specialty services. At a meeting that we had of the – – the officers that I just mentioned not very many weeks ago, it came up somewhat parenthetically that the CEO mentioned that there is an iPhone ap that a lot of the primary care physicians were using and finding very helpful called iTriage, nothing that I had ever heard of before. And he described this – – this application. It’s essentially a – – something that can be downloaded into an iPhone, and once you go into this ap, there – – there are sections that allow primary care physicians to input symptoms and – – and physical signs of a patient, and then the application gives a list of potential diagnoses and – – and suggestions for work-up. The other major component of the ap is a database for making referrals to specialists, and it can be entered by a physician’s name or by specialty. You can choose to – – you know, you can say, “I want a gastroenteroologist, but I want one within a thirty-mile radius,” and this sort of thing, and then it spits out names, and as it happens, ratings of those doctors. And as a point of demonstration, he – – he punched in, obviously never having done this before, “Well, let’s just say we need a neurologist that it within 25 miles of Cloquet,” and he ran this through. And – – and all of the neurologists that practice in Duluth – – there are none that are based in Cloquet, but all of the neurologists that practice in Duluth, and even some that no longer practice in Duluth, came up on the listing. Only one of them had ratings, and that – – that was me. And they were all – – the ratings were essentially Mr. Laurion’s work.

MR. KELLY: Were the – –

DR. MCKEE: So this – – these Web-based projects have sort of metastasized throughout the Internet, well beyond where he initially entered them. And this – – he – – he punched this in, and one of the others was sitting right next to him in a position to see the result that he had, and suddenly the smile came off of his face and he didn’t say anything and just shut the phone off and set it down on the table. Well, it was pretty obvious that what he had seen was quite derogatory.

MR. KELLY: Did you look to see what he saw?

DR. MCKEE: Today, I did, yes.

MR. KELLY: And what did you find?

DR. MCKEE: I found that the – – there was some scoring there obtained from Health Grades.

MR. KELLY: And Health Grades is a website?

DR. MCKEE: It’s one of the ones that Mr. Laurion worked on, yes.

MR. KELLY: All right. And was there text or were there numerical scores or stars? What I’m trying to figure out is what you saw.

DR. MCKEE: What I saw were numerical scores, but what they had told me at the time was that there was text available too. So I don’t know if the text is now reviewed, but the numerical scores are still there.

MR. KELLY: And how do you know whose numerical scores they are – –

DR. MCKEE: Well, after – –

MR. KELLY: – – or were?

DR. MCKEE: After the patient brought to my attention Mr. Laurion’s handiwork on the Web, as I’ve already testified, I did soon thereafter look on the Internet to – – you know, and found these Web sites and – – and found what he had entered and saw that he had given me the very lovely objective scores of 1 on a scale of 10 and so forth. And, actually, most of these – – in fact, all of these sites, there was very little data, so it’s – – it’s a simple mathematical calculation if you know that there are – – you know, all of them tell you how many people have given a score.

MR. KELLY: If I can stop you right there, do you know from your own observations or investigations how many people have scored you on these Web sites?

DR. MCKEE: It’s just a very few. It’s – – it’s, you know . . .

MR. KELLY: But how many is a very few?

DR. MCKEE: I don’t remember offhand. We’re talking, you know, very much single digits. Three, four, five, in that ballpark. It wasn’t the same number on each site, but it’s a small number, and in each case it was very easy to do the math to figure out what the average score would have had to be before getting a bunch of 1’s to bring it down to what it is now. That’s – – that’s, you know sixth grade math.

MR. KELLY: Did you find – –

DR. MCKEE: And I ran the – – I did these calculations. My scores prior to Mr. Laurion’s efforts were not mediocre. Well, I guess we don’t know what he means exactly by “mediocre,” but they were not low scores before – – his input.

MR. KELLY: How do you know what your scores were before Mr. Laurion’s input if you never looked?

DR. MCKEE: Because it’s – – as I said, the math is very simple. If – – if you – – let’s – – let’s take an over-simplified example. Let’s suppose it’s a 5-point scale and you know that there are – – that there have been only two people who have input scores, and that one of them has given you 1’s because they show up as the most recent entry and there are a bunch of 1’s, and you know that your average – – the average score, which is also given by these sites is a 3. Well, the mathematics are very simple. What number, averaged with 1, gives you 3, when there are two numbers to average. The answer is 5. So it’s only slightly more complicated to find out that, say, there are a total of four entries, and let’s suppose the average is now 2. You can still work backwards, carry out the calculations, and figure out what the average had to be before you were given a bunch of 1’s or zeros or whatever. And – – and I did do that.

MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm.

DR. MCKEE: So it’s – – it’s – – it’s a simple mathematical exercise.

MR. KELLY: I have seen, and perhaps you have, several of these Web sites’ ratings on which you received very favorable comments. Have you seen those?

DR. MCKEE: Yes, I have.

MR. KELLY: And do you think that it is possible that different people would have different perceptions, different reactions to their interactions with you?

DR. MCKEE: Of course.

MR. KELLY: And that those may be reflected in these crude numerical appreciations of – – that are expressed in these ratings.

DR. MCKEE: Yes.

MR. KELLY: There’s nothing scientific about them?

DR. MCKEE: Well, nothing very scientific; I’ll grant you.

MR. KELLY: And have you found, Doctor, in your inquiries or discussions with people that these rating services have any real significance among the patient population?

DR. MCKEE: It’s hard to know. The – – for me, this – – this finding on this iPhone application was much more disturbing. It – – it is the result of Mr. Laurion’s handiwork. It has much more potential to impact me, I think, than the – – you know, the – – the initial location of these. And I say that because, first of all, I don’t know how – – how often these things are consulted. I suspect that, among younger patients, probably quite routinely. Among older patients who I suspect don’t use the Internet very much, probably not as often. But for – – for a neurologist, at least in my practice, to some extent, to a large extent from a – – let’s say, a business standpoint rather than a professional one, my customers, if you will, are not so much the patients as their referring doctors. In fact, as – – the practice in – – in my clinic is that we, since the middle of 1993, don’t normally allow patients to self-refer. We make exceptions. You know, we very routinely let physicians and nurses self-refer, but we don’t let most patients self-refer because we used to find that maybe a quarter of patients that – – that would make an appointment, we would get them in and find out that they didn’t really have a neurologic problem, that they would have been better off seeing some other specialist.

MR. KELLY: Or their GP or their family physician, perhaps?

DR. MCKEE: Perhaps, but usually this is a situation where the family doctor or GP has given the person some reason to think that – – that this is outside his or her area of expertise and, you know, for whatever reason, hasn’t made a referral, so then the patient takes it upon himself to do this. But they get it wrong. You know, they – – not intentionally, of course, but just basically end up in the – – not seeing the most appropriate specialist. So many years back we took the policy of not allowing patients to self refer. And so if we think, from a business viewpoint that – – that my flow of patients depends on what their – – their primary physicians, and also some other types of specialists refer a lot to neurology and neurosurgeons – – orthopedic surgeons, rheumatologists, a few others. But – – but, you know, our flow of patients depends on the reputation that I have among these other physicians. And I hear from – – from the chief nonmedical person in our organization, who very much has his fingers on the pulse of what the primary care doctors do, that there’s this wonderful ap that you can get on your iPhone that they’re using a lot now for initial work-up and for referrals, that my name pops right up there, when you input neurologists, with these very unfavorable results. It would be hard to precisely quantify how much business I’ve lost from that, but it darn well isn’t a good thing. And I guess – – I apologize because I know that this has been a longwinded answer, but I want to make one other point about the harm here, and I mean this very sincerely. The work that I do is not – – I do not see my – – my job as, you know, see patients, dictate report, go home, get paid. It – – it isn’t anywhere near that simple. A very large part of what I consider to be the reward of my work is my reputation. If I worked solely with financial consideration in mind, my practice would be very different than what it is. About 10 percent of the patients I see are not able to pay, and we know that from the get-go.

MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm.

DR. MCKEE: And another 30 percent or so are not able to pay. These are primarily people on Medical Assistance. They are not going to be paying adequately to cover the overhead that I encounter during the time that I’m seeing them, so I’m getting paid something, but I’m losing money in seeing them. So this is in the ballpark of 40 percent of the practice time in terms of time spent seeing people that either aren’t go to pay anything – – you know that up front – – or that you will not get enough money to cover your overhead and you’ll be losing money. If – – if my sole motivation as a physician were to make money, I could very easily change my practice around. I could say, “We don’t see Medical Assistance and we don’t see people that don’t have verified insurance of some form, and if they don’t have insurance, they have to pay in advance.” If I did that, instead of working typically 65 hours a week and being on call for half the hours in a week, for which I get no compensation at all, I could work probably 35 or 40 hours a week and probably completely eliminate my call responsibilities, and I would make the same amount of money that I make now, and my lifestyle would greatly improve. So since that would be a very simple thing to do, and I don’t do it, it – – it should be fairly clear to see that – – that I do the work that I do for reasons that aren’t limited to financial compensation. So, you know, reputation is an awfully large part of that, and to have somebody make a cottage industry of out destroying my reputation, contacting fourteen physician groups and professional organizations, three media sources, four or five Web sites over the course of weeks, and – – and continuing to post and re-post what’s at his disposal, this is extraordinarily disturbing. I think you can understand why I’ve lost an awful lot of sleep over this over – – over the last months and why I felt compelled to pursue this.

MR. KELLY: If a patient or a close member of a patient family had what he or she considered to be a legitimate criticism or complaint about some aspect of your practice with a particular patient, it would be right for that person to articulate the criticism. Don’t you agree?

DR. MCKEE: I agree.

MR. KELLY: And for a layman, the precise target of that criticism, that is the place to lodge it, might not be well-known. Would you agree?

DR. MCKEE: I agree. I think that – – that the obvious first place to – – to place that concern is with a face-to-face or phone-to-phone encounter with the physician, that anything short of that is – – is somewhat passive aggressive.

MR. KELLY: Doctor – –

DR. MCKEE: Making over two dozen contacts without having made any effort to interact with the physician is not just passive aggressive; it’s malicious.

MR. KELLY: When you were first apprised of Dennis Laurion’s response, reaction, as he wrote it down, your encounter with Kenneth Laurion, as I recollect it, it was when this patient of yours brought this Web site posting to your attention. Am I right?

DR. MCKEE: That’s correct.

MR. KELLY: Did you ever once attempt to contact Dennis Laurion?

DR. MCKEE: Essentially, yes.

MR. KELLY: How?

DR. MCKEE: Once that was brought to my attention, that same day I asked my office manager when Kenneth Laurion’s follow-up appointment was scheduled, and she checked and found that at the time of discharge they had erred and had not made a follow-up appointment. I say “erred” because making a follow-up appointment, a post-hospitalization appointment for somebody who’s had a stroke is pretty routine. And so once she related this to me, and very much with the knowledge in mind that Dennis Laurion had made these postings, I told her to be sure to contact Kenneth Laurion and schedule him for a follow-up appointment and to do it as soon as was practical.

MR. KELLY: Did she?

DR. MCKEE: She – – she did.

MR. KELLY: And what did she report back to you?

DR. MCKEE: I will tell you what she reported back to me. She reported that she made the appointment and talked to Lois Laurion, Ken – –

MR. KELLY: Kenneth’s wife, Lois?

DR. MCKEE: – – Kenneth’s wife.

MR. KELLY: Yes?

DR. MCKEE: And that she related that she would be happy to bring him in for his appointment. But either in that conversation or in one that occurred the next day, and I can’t remember which, Lois Laurion conveyed to my then office manager that Dennis Laurion had told her that he would under no circumstances bring his father in for this follow-up appointment, and so she regretted – – Lois Laurion regretted that, as they depended on Dennis Laurion for transportation and that he was refusing to bring his father in, that they probably would not be able to keep his appointment. So it was very much my goal, in having this follow-up appointment made, to have the opportunity to talk to Dennis Laurion, with the expectation that he would be there.

MR. KELLY: All right. Bearing in mind what you’ve told me, did you, in follow up, attempt, not through your office manager or through a nurse, but yourself directly, to make contact with Kenneth Laurion or with Lois or with Dennis or with Bonnie – –

DR. MCKEE: Her – –

MR. KELLY: – – to see if you could – –

DR. MCKEE: Sorry.

MR. KELLY: – – clear this thing up?

DR. MCKEE: It – – it was the impression of my office manager that Lois Laurion and Kenneth Laurion wanted to come in for a follow-up appointment, and so therefore it was my understanding, from what she told me, that they didn’t perceive a problem. Obviously, Dennis Laurion did, since there didn’t appear to be a problem from the standpoint of the patient, who, in fact, is my principal concern, really; my only professional concern. It – – it seemed somewhat less of an issue and definitely less of a medical quality of care issue.

MR. KELLY: So the answer to my question is no?

DR. MCKEE: No. You’re – – it’s correct.

MR. KELLY: All right. I just have these few questions and we’ll quit, Doctor. Your practice is primarily a practice based on referrals from various family practitioners and specifically groups that you’ve already told me about. Correct?

DR. MCKEE: That’s correct.

MR. KELLY: And the success or lack of success of your practice or that of any specialist in this or any other medical community is very much dependent on how these other practitioners view how you’re treating their patients. Correct?

DR. MCKEE: Yes.

MR. KELLY: And I gather that, in this community, you have the esteem of the other practitioners in the clinics in this city. Would you say that’s true?

DR. MCKEE: Well, I – – I think I would say very definitely. But, of course, esteem isn’t something that – – you know, it’s not like $5 bill. You either have one in your pocket or you don’t. There are all levels of esteem – –

MR. KELLY: Okay.

DR. MCKEE: – – that a person can have.

MR. KELLY: Have you noticed that any of the physicians who have referred to you patients have ceased referring you patients?

DR. MCKEE: It’s not something that would be easy for me to notice. My referral base is huge.

MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm.

DR. MCKEE: It’s – – it’s literally hundreds of physicians, and a lot of those physicians could – – could go quite a few months before there was any need to refer a patient to me. So this isn’t something that, you know, you would – – you know, it’s – – it’s not as if to say there are ten doctors that refer to me, and I can say, “Gosh, three of them have stopped.” There are truly hundreds of physicians that refer to me, and apart from from a, you know, large handful, most of these refer a relatively small number of patients in a given year. And so it would – – it would really take quite a while to – – to reach any conclusions like that. If somebody didn’t refer a patient to me for three months, you say, “Oh, my gosh, Dr. Smith hasn’t referred to me in these last three months.” You wouldn’t think anything of it. You would realize that he could easily go that many or more months without referring you to, and then the next week he might refer three patients to you. Just – – just, you know, luck of the draw in terms of his need to make referrals.

MR. KELLY: Is it often the case, Doctor, that after you have had a chance to examine a patient referred to you that you will write a note or some type of communication to the referring physician?

DR. MCKEE: Essentially, always.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. And, you know, just because – – you’ve already done a note for the chart, but you usually send a little letter that will say, you know, “This is my basic finding, and thanks a lot for sending the patient to me”?

DR. MCKEE: The fact of the matter is that my normal format, except in the case of hospital consultations, where there’s a set format, is to do my consultation report in the form of a letter. So, “Dear Dr. Smith: Thank you for referring Mr. Jones for evaluation of his left-hand numbness. You will recall that Mr. Jones is a pleasant 72-year-old gentleman who developed left-handed numbness very suddenly seventeen days ago,” and – –

MR. KELLY: Etcetera?

DR. MCKEE: – – so on from there.

MR. KELLY: Do you typically get any feedback from these letters that you send to referring physicians? I’d guess not, but do you?

DR. MCKEE: In the vast majority of cases, no.

MR. KELLY: Do you have any reason, as you sit here, to believe that any of the physicians from whom you have received referrals in the past have stopped or diminished their referrals to you because of anything that Mr. Laurion has done?

DR. MCKEE: I don’t have any reliable way of assessing that. There would be no way for me to say with certainty that there had been a drop in referrals.

MR. KELLY: Are you – – you have alluded to at least one medical organization that you spoke of?

DR. MCKEE: Well, I’m active in a lot of medical organizations.

MR. KELLY: I know, and that’s what I’m getting to.

DR. MCKEE: Yes.

MR. KELLY: What are the other local organizations that you participate in? We all belong to professional societies.

DR. MCKEE: Right.

MR. KELLY: I’m just wondering which ones you are active in.

DR. MCKEE: I am – – Marshall, do you have a copy of my C. V.?

MR. TANICK: Well, just answer. I do, but why don’t you just answer the question as best you can, to your recollection.

DR. MCKEE: I’m, of course, active on the medical staff at St. Luke’s Hospital. I’m active – –

MR. KELLY: Do you have a position? Chief of Staff or something of that nature at St. Luke’s Hospital at the present time?

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. KELLY: Have you had such a position in the past?

DR. MCKEE: I was the – – the Chief of the Section of Neurology for quite a few years.

MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm.

DR. MCKEE: Up to about 2003.

MR. KELLY: Okay.

DR. MCKEE: I’ve – – I am on the executive committee and the board for Northland Medical Associates. I’m on the executive committee and the board for Integrity Health Network.

MR. KELLY: How did you get that position?

DR. MCKEE: It’s an elected position.

MR. KELLY: All right. Thanks.

DR. MCKEE: I’m not sure where to draw the line here. I – – I’m on the medical staffs of, you know, the hospitals that we mentioned before, and that all involves interactions with – – with physicians and – – and that sort of thing. Are you asking me about – – when you say “active,” are you asking about positions with titles or just – –

MR. KELLY: No. For example, do you belong to the St. Louis County Medical Society?

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. KELLY: All right. Are there any other local medical societies?

DR. MCKEE: Well, if you consider the Minnesota Medical Association local.

MR. KELLY: Are you a member of that?

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. KELLY: Are you a member of the AMA?

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. KELLY: Okay.

DR. MCKEE: Those three basically come as sort of a set. You normally belong to your county, state, and the AMA or you don’t belong to any of them.

MR. KELLY: The last time I looked, 20, 25 percent of physicians were in the AMA these days.

DR. MCKEE: Right.

MR. KELLY: Okay, those are all the questions I have for you, Doctor. Appreciate your patience and your being here today. Thank you.

MR. TANICK: Why don’t we take a short break and see if there’s anything I want to ask him.

MR. TANICK:  Dr. McKee, I have a few questions to ask of you. And let me start by asking [ the reporter ] if you could mark that, please, as Exhibit 19. And I’ll give John a copy. I don’t have an extra copy, but I shall let him see it first.

MR. KELLY:Let me just take a look at it. I’ve seen that, I think.

MR. TANICK: Okay. Dr. McKee, I’m showing you Exhibit 19. Is that what you refer to as a curriculum vitae or resume?

DR. MCKEE: Yes.

MR. TANICK: And is that something that you use in your business practice, your current business practice?

DR. MCKEE: It’s a current curriculum vitae. Yeah, it’s something that goes out here or there occasionally, yes.

MR. TANICK: Okay. And you talked about your reputation. I’ll ask you how important it is to you. Presumably it is to most of us, but are there things that you try to do to foster or help or promote your reputation?

DR. MCKEE: Well, I – – you know, I try to be the – – the best neurologist that I absolutely can, and that includes the, you know, nuts and bolts of getting a diagnosis right and embarking on the right treatment, as well as interacting professionally and compassionately with patients. I’m not sure how else to answer that question.

MR. TANICK: You mentioned you were not a member of the American Medical Association, the state medical association, and the county medical association. I — I think there’s a – – many people think that if – – those are sort of organizations that doctors must be a member of, and we have the same thing in our profession, that kind of three-tiered bar association. But why aren’t you a member of those organizations?

DR. MCKEE: Those are mainly political organizations, and – – that’s mine.

MR. TANICK: (Indicating.)

DR. MCKEE: Sorry. Those are primarily political organizations. They’re not – – they’re not so much involved with – – with day-to-day professional activity, and I don’t really see eye to eye politically with a lot of the views of the AMA, and I have less concern about the state medical society. But as I mentioned before – – and the county medical society is almost just a social organization. But – –

MR. TANICK: Well – –

DR. MCKEE: – – membership in one pretty much implies membership in all three.

MR. TANICK: Those organizations aren’t – – are they not – – they’re not reflective of one’s medical skills or ability?

DR. MCKEE: Oh, no, not at all. Anybody – – any – – any physician can join them. It’s – –

MR. TANICK: All right. I want to ask you a few questions relating to this particular case. Mr. Kelly asked you about the – – your entrance into Kenneth Laurion’s room after you found out he was in a ward room. Do you have a standard, habitual practice of what you say to people when you enter the room, if they’re comatose and not confused? I mean, is there something you generally say?

DR. MCKEE: If they’re not comatose?

MR. TANICK: If they’re not comatose or confused.

DR. MCKEE: Yes, it’s not some canned speech or anything – –

MR. TANICK: Right.

DR. MCKEE: – – but – – but, as I mentioned before, you know – –

MR. TANICK: Well, do you introduce yourself in a certain way?

DR. MCKEE: I always introduce myself – –

MR. TANICK: Do you – – and how – –

REPORTER: Just a minute. You’re both – –

MR. TANICK: Just a second. Do you introduce yourself in a certain way? Do you say, “I’m Dr. McKee”?

DR. MCKEE: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: Do you say, “I’m Dr. David McKee”? Is there a certain standard practice you have?

DR. MCKEE: Yeah. I always say I’m – – “Hello, I’m Dr. McKee, and I’m the neurologist, ” or “I’m the neurologist that Dr. Gilbertson asked to come and see you.”

MR. TANICK: All right. Do you have any reason to believe you did not follow that practice with respect to Mr. Laurion?

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. TANICK: Likewise, is your – – what is your practice with respect to knocking on the door or – – or indicating you’re about to enter before you enter a room? A hospital room?

DR. MCKEE: Well, I – – I think I already described that, but I – – you know, I always knock on the door if the door is open, the door frame, or the window next to the door.

MR. TANICK: Do you have any reason to believe you did not do that with respect to Mr. Laurion?

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. TANICK: In his Web postings and his various other comments, Mr. Laurion asserts that you said words to the effect that Mr. Laurion’s father was talking about therapy he had undergone, and you said words to the effect – – well, he quotes you. He quotes you as saying, “Therapy,” ques – – “Therapist,” question mark. “You don’t need therapy,” unquote. You read that. Right? You’re aware he said that about you?

DR. MCKEE: I read that he said that about me.

MR. TANICK: Did you say that?

DR. MCKEE: Absolutely not. That isn’t even the way I speak, and – –

MR. TANICK: Well, did you say something else to – –

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. TANICK: – – or equivalent or similar or resembling that?

DR. MCKEE: No. I just – – I just do not do that. It’s not the – – it’s not the way I speak. It’s just – – no, I did not say that.

MR. TANICK: Did you say anything – – do you remember saying anything relative to therapy or therapists for – – with respect to Mr. Laurion?

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. TANICK: Generally speaking, do you have a – – how would you characterize your relationship with the – – with nurses with whom you’ve worked or had occasion to interact with through the years?

DR. MCKEE: Well, acknowledging that – – that often times what a person thinks other people think about him isn’t the same as what is they really do think about them, I think – – I think it’s excellent.

MR. TANICK: Have you ever had any complaints to any hospital authorities or any other people in charge of your work or overseeing your work from any other nurses or hospital personnel about you or your behavior or conduct or treatment?

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. TANICK: Do you – – how much work did you do, or how much work have you done with or at St. Mary’s Medical Center over the years?

DR. MCKEE: Very little. The – – as I mentioned an hour or more ago, St. Mary’s at some point, I think the late ’90s or maybe the early – – early 2000’s, closed its staff, and it basically became next to impossible for physicians who weren’t employed – – were not employed by SMDC to do work there. So I haven’t had a patient at St. Mary’s Medical Center probably for at least ten years. Prior to that, I would guess that I maybe averaged one inpatient consultation or admission a year.

MR. TANICK: Are you saying since approximately the year 2000 or 2001 you didn’t see any patients at St. Mary’s.

DR. MCKEE: Yes.

MR. TANICK: Do you know any of the nurses there on a personal or social or professional basis?

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. TANICK: Do you know whether any of them are familiar with you or your practice?

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. TANICK: Have you ever heard any rumbling about – – about you having a bad reputation amongst the nurses at St. Mary’s or hospital personnel?

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. TANICK: Mr. Laurion says that he – – and he wrote in his Web site, you heard his testimony, that he ran into a friend nurse at the – – I almost said it again – – at the Post Office, the Lakeside Post Office, shortly after your treatment of his father, and she made the comment, according to Mr. Laurion, that you are a – – “Dr. McKee is a tool,” unquote. You’ve heard that before or read that – –

DR. MCKEE: Yes.

MR. TANICK: – – in connection with this case. Right?

DR. MCKEE: Yeah, I have.

MR. TANICK: Do you have any idea what that – – have you ever heard that phrase used in any context, like somebody’s a tool?

DR. MCKEE: I never heard it used about me. I – – I guess I’ve heard it. I – – I’ve never quite known exactly what it means, but I’ve always thought that it meant something to the effect of, you know, this is a person that, you know, is sort of a lick-ass who will do whatever is politically expedient. But I don’t know that that’s the correct definition or not. That’s a definition that doesn’t fit me very well.

MR. TANICK: Have you ever heard that phrase applied to you – –

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. TANICK: – – as a tool, other than in this case?

DR. MCKEE: Except here.

MR. TANICK: Do you have any – – do you have any reason to believe or think about how – – who or how that statement could have been made to Mr. Laurion, or by whom?

DR. MCKEE: I don’t have any idea as far as – – you know, like I said, I, it should be clear, had next to no contact with the nursing staff at St. Mary’s, especially in the last ten years. And I did make a – – I don’t – – I don’t know most of the physicians at St. Mary’s very well. I – – I have some interactions with some of their rehab people and the neurosurgeons that have come and gone over the years and, to a lesser degree, some of the neurologists that have been there. Beyond that, the physicians that I know that practice at St. Mary’s are people that I’ve met socially rather than professionally. I did make a call yesterday evening to a general surgeon that I know socially, who has been a long-term employee there for, I guess, the better part of the last twenty years and gave the description of this nurse to him the way Dennis Laurion gave it to us yesterday – – that is, something a little taller than average height, maybe 5-5, 5-6, trim build, 50s, dark blonde or light brunette hair, graying – – and described Mr. Laurion’s former work at St. Mary’s and described the interaction in the way in which he encountered nurses and mentioned that he had described this nurse working at least part of the time on the night shift when he worked and asked this surgeon, Dr. Steven Eyer, if he knew anybody that fit that description, and he said he didn’t.

MR. TANICK: Okay. In – – in your encounter with Mr. Laurion, Kenneth Laurion – – the defendant, Dennis Laurion, stated in his Web site postings and his other communications – – some of the other communications that you made a reference while you were in the room there to the percentage of hemorrhagic stroke patients who die in the ICU, who didn’t get out of the ICU. And Mr. Laurion testified that you said 44 percent. You heard that his wife said that you said some percentage or – – but doesn’t remember the specific number, and that’s maybe what his mother heard too. Let me ask you. Did you say anything about a percentage or a statistic or a number or a figure relating to the likelihood of stroke patients – – hemorrhagic stroke patients expiring?

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. TANICK: Did that come up at all during the encounter?

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. TANICK: Well, how can you know that if you see – – how many patients do you see a year on a typical – – let’s just say a week?

DR. MCKEE: Well, for slightly different reasons, I did a little back-of-the-envelope calculation yesterday, and I – – I see, in an average day, perhaps fifteen or sixteen patients, of which, on average, maybe a dozen of those will be new to me. And I would say that, on average, they would have two – – maybe the average would be a little less than two – – family members in tow. Of course, some of them are there by themselves. So, you know, five days a week, maybe a dozen new people with family members.

MR. TANICK: It would be several hundred a year, I take it, is that what you’re saying?

DR. MCKEE: No. It would be thousands a year.

MR. TANICK: It would be several hundred a month?

DR. MCKEE: Yes.

MR. TANICK: A thousand. How many of those – – roughly, how many hemorrhagic stroke patients would you see in a typical week, month, or year, if you can help us with that?

DR. MCKEE: New patients as opposed to what I’m seeing in a follow-up?

MR. TANICK: Right.

DR. MCKEE: I would say that – – that it would probably be a few a month.

MR. TANICK: So over the course of a typical year, you may see a few dozen new hemorrhagic stroke patients?

DR. MCKEE: Yeah. I would say maybe – – yes, you know, something like that.

MR. TANICK: Well, how can you remember, then, what you didn’t say to Mr. Laurion and his family about the percentage of hemorrhagic stroke patients who die?

DR. MCKEE: Because I’d never seen that statistic before, and it’s not – – it’s not – – it’s not a common-knowledge statistic among neurologists. You know, we found it by searching for it, and the source is Wikipedia. Now, whoever wrote the Wikipedia article presumably had some source from which he got it, but it isn’t something that comes out of – – you know, it’s not a major piece of – – of general data that neurologists have on hand, and I would guess that if you took 100 neurologists and said, “Okay, what’s the percentage of patients with hemorrhagic stokes that die within the first month,” my guess is none of them would come up with 44 percent. People would say, “Gee, maybe it’s 20 percent, maybe 30.” Somebody might guess 40 or more. But this isn’t a – – this is not a common – – commonly quotes or known number – –

MR. TANICK: Was – –

DR. MCKEE: – – to the best of my knowledge.

MR. TANICK: Was it a number that you were aware of or had in your mind on April 19th, when you treated Dr. – – Mr. Laurion?

DR. MCKEE: Absolutely not.

MR. TANICK: If someone had asked you that day, April 19, 2010, “Doctor, how many hemorrhagic stroke patients die within a month” – – “within 30 days,” what would you have said?

DR. MCKEE: I would have said it’s probably somewhere between a third and half, probably closer to a third.

MR. TANICK: Okay.

DR. MCKEE: And I – – I’m sure I wouldn’t have been any more precise than that, because I wouldn’t have been able to. I still don’t know if that – – you know, where that 44% comes from, what – – what study or database that may be.

MR. TANICK: Didn’t come from you?

DR. MCKEE: It didn’t come from me.

MR. TANICK: All right.

DR. MCKEE: It was attributed to me with quotation marks, but it definitely did not come from me.

MR. TANICK: Now, Mr. – – you were asked about patients or family members, people who encounter doctors like you, having criticisms from time to time of doctors. Right?

DR. MCKEE: Right.

MR. TANICK: Okay. It – – and you realize, of course, that Mr. Laurion, in his postings and other communications, was quite critical of what you did?

DR. MCKEE: Yes.

MR. TANICK: Is – – are you – – are you bringing – – or did you write the – – or did you cause me to write the cease – – the letter I wrote to Mr. Laurion because you didn’t like his criticism?

DR. MCKEE: No, not per se. What I didn’t like is that he – – he made very inaccurate factual statements about what happened and about what I said. His right to criticize me is, of course, you know very appropriate, and – – and I certainly understand that – – you know, believe me, I know that you can’t be in any profession for months and certainly not years, without somebody subjectively being dissatisfied, and – – and certainly somebody, you know, like that has a right to – – to express their dissatisfaction. But that’s not what happened here. These were – – his criticisms and what he wrote was blatantly inaccurate. I’m not talking about his subjective opinion. I don’t care if Mr. Laurion likes or dislikes me, but – – what he wrote was just utterly inaccurate.

MR. TANICK: Mr. Laurion wrote about this incident involving his father to some fourteen, I think it was, different organizations. Some were licensed – – one is the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice – – and other peer groups, and some were licensing-related authorities, some weren’t?

DR. MCKEE: Physician – – physician groups in town.

MR. TANICK: Right. Did you get any – – were you aware of which – – what conclusions or – – were reached by any of these different organizations as to this matter?

DR. MCKEE: Well, you know, it was a real shotgun approach. He wrote to anybody that had anything to do with medicine anywhere, and – – and though some of those could have harmful, because the people that would receive the letters are peers or involved with health care in a way that matters to me. They – – a lot of these – – in fact, probably the majority of them – – don’t have any kind of authority, that the letters were – – you know, they were not directed to appropriate agencies and organizations. But, you know, I’ve got their – – their responses from Dr. Peterson, who thought the complaint was intrinsically so preposterous, that – – that it didn’t require investigation.

MR. TANICK: Well, how do you know – – excuse me. How do you know what he thought?

DR. MCKEE: Because that’s what he told me.

MR. TANICK: Okay

DR. MCKEE: And yesterday Dennis Laurion was trying to come up with a name of a woman at St. Luke’s with whom he discussed these issues, and – – and so forth, and I suspect from his description of – – of the person and her role that he was trying to come up with Kathy Johnson’s name. She’s the director of quality assurance there. And – –

MR. TANICK: Did you have some feedback from her about this matter?

DR. MCKEE: I did. It was informal, but I – – because Mr. Kelly wanted access to – – to, you know, every place it seemed that I have had or have medical privileges and wanted to be able to delve into my professional – –

MR. TANICK: Well, let me just ask you this. Okay. I’m sorry to cut you off, but what feedback did you receive from Ms. Johnson?

DR. MCKEE: Well, I had to present to her his – – the form whereby she could release information to him, and she was – – she had a very good memory of this whole thing, and she expressed to me her sympathies for being dragged through the mud over all of this, and – – and felt that the complaint was – – was absurd. And obviously that’s her subjective opinion and all, but she thought it was outrageous and very offensive.

MR. TANICK: How about – –

DR. MCKEE: I’ve also had the feedback ultimately from the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice.

MR. TANICK: That was my next question. What feedback did you get from them?

DR. MCKEE: That they dismissed the two Laurion complaints, which are really quite obviously one, with a second go-around with it.

MR. TANICK: How was that communicated to you?

DR. MCKEE: By letter.

MR. TANICK: that the charges were dismissed or not acted upon?

DR. MCKEE: Yes, dismissed.

MR. TANICK: What – – did – – was this lawsuit that you brought against Mr. Laurion inspired by, prompted by, motivated by his filing any complaints or charges, formal or informal, against you with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice? Is that the reason you – –

DR. MCKEE: No.

MR. TANICK: – – brought this suit?

DR. MCKEE: No, of course not.

MR. TANICK: Well, why did you bring this suit?

DR. MCKEE: Because of – – of the damage my reputation that occurred from, you know, his – – initially, the Web postings. I mean, that was really the thing that got this whole thing going, and of course, as we went along, discovered all these other place that he had fired off letters and sent copies of things and so forth. But all of this was commenced as a result of this – – this Web nonsense.

MR. TANICK: All right. I don’t have anything else.

KELLY:Doctor, can we agree that there are only five people who know what went on in that hospital room on April 19, 2010, those five being you, Dennis, Bonnie, Lois, and Kenneth Laurion?

DR. MCKEE: I think we can agree on that.

MR. KELLY:That’s all I have. Thank you. Appreciate it.

MR. TANICK: We’ll read and sign.

 

Grand Forks Herald: “Duluth Doctor Appealing Judge’s Decision To Toss Out Defamation Suit”

“Duluth Doctor Appealing Judge’s Decision To Toss Out Defamation Suit” 

Grand Forks Herald 

June 25, 2011

A Duluth, Minnesota, physician whose defamation suit against a former patient’s son was thrown out of district court said he has no choice but to file an appeal. Dr. David McKee, a neurologist with Northland Neurology and Myology, said he still is being targeted in online attacks related to the lawsuit he filed in June 2010 against Dennis Laurion.

McKee, who treated Laurion’s father after he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, alleges that Laurion made false statements about him to neurological associations, other physicians, St. Luke’s hospital and the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Advisory Committee, among others. He is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

McKee said a sudden concentration of unfavorable critiques about him cropped up online shortly before Sixth District Judge Eric Hylden dismissed the suit. “It appears that Mr. Laurion made over 100 adverse postings on the Internet once he became aware that he was going to receive a favorable decision on the motion for summary judgment,” McKee said. “Appealing seems to me the only way to curb the activities of this malicious person.”

Laurion said he has not posted anything on the Internet about McKee since the lawsuit was filed last June. He said his lawyer advised him not to. But, because the case was thrown out, technically he could if he wanted to, he said. Laurion said he was aware there was an influx of Internet chatter about McKee after a link to a story about McKee appeared on the high-traffic website Reddit. ( *** )

Marshall Tanick, the Minneapolis lawyer who is representing McKee, said the appellate court will have a hearing before a three-judge panel in the fall or later this year. “(McKee) believes the trial judge erred in dismissing the lawsuit,” Tanick said. “He is asking the appellate court to reverse the decision and reinstate the case so that he has his day in court before a jury.”

Kenneth Laurion spent four days at St. Luke’s hospital in April 2010. John Kelly, Dennis Laurion’s lawyer, told the Duluth News Tribune last summer they didn’t feel McKee acted appropriately toward their father, and they reported it to the hospital and Board of Medical Practice.

Hylden wrote in his 18-page order dismissing the suit that the court did not find Laurion’s statements about McKee defamatory, “but rather a sometimes emotional discussion of the issues.”

SOURCE

( *** ) [A] user on Reddit posted the newspaper story. Almost overnight, dozens of “reviews” popped up on RateMDs.com and other sites with outlandish commentary on McKee, who was referred to as “the dickface doctor of Duluth.”

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

 

KZGO FM Radio: “Court Rejects Case Of Doc Who Sued Over ‘Real Tool’ Remark”

“Court Rejects Case Of Doc Who Sued Over ‘Real Tool’ Remark” 

Ben Holsen   

KZGO FM Radio 

January 30, 2013

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out the case of a Duluth doctor who sued after a patient’s son called him “a real tool” on a rate-your-doctor website.

In the court ruling, the justices noted that there was no proof that six comments made by the son were false or harmful to the neurologist’s reputation.

The unanimous opinion reversed an earlier Appeals Court decision and effectively rejects the lawsuit of Dr. David McKee, who had been in a two-year legal battle with Dennis Laurion. McKee had alleged defamation and claimed the comments interfered with his business.

Observers said the case presented an interesting battle between free speech rights and the rights of workers to protect their professional reputations.

Laurion had been upset with McKee’s bedside manner as he was treating his father after a hemorrhagic stroke in April 2010. Among the comments that Laurion posted to an online doctor review site was the assertion by a nurse friend of his that “Dr. McKee is a real tool!”

The court ruled that comment was protected by the First Amendment: “Referring to someone as ‘a real tool’ falls into the category of pure opinion because the term ‘real tool’ cannot be reasonably interpreted as stating a fact and it cannot be proven true or false.”

Laurion told the Duluth News Tribune, “The initial excitement has not worn off. I’m very gratified it’s all over.”

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

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion References And Precedents

Healthcare Magazine: “Bedside Manner, Office Staff Can Stem or Stir Patient Lawsuits”

“Bedside Manner, Office Staff Can Stem or Stir Patient Lawsuits” 

Kimberly K Bocelli 

Healthcare Magazine, The Business Of Healthcare In North Texas 

January 2, 2013

Bedside Manner: The Dr. Marcus Welby Factor

I have defended numerous medical malpractice lawsuits that stemmed from a single, bad conversation or interaction between a patient and his or her physician.

Even physicians and other health care providers have bad days or personal issues that seem to roll over into their work life. The problem is that patients expect the archetypal Marcus Welby physician who can turn a 20-minute visit into solutions for all of their medical and personal problems using some aspirin and a good counseling session.

With more patients and less time these days, that scenario is becoming a fond, fictional memory. Even so, health care providers need to treat every patient encounter like it’s the only one that counts. Even on their worst personal days, health care providers need to stop, count to 10, take a deep breath, and – when they walk through the exam room door – put on their best Marcus Welby face. Even personal irritability can be perceived as impatience with a patient, or even worse, insensitivity to your patient’s needs.

When discussing sensitive issues or delivering bad news, you need to consider how you would have that same conversation with your mother, son or best friend. That’s not to suggest that you need to change your personality, or not be human. What’s key is for health care providers to remember that good customer service goes a long way. Even seemingly no-nonsense physicians can establish a quality rapport with their patients, as long as the patient believes the physician is taking her concerns seriously and is attentive to her needs. Though you are an educated, trained professional, you are still providing a service, and in our fast-paced service-filled lives, patients want “service with a smile.” Remember: When patients perceive that their physician is unsympathetic, inattentive or uncaring, then legal troubles can start to brew. 

Office Staff: You Are Who You Hire

Patients spend the majority of their medical visits interacting with non-physician staff. That means physicians should be keenly aware of the roles their staff members play in patient care, and the impressions non-physician staff make on patients.

Some physicians still fall prey to the temptation of over-delegating tasks to their staff, forgetting that the Texas Medical Practice Act limits exactly how much work a physician can legally delegate. Physicians also can easily overlook patient perceptions of the office experience, including the environment, front office personnel, staff nurses and medical assistants, waiting times, cultural sensitivity and office policies. Each of these elements impacts a patient’s health care experience and how they perceive their physician. Unfortunately, many Internet physician reviews read something like this: “Love my doctor, but the staff is rude.”

Under the legal principles of agency and respondeat superior, physicians are liable for the conduct of their employees. That includes liability for any injury to a patient due to the negligence of a physician’s employees or agents. So, even if you provide outstanding care to, you may still be subject to liability based on missteps committed by staff members.

Further, a physician may also be liable for the conduct of non-employees if the physician supervises or has the right to supervise the non-employee. This is true for both the clinical and non-clinical aspects of practice. For example, physicians are responsible for ensuring that their staffs comply with billing regulations and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as acting as competent clinical providers. Not every negative staff encounter will turn into a legal issue, but it may result in the loss of a patient, which impacts your bottom line.

This all goes back to a physician’s bedside manner: Not only must the patient like you, but also your staff. If a patient perceives a receptionist, a medical assistant or a billing manager as rude, inconsiderate or apathetic to her concerns, then that perception directly reflects upon you – which can result in the loss of a patient, a bad internet review or. worse, legal action.

Remember, you became a health care professional because you love treating patients. Keep that in mind during every patient encounter and make sure your staff does the same.

REMARKS:

Vickie Pearson: You are so right, Kimberly! Our family doctor used to draw blood right there in her office; if you had an 8:30 appt, you were stuck and out of there by 8:45. Now, they have changed and we have to go to another office 2 floors up and have our blood drawn. So Bob picked up the paperwork from our Doctor at 8:25 and took it upstairs and signed in there at 8:30. At 9:00 he went up to the window and asked the young lady there when he would be called because he needed to get in to work. She had been texting and looked up like he was bothering her, motioned behind her to the nurse(?) who was eating a donut, and that person said , “Probably about 10”. Bob got furious and we left and now he’s mad at our family doctor because she has implemented this new process that appears to be run by incompetents or at the very least, totally unprofessionals. He’s even talking about getting a new doctor! It makes a huge difference with whom you have to interact!

McKee V Laurion: Article by: ABBY SIMONS , Star Tribune, Updated January 30, 2013 – 9:59 PM

Finding no harm done, justices toss out lawsuit by Duluth physician. Dennis Laurion fired off his screed on a few rate-your-doctor websites in April 2010, along with some letters about what he saw as poor bedside manner by his father’s neurologist. He expected at most what he calls a “non-apology apology.”

“I really thought I’d receive something within a few days along the lines of ‘I’m sorry you thought I was rude, that was not my intent’ and that would be the end of it,” the 66-year-old Duluth retiree said. “I certainly did not expect to be sued.”

He was. Dr. David McKee’s defamation lawsuit was the beginning of a four-year legal battle that ended Wednesday when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled the doctor had no legal claim against Laurion because there was no proof that his comments were false or were capable of harming the doctor’s reputation.

The unanimous ruling reverses an earlier Appeals Court decision and brings to an end the closely watched case that brought to the forefront a First Amendment debate over the limits of free speech online.

It’s a frustrating end for McKee, 51, who said he’s spent at least $50,000 in legal fees and another $11,000 to clear his name online after the story went viral, resulting in hundreds more negative postings about him — likely from people who never met him. He hasn’t ruled out a second lawsuit stemming from those posts. “The financial costs are significant, but money is money and five years from now I won’t notice the money I spent on this,” he said. “It’s been the harm to my reputation through the repeated publicity and the stress.”

He said he offered to settle the case at no cost after the Supreme Court hearing. Laurion contends they couldn’t agree on the terms of the settlement, and said he not only deleted his initial postings after he was initially served, but had nothing to do with subsequent online statements about McKee.

The lawsuit followed the hospitalization of Laurion’s father, Kenneth, for a hemorrhagic stroke at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth. Laurion, his mother and his wife were also in the room when McKee examined the father and made the statements that Laurion interpreted as rude. After his father was discharged, he wrote the reviews and sent the letters.

On at least two sites, Laurion wrote that McKee said that “44 percent of hemorrhagic strokes die within 30 days. I guess this is the better option,” and that “It doesn’t matter that the patient’s gown did not cover his backside.”

Laurion also wrote: “When I mentioned Dr. McKee’s name to a friend who is a nurse, she said, ‘Dr. McKee is a real tool!'”

McKee sued after he learned of the postings from another patient. A St. Louis County judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying Laurion’s statements were either protected opinion, substantially true or too vague to convey a defamatory meaning.

The Appeals Court reversed that ruling regarding six of Laurion’s statements, reasoning that they were factual assertions and not opinions, that they harmed McKee’s reputation and that they could be proven as false.The Supreme Court disagreed. Writing the opinion, Justice Alan Page noted that McKee acknowledged that the gist of some of the statements were true, even if they were misinterpreted.

Page added that the “tool” statements also didn’t pass the test of defaming McKee’s character. He dismissed an argument by McKee’s attorney, Marshall Tanick, that the “tool” comment was fabricated by Laurion and that the nurse never existed. Whether it was fabricated or not was irrelevant, the court ruled. “Referring to someone as ‘a real tool’ falls into the category of pure opinion because the term ‘real tool’ cannot be reasonably interpreted as stating a fact and it cannot be proven true or false,” Page wrote.

Marshall Tanick said the ruling could present a slippery slope. “This decision gives individuals a license to make derogatory and disparaging statements about doctors, professionals and really anyone for that matter on the Internet without much recourse,” he said.

Jane Kirtley disagreed. The professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism said the ruling stems from “an elementary principle of libel law. I understand the rhetoric, but this is not a blank check for people to make false factual statements,” she said. “Rather, it’s an endorsement that statements of opinion are protected under the First Amendment.”

Laurion’s attorney, John D. Kelly, said the fact that Laurion’s speech was made online was inconsequential to the ruling, which treated it as a standard defamation case. “It’s almost as if things were said around the water cooler or perhaps posted in a letter to the editor,” he said. “I think the principles they worked with are applicable to statements made irrespective of the medium.” 

Content Scraper: Doctor David McKee, a neurologist with Northland Neurology and Myology, practicing at St. Luke’s Hospital, told the Duluth News Tribune he was disappointed and frustrated. “We need to change the law so someone with a personal vendetta who is going to use the Internet to make defamatory statements can be held responsible,” he said.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune said it’s a frustrating end for McKee, 51, who said he’s spent at least $50,000 in legal fees and another $11,000 to clear his name online after the story went viral, resulting in hundreds more negative postings about him — likely from people who never met him. He hasn’t ruled out a second lawsuit stemming from those posts.

“The financial costs are significant, but money is money and five years from now I won’t notice the money I spent on this,” he said. “It’s been the harm to my reputation through the repeated publicity and the stress.”

McKee’s lawyer, Marshall Tanick, told the Associated Press that he and McKee plan no further appeals and that they were disappointed with the ruling. “We feel it gives individuals undue license to make disparaging and derogatory statements about these people, particularly doctors and other licensed professionals, on the Internet without much recourse,” Tanick said.

Marshall Tanick told the Star Tribune that the ruling could present a slippery slope. “This decision gives individuals a license to make derogatory and disparaging statements about doctors, professionals and really anyone for that matter on the Internet without much recourse,” he said.

In reply to an e-patients.net article “Minnesota Supreme Court sides with patient on social media defamation suit,” Attorney Marilyn Mann said, “I think McKee’s lawyer is incorrect. The case turned on standard principles of defamation law and doesn’t really break new ground.”

Jane Kirtley, a professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism, told the Star Tribune that the ruling stems from “an elementary principle of libel law.” She said that this isn’t a blank check for people to make false factual statements. She said, rather, that it’s “an endorsement that statements of opinion are protected under the First Amendment.”

According to the Duluth News Tribune, Minnesota Newspaper Association attorney Mark Anfinson, who watched the oral arguments before the Supreme Court in September, said that the justices made the right decision. Anfinson also told the News Tribune, “What this case really exemplifies is not so much legal precepts in libel law, but the impact of the Internet on the ability to publish unflattering comments about people.” Anfinson was also interviewed by Minnesota Lawyer. He said, “Anyone who knew about the case, who observed the oral arguments, and who knows something about libel law is about as unsurprised with this result as they can be. It’s about as perfunctory and routine as the Supreme Court ever gets. It was a completely straightforward application of long-settled libel-law rules.” Anfinson said the case is more significant for social commentary purposes than for its legal analysis, noting that perhaps the justices only accepted the case to fix an error of the Court of Appeals.

Laurion’s attorney, John D. Kelly, said the fact that Laurion’s speech was made online was inconsequential to the ruling, which treated it as a standard defamation case. “It’s almost as if things were said around the water cooler or perhaps posted in a letter to the editor,” he said. “I think the principles they worked with are applicable to statements made irrespective of the medium.”

Commenting about this case on his own blog, February 8, 2013, Aaron Kelly, internet law & defamation law attorney, said “Thanks to the First Amendment, free speech is the law of that land, and that means being able to communicate our views publicly – no matter how offensive.”

The Mankato Free Press said in February 2013: “It’s puzzling why McKee’s defamation lawsuit — filed nearly four years ago — was still in court. It’s long been established that people may spout any opinion they want without fear of being sued . . . It’s unsettling that the Appeals Court earlier ruled to allow the suit to continue.”

Mark A Fischer of Duane Morris LLP, a full-service law firm with more than 700 attorneys in 24 offices in the United States and internationally, said on February 11, 2013, “For those who are under criticism, one of the practical consequences of bringing a defamation action is that more publicity for the accused statements is almost an inevitable result, whether the statements are ultimately found libelous or not. In other words, in weighing the pros and cons of initiating a lawsuit, all potential defamation and privacy claim plaintiffs should consider the rule of Hippocrates applicable to physicians, ‘First do no harm.’”

In his Technology & Marketing Law Blog, Eric Goldman said on February 4, 2013, “I’ve been tracking doctor v. patient lawsuits for online reviews. . . doctors usually lose or voluntarily drop these lawsuits. Indeed, with surprising frequency, doctors end the lawsuit by writing a check to the defendant for the defendant’s attorneys’ fees where the state has a robust anti-SLAPP law. Doctors and other healthcare professionals thinking of suing over online reviews, take note: you’re likely to lose in court, so legal proceedings should be an absolute last-resort option–and even then, they might not be worth pursuing.”

Dan Hinmon, the principal of Hive Strategies, wrote for Health Care Communication, on March 21, 2013, “According to the Star Tribune, McKee is now ticked off at the people who posted hundreds more negative comments about him after the story went viral. Incredulously, the story reports that McKee ‘hasn’t ruled out a second lawsuit stemming from these posts.’ Yes, you read that right. After spending ‘at least $50,000 in legal fees and another $11,000 to clear his name online after the story went viral,’ McKee is considering suing the rest of the people who, exercising their right of protected speech, chimed in. I’m speechless.” 

Laurion: Although the Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed David McKee MD vs Dennis Laurion, the entire experience has been distressing to my family. We were initially shocked and blindsided by “jocular” comments made so soon after my father’s stroke by somebody who didn’t know us. We were overwhelmed by my being sued after posting a consumer opinion, and we were shocked by the rapidity with which it happened. My parents would be 88-year-old witnesses. My mother and wife prefer no discussion, because they don’t want to think about it.

Conversation with my father only reminds him of his anger over this situation. My siblings and children don’t often bring it up, because they don’t know how to say anything helpful. I have been demoralized by three years of being called “Defendant Laurion” in public documents. While being sued for defamation, I have been called a passive aggressive, an oddball, a liar, a coward, a bully, a malicious person, and a zealot family member. I’ve been said to have run a cottage industry vendetta, posting 108 adverse Internet postings in person or through proxies. That’s not correct. In reality, I posted ratings at three consumer rating sites, deleted them, and never rewrote them again.

The plaintiff’s first contact with me was a letter that said in part that he had the means and motivation to pursue me. The financial impact of being sued three years to date has been burdensome, a game of financial attrition that I haven’t wanted to play. The suit cost me the equivalent of two year’s net income – the same as 48 of my car payments plus 48 of my house payments. My family members had to dip into retirement funds to help me.

After receipt of a threat letter, I deleted my rate-your-doctor site postings and sent confirmation emails to opposing counsel. Since May of 2010, postings on the Internet by others include newspaper accounts of the lawsuit; readers’ remarks about the newspaper accounts; and blog opinion pieces written by doctors, lawyers, public relations professionals, patient advocates, and information technology experts. Dozens of websites by doctors, lawyers, patient advocates, medical students, law schools, consumer advocates, and free speech monitors posted opinions that a doctor or plumber shouldn’t sue the family of a customer for a bad rating. These authors never said they saw my deleted ratings – only the news coverage.

I’ve learned that laws about slander and libel do not conform to one’s expectations. I’ve read that online complaints are safe “if you stick to the facts.” That’s exactly the wrong advice. I did not want to merely post my conclusions. I wanted to stick to my recollection of what I’d heard. I don’t like to read generalities like “I’m upset. He did not treat my father well. He was insensitive. He didn’t spend enough time in my opinion.” However, such generalities are excused as opinion, hyperbole, or angry utterances. If one purports to say what happened, factual recitations can be litigated. The plaintiff must prove the facts are willfully misstated, but the defendant can go broke while waiting through the effort.

I feel that defamation lawsuits are much too easy for wealthy plaintiffs. If I were to attempt suing a doctor for malpractice, my case would not proceed until I’d obtained an affidavit from another doctor, declaring that the defendant’s actions did not conform to established procedures. In a defamation suit, there’s generally no exit short of a judge’s dismissal order – which can be appealed by the plaintiff. Being called “defendant” is terribly personal, but the civil suit path is totally impersonal. During the three years that I went through depositions, interrogatories, a dismissal hearing, an appellate hearing, and a state Supreme Court hearing; I never once spoke to  a  judge. 

Chicago Brick: The Top Lawsuits Of 2013 by Steve Kaplan, December 20, 2013

Dr. David McKee, a Duluth neurologist, was not laughing when he saw what one former client wrote about him on a doctor-rating website. The reviewer, Dennis Laurion, complained that McKee made statements that he interpreted as rude and quoted a nurse who had called the doctor “a real tool.” As these statements echoed through the Internet, McKee felt his reputation was being tarnished. He sued, and so began a four-year journey that ended this year in the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Laurion was unhappy with the way McKee treated his father, who was brought to the doctor after he had a stroke. Laurion went to several rate-your-doctor sites to give his opinion. That’s just free speech, isn’t it? It sure is, says Laurion’s attorney, John D. Kelly of the Duluth firm Hanft Fride. “The court held that what my client was quoted as saying was not defamatory,” he says. “I do think the Internet makes it much easier for persons exercising poor judgment to broadcast defamatory statements, however… a medium… doesn’t change the quality of a statement from non-defamatory to defamatory.”

But McKee’s lawyer, Marshall Tanick, of Hellmuth & Johnson, says no matter where it was said, defamation is defamation. “The thing that’s often misunderstood is that this was not just about free speech, but about making actual false statements,” Tanick says. “The problem is today’s unfettered opportunity to express opinion, whether or not the substance of what’s said is true or not. We need some boundaries.”

But boundaries were not on the minds of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Free speech was. Chief Justice Lorie Gildea wrote, “The point of the post is, ‘This doctor did not treat my father well.’ I can’t grasp why that wouldn’t be protected opinion.” As to referring to the doctor as “a real tool,” Justice Alan Page wrote that the insult “falls into the category of pure opinion because the term … cannot be reasonably interpreted as a fact and it cannot be proven true or false.”

The takeaway from this case might be the knowledge that behind any rating service lie real people with real feelings. McKee spent more than $60,000 in the effort to clear his name, as he saw it. Dennis Laurion told the Star Tribune he spent the equivalent of two years’ income, some of which he had to borrow from relatives who supplied the money by raiding their retirement funds. 

Dennis: In spite of Supreme Court disagreement and subsequent peer disagreement, Marshall Tanick is STILL saying “The thing that’s often misunderstood is that THIS WAS NOT JUST ABOUT FREE SPEECH, BUT ABOUT MAKING ACTUAL FALSE STATEMENTS. The problem is today’s unfettered opportunity to express opinion, whether or not the substance of what’s said is true or not. We need some boundaries.”

From the American Health Lawyers Association: IN THIS CASE, THE COURT FOUND THE SIX ALLEGEDLY DEFAMATORY STATEMENTS WERE NOT ACTIONABLE BECAUSE THE “SUBSTANCE, THE GIST, THE STING” OF PLAINTIFF’S VERSION FOR EACH OF THE STATEMENTS AS PROVIDED IN DEPOSITION AND DEFENDANT’S VERSION ESSENTIALLY CARRIED THE SAME MEANING, satisfied the standard for substantial truth, did not show a tendency to harm the plaintiff’s reputation and lower his estimation in the community, or were incapable of conveying a defamatory meaning (e.g., when a nurse told defendant that plaintiff was “a real tool”) based on “how an ordinary person understands the language used in the light of surrounding circumstances.”

From the Business Insurance Blog: THE MINNESOTA HIGH COURT SAID, FOR INSTANCE, THAT DR. MCKEE’S VERSION OF HIS COMMENT ABOUT THE INTENSIVE CARE UNIT WAS SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR TO MR. LAURION’S. “In other words, Dr. McKee’s account of what he said would produce the same effect on the mind of the reader,” the court said. “The minor inaccuracies of expression (in the statement) as compared to Dr. McKee’s version of what he said do not give rise to a genuine issue as to falsity.”

From the Duane Morris Media Blog: The doctor said in his deposition that with regard to finding out if Mr. Laurion was alive or dead, “I made a jocular comment… to the effect of I had looked for [Kenneth Laurion] up there in the intensive care unit and was glad to find that, when he wasn’t there, that he had been moved to a regular hospital bed, because you only go one of two ways when you leave the intensive care unit; you either have improved to the point where you’re someplace like this or you leave because you’ve died.” THE COURT SAID THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO VERSIONS OF THE STATEMENTS ABOUT DEATH OR TRANSFER BY BOTH PLAINTIFF AND DEFENDANT WERE SO MINOR THAT THERE WAS NO FALSITY IN THE WEBSITE POSTINGS. In other words, the court indicated that the allegation about the statement was true. 

Steve: People want to be treated as a human not a robot. A physician may be allowed to lie whenever to deliver bad news to patients or postpone it until finding a good time. It could minimize their problem and they will be easy to accept every news delivered.

SOURCE

DOCTOR LAWSUITS

Sandusky Register: Critical Online Reviews Can Carry Legal Risks

“Critical Online Reviews Can Carry Legal Risks” 

Sandusky Register

October 26, 2012

Dr. David McKee sued a patient’s son for defamation after critical remarks about him were posted on some rate-your-doctor websites. The Duluth neurologist’s improbable case has advanced all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which is weighing whether the lawsuit should go to trial. “His reputation is at stake. He does not want to be a target for false and malicious remarks,” said his lawyer, Marshall Tanick.critical

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 good 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.

At issue are six of Dennis Laurion’s statements, including the account of the nurse’s name calling. McKee and his attorney say the unnamed nurse doesn’t exist, and that Laurion invented her to hide behind. Laurion maintains she is real, but he can’t recall her name.

In arguments before the court in September, Laurion’s attorney John Kelly said his client’s statements were legally protected opinion that conveyed dismay over how McKee treated Laurion’s father, who had suffered a stroke. The posts described a single visit that lasted 10 to 15 minutes.

The review said McKee seemed upset that after Laurion’s father had been moved from intensive care to a regular hospital room, the doctor “had to spend time finding out if you transferred or died.”

Laurion also complained that McKee treated them brusquely and was insensitive to the family’s concerns about the patient being seen in public in a gown that gaped open in the back.

In an interview, Kelly said nothing Laurion posted was defamatory — a false statement that harms a person’s reputation.

The court is expected to rule on the case sometime in the next few months.

Lawsuits over professional reviews are uncommon in part because most patients write positive reviews, Goldman said. And many states have passed laws that block the kind of lawsuits that are filed mainly to scare someone into shutting up on matters of public concern. Known as “strategic lawsuits against public participation,” those complaints are often forbidden by broad laws that protect criticism even if it’s wrong, Goldman said.

When health care providers do sue, they rarely succeed. Of 28 such lawsuits that Goldman tracked, 16 had been dismissed and six settled. The others were pending.

One notable exception was a Maine case in which a chiropractor sued a former patient for postings on Facebook and websites that accused him of sexually assaulting her. The courts concluded she probably fabricated her story. In June, a judge ruled that the chiropractor could legally attach $100,000 worth of the patient’s property to his claim as security pending further proceedings in the case, which remains open.

Yelp says reviewers are well within their rights to express opinions and relate their experiences. Spokeswoman Kristen Whisenand says the company discourages professionals from using what she called the “nuclear option” of suing over a negative review. She said they rarely succeed and wind up drawing more attention to the review they dislike.

Angie Hicks, co-founder of Angie’s List, said people shouldn’t be afraid to post honest opinions about health care or other services. “Everyone has the right to free speech,” Hicks said. “The key here is giving your honest opinion. Honesty is your best defense. Truth is your best defense.”

Jeff Hermes, director of the Citizens Media Law Project at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said people who want to post critical reviews should think about whether they can back up their statements. And they can strengthen their position by stating the facts on which their opinions are based.

Goldman advises reviewers to remember that they are still taking a risk anytime they criticize someone in a public forum. “The reality is that we bet our house every time that we post content online,” Goldman said. “It’s a lousy answer from a societal standpoint because we need people to share their experiences so vendors will be punished or rewarded as appropriate.”

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

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion References And Precedents