McKee V Laurion: Court’s Order On Defendant’s Motion For Summary Judgment

APRIL 27, 2011

Excerpted from McKee V. Laurion


STATE OF MINNESOTA

DISTRICT COURT

ST. LOUIS COUNTY

SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT


David McKee, M.D., Plaintiff

V.

Dennis K. Laurion

File No. 69-DU-CV-10-1706

Court’s Order On Defendant’s Motion For Summary Judgment


The above-captioned matter came before the undersigned judge of District Court on February 10, 201 1, pursuant to Defendant’s motion f or summary judgment.Plaintiff was represented at the hearing by his attorney, Marshall H. Tanick. Defendant was represented at the hearing by his attorney, John D. Kelly. The Court reviewed all of the submissions made by the parties, including the affidavits, and also requested and received the whole deposition transcript of Defendant [sic] McKee.

Based on all of the foregoing, and deeming itself fully advised on the premises, the Court hereby issues the following:

ORDERS:

  1. Defendant’s motion for summary judgment is granted.
  2. Plaintiff’s claimed is dismissed, with prejudice.
  3. The attached memorandum of law is incorporated herein by reference.

Dated this 27th day of April, 2011

BY THE COURT:

Eric L. Hylden

Judge of District Court

The foregoing constitutes the judgment of the Court in this matter.

Dated this 27th  day of April, 2011.

/S/

Marietta Johnson

Court Administrator

MEMORANDUM OF LAW

This is a defamation lawsuit by a doctor against the son of one of his patients, who had posted unflattering comments about Plaintiff on certain Internet websites and sent letters to various groups about what he saw as Dr. McKee’s insensitive treatment of his father.    Dr. McKee sued approximately one month after the statements w ere made, and Defendant Laurion has now brought a motion, asking the entire case be dismissed, as none of the statements are actionable.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

On April 20, 2010, Defendant Dennis Laurion’s father, Kenneth Laurion, was in St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, having suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. On that day, he was moved from the intensive care unit ( ICU) to a standard hospital room. Mr. Kenneth Laurion’s family, including the Defendant, were with him in his room. A referral had been made to Dr. McKee internally within St. Luke’s, as Dr. McKee is a neurologist and would commonly evaluate patients who just had a stroke. Upon receiving the referral, Dr. McKee was at first unaware that Kenneth Laurion had been transferred out of the ICU, but eventually tracked him to the right room.Once Dr. McKee arrived, there is disagreement about what was said or done by Dr. McKee. The Court believes that the differences, however, tend to be issues of tone, feeling and nuance – overall the parties agree on the substance of how things went. Essentially, Dr. McKee did a neurological examination of Kenneth Laurion, but Dennis Laurion felt that the things he said and did before, during and after the examination were insensitive to Kenneth Laurion’s dignity. Defendant Laurion then posted a ‘factual recitation’ on some Internet doctor rating sites, and later sent letters to a number of individuals and organizations, making statements about how his father w as treated by Dr. McKee. The statements (and Dr . McKee’s response to them) as alleged in paragraphs 3 and 5 of Plaintiff’s complaint are as follows:

  1. Mr. Laurion alleged that Dr. McKee “seemed upset” that his father had been transferred from ICU to a general hospital room (Dr. McKee denies this);
  2. And that Dr. McKee said he had to “spend time finding out if you ( Kenneth Laurion) were transferred or died.” (Dr. McKee states that he had attempted to add some levity to the situation by making the ‘transferred or died’ comment.);
  3. Dennis Laurion goes on to quote Dr. McKee for the statistic that “44 percent of hemorrhagic strokes die within 30 days.I guess this is the better option.” (Dr. McKee vehemently denies that he ever gave anything like a percentage, and in fact accuses Defendant of pulling the number off of Wikipedia after the f act. He does, however, admit that he would have said something about there being only one of two ways to leave the ICU – improving to a transfer into a regular hospital bed, or dying.);
  4. Dennis Laurion’s Internet postings stated that when Dr. McKee had been told of some physical therapy Kenneth Laurion had been doing, he w as told, “You don’t need therapy.” (Dr. McKee denies making any such statement.);
  5. At one point in the examination, Dr. McKee was having Kenneth Laurion sit up and move to the edge of the bed to see if he could stand. His hospital gown (as they are wont to do) came open in the back and someone mentioned a concern about that. Dr. McKee allegedly said that “it doesn’t matter.” (In his deposition, Dr. McKee testified about hearing the family member’s comment: “By the way that he said this, l thought that his concern was that the gown might fall off . But I could see the knot was well tied and told him I thought it would be fine. It never crossed my mind that he was concerned about his father’s modesty with the back of the gown open.”);
  6. Next, the complaint alleges that Defendant defamed Dr. McKee by publishing that Dr. McKee strode out of the room at the end of the examination without talking to the family. (Dr. McKee states that after leaving the room, he told the family that they could go back into the room.);
  7. Dennis Laurion’ s Internet postings indicate that after this incident, he bumped into a former coworker who is a nurse. After describing the incident, this friend allegedly guessed that it was Dr. McKee, and that she had said that Dr. McKee “is a real tool!” Mr. Laurion repeated that phrase in his Internet postings. (Dr. McKee doubts the very existence of this ‘friend,’ as Mr. Laurion, at his deposition, was unable to even provide a very good description of her, much less a name or other identifying information. Dr. McKee hired a private investigator, who was unable to come up with anything more detailed.);
  8. In some of the post-incident letters, Mr. Laurion characterizes Dr. McKee as blaming Kenneth Laurion for the loss of his time.
  9. Next, Mr. Laurion’s letter indicates that when Plaintiff left the patient’s room, that he was “scowling.”
  10. Defendant’s letters say that Dr. McKee treated their relative as a “task and charting assignment.”
  11. Finally, Defendant’s letters allege that Plaintiff did not treat Kenneth Laurion with “dignity. “

LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 5 6.03, Minn.R.Civ.P. provides that a motion for summary judgment shall be granted when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that a party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Summary judgment is not appropriate when reasonable persons might draw different conclusions from evidence presented.

To preclude entry of summary judgment, genuine issues of   material f acts must be established by substantial evidence. “Substantial evidence” refers to legal sufficiency and not to quantum of evidence.   DLH, Inc. v. Russ, et. al, 566 N.W.2d 60 (Minn. 1997).   The Court must not weigh evidence in deciding whether a genuine issue of material f act exists. However, the Court is not required to ignore its conclusion that a particular piece of evidence may have no probative value.

A material fact is one that will affect the outcome or result of the case.   Zappa   v.   Fahey, 245 N.W.2d 258 ( 1976) . The facts must be viewed in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, and all doubts and factual inferences must be resolved against the moving   party. Hopkins by LaFontaine v. Empire Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 474 N.W.2d 209 ( Minn. App. 1991).

The trial court is not to decide or resolve the fact issues at the summary judgment hearing, but rather determine if there is room for an honest difference of opinion among reasonable people, and deny the motion where such debate is possible.     Trepanier   v.   McKenna, 125 N.W.2d · 603, 606 (Minn. 1963) ; Jonathan v. Kvaal, 403 N.W.2d 256, 259 (Minn. ·App. 1987), review denied (Minn. May 20, 1987) .

Defamation consists of a false statement of fact made to third parties that harm the reputation of the subject of the   statements. Milkovich v. Lorain Journal   Co., 497, U.S. 1, 17-18 ( 1990) and Geraci v. Eckankar, 526 N.W.2d 391, 397 (Minn. App. 1995). A trial court is to review the statements, which must be set forth in the complaint ( See, Benson v Northwest Airlines, Inc., 561 N.W.2d 530, 538 (Minn. App. 1997) review (Minn., June 11, 1997.), and see whether any fact disputes would prevent summary judgment, as well as whether either party would be entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. This Court will look at individual statements, but also looks at the postings and letters as a whole.      See Jadwin, Supra, 390 N.W.2d at 443.

“The district court makes an initial determination of whether the statements are reasonably capable of carrying a defamatory meaning.” Schlieman v Gannett MN Broadc asting, Inc., 637 N.W.2d 297, 307 {Minn. App. 2001 ) , citing Utecht v Shopko Department Store, 324 N.W.2d 652, 653 { Minn. 1982). Of course, “True statements, however disparaging, are not actionable. “Lewis v Equitable Life Assurance Society, 398 N.W.2d 876, 888 {Minn. 1986), citing Stuempges v Parke, Davis & Co., 297 N.W.2d 252, 255   ( Minn. 1980).

“However, statements about matters of public concern that are not capable of being proven true or false, and statements that cannot be interpreted as stating facts are protected from defamation actions by the First Amendment.”   McGrath v TCF Bank Savings, 502 N.W.2d 801, 808 {Minn. App. 1993), citing Milkovich v Lorain Journal, Co., 497 U.S. 1, 19-21, 110 S. Ct. 2695, 2706-07, 111 L.Ed. 2d 1 ( 1990). Minnesota courts apply for a four part test to determine if a statement is actionable: ( 1)the statement’s precision and specificity; ( 2) the statement’s verifiability; ( 3) the social and literary context in which the statement was made; and (4) the statement ‘s public context. ”      (Huyen v Driscoll, 479 N.W.2d 76, 79 (Minn. App. 1991 ) . The Court applies this test, because “Whether a statement can be proven false or interpreted as stating facts is a question of law.”    McGrath, supra, 502 N.W.2d at 808.

Some guidance is provided to the courts in this endeavor by other appellate decisions: “Expressions of opinion, rhetoric, and figurative language are generally not actionable if in context, the audience would understand the statement is not a recitation of fact.”  Jadwin, supra, 390 2d at 441. Put another way, “[l]f it is plain that the speaker is expressing a ‘subjective view, an interpretation, a theory, conjecture or surmise,’ rather than claiming to be in possession of ‘objectively verifiable f acts,’ the statement is not Schlieman, supra, 637 N.W. 2d at 308, citing Haynes v Alfred A. Knopf , Inc., 8 F.3d 1222, 1227 ( 71h Cir. 1998).

Taken as a whole, the statements in this case appear to be nothing more or less than one man’s description of shock at the way he and in particular his father were treated by a physician.  While Dr. McKee’s complaint alleges that all of the comments made by Mr. Laurion are utterly false, there is a common thread tying together both sides of this story. Some of that common thread comes from Dr. McKee’s own testimony.  In modern society, there needs to be some give and take, some ability for parties to air their differences.  Today, those disagreements may take place on various Internet sources.   Because the medium has changed, however, does not make statements of this sort any more or less defamatory. Looking at the statements as a whole, the Court does not  find defamatory meaning, but rather a sometimes emotional discussion of the issues.

Taking each of the statements individually, the Court also finds no individual statement to be defamatory:

  1. Dr. McKee seemed upset about the transfer from ICU – From the Court’s perspective, this is a completely subjective opinion expressed by Mr. Laurion.      For a number of statements like this, the Court considered the question of what exactly the jury would be asked to decide: Here, the question would have to be whether Dr. McKee seemed upset to Mr. Laurion. In summary, there simply is no ‘fact’ that might be proven false.
  2. Dr. McKee ‘had to find out if you transferred or died’ – Dr. McKee admits in his deposition that he made a statement substantially similar to this one, characterizing is as a ‘jocular’ comment. While Dr. McKee recalls the language that he used slightly differently, the import was the same.   Given that truth is a complete defense to a claim of defamation, the Court finds no basis for a defamation claim on this item.
  3. The 44 percent comment – Dr. McKee finds this statement especially offensive, given that he had never heard of the percentage quoted by Mr. Laurion and because he posits, somewhat convincingly, that Mr. Laurion may have made this up after the fact based on a figure he obtained from Wikipedia.    The problem is that, even if the figure used was made up, and therefore false, the general import of the conversation (that some stroke patients never make it out of the ICU alive) is true, as confirmed by Dr. McKee in his deposition. Where the ‘gist’ or ‘sting’ of the alleged statement is true, the Jadwin Court instructs us it is not def amatory, even if some particular of the statement is false. See Jadwin, 390 N.W. 2d at 441.
  4. “You don’t need therapy” – The Court finds this statement is not capable of carrying a defamatory meaning.Even if we assume that Dr. McKee never said those words, it is difficult to see how such a statement would lower anyone’s opinion about Dr. McKee. Based on the information available, that could well be a perfectly valid medical opinion. There is nothing about it that suggests that Dr. McKee does not meet up to any personal or professional standard.
  5. The gown incident – Dr . McKee also complain about Mr. Laurion’s retelling of the hospital gown incident – specifically, that Dr. McKee had said “that doesn’t matter.”In his deposition, however, Dr. McKee describes essentially the same incident, noting his perception that since the top of the gown was tied securely, it would not f all off entirely, and stating that it never even crossed his mind that the Laurion family might be concerned about the back of the gown falling open. Thus, the ‘gist or sting’ of Defendant’s postings and letters on this subject are true, although they have a different perspective.
  6. He left the room without talking to the family – The next allegedly defamatory statement is that Dr. McKee left the room without talking to the family.      Dr . McKee’s version is that he left the room and told the family “You can go in now.” Again, the parties are talking about the same thing, from different perspectives.It is hardly worth calling a jury together to determine if “not talking to the family” was meant literally as in not a single word, or figuratively in that Dr. McKee did not say anything substantive about his examination of Mr. Laurion. There is simply nothing for a jury to decide here.
  7. “A real tool” – Plaintiff also complains of Mr. Laurion republishing another person’s description of him as ‘a real tool.’ Interestingly, no one could say what the term means, although everyone assumed that it w as not complimentary.      Either w ay, it does not matter because the term falls squarely into the same category as ‘troublemaker’ and ‘brown nose,’ as outlined in McGrath and Lund, supra.As is evidenced by the f act that no one knows its meaning, the term is too vague to be defamatory.
  8. The Plaintiff blames his patient for the loss of his time – This is the first of the statements not published on the Internet, but included in letters Defendant sent out to various individuals and organizations. All of them simply offer Defendant Laurion’s perception.  This is fatal to Dr. McKee’s lawsuit on summary judgment, because it is evident that none of them constitute provable facts. With this allegation, for example, it would be impossible for one side or the other to prove or disprove Mr. Laurion’s perception – that Dr. McKee blamed Kenneth Laurion for the loss of Dr. McKee’s time. Clearly, Dr. McKee could come in and testify that he did not. Similarly, Mr. Laurion could come in and testify that this was his perception of Dr. McKee’s demeanor. In the end, the jury would be left to divine the internal feelings of others, rather than whether a given fact was probably true or false.
  9. “Scowling” – Similarly, Mr. Laurion’s perception that Dr. McKee was scowling as he left the room is not a provable fact. What some people might perceive as a scowl might simply be another person’s standard facial expression.Even if we had a videotape that recorded the expression, the jury would be left with an allegation on one side and a denial on the other as their only basis for making a decision on whether defamation had occurred. This is not enough.
  10. The patient was a task or a charting assignment – Dennis Laurion’s subjective evaluation of how his father was treated falls into the category of opinion. As with the preceding items, this leaves nothing for the jury to decide.
  11. Dr. McKee failed to treat the patient with dignity – This, more than any other allegation, constitutes an unprovable subjective opinion. As with the others, both parties could undoubtedly produce testimony to support their version of things, but it would be impossible for Plaintiff or Defendant to prove an opinion – whether Kenneth Laurion was treated   “with dignity.” We could certainly ask a jury to form their own opinion, but the jury ‘s proper role is to find facts. Based on the information provided to the Court, there would not be enough objective information to justify a jury trial in this matter.

ELH

SOURCE

ALERT PRESENCE: “A Physician Review Gone Wrong”

MARCH 24, 2011

“A Physician Review Gone Wrong”

Brett Pollard, ALERT PRESENCE

For several years now, I have been actively involved in issues related to reputation management for physicians. It’s an issue I’ve discussed at length with clients and offered thoughts on this blog. Through my research, I have come across some pretty interesting examples of the challenges physicians face in a world where there are dozens of online review sites. However, I stumbled across a very interesting situation where a doctor’s decision to sue the son of one of his patients for a negative review resulted in a reputation disaster.

After the lawsuit was detailed twice in a Minnesota newspaper, a local resident took action by posting a critical comment and link (screenshot below) on the social news site, Reddit. With a user-controlled ranking system Reddit features the most popular posts to an audience generating over 1 million page visits per day. As you might expect, negative exposure on a site like this leads to undesirable consequences.

I have no interest in offering insight into the specifics of the legal matter as my knowledge of how this all transpired is limited to the information provided in the newspaper articles. However, the fallout from the lawsuit certainly warrants exploration. There is something to be learned from this for those in a position to advise physicians about appropriate responses to negative reviews. It’s necessary to have an understanding of the potential backlash if your response is not well received by the general public. This situation also illustrates the need to have a strategy to help prevent a scenario that may lead to irreparable harm to the physician’s reputation.

Timeline and Consequences

June 2010 – A doctor from Duluth, Minnesota files a lawsuit against the son of a former patient claiming the son made defamatory statements about his father’s care. The statements were allegedly posted on a physician review site in addition to complaints lodged with the associated hospital and other third parties. The local paper publishes an article reporting the lawsuit where the defendant’s lawyer admits his client posted the negative review but later requested successfully for it to be removed from the site.

February 2011 – The local newspaper publishes a follow up story regarding the lawsuit with an update of the legal proceedings.

March 2011 – A regular user of the social news website, Reddit, posted a link to the story on March 21st, 2011 while suggesting the Reddit community should post poor ratings for this doctor on various physician review sites.

A simple Google search reveals this is exactly what happened. After examining some of the top search results for the doctor’s name, it is clear the Reddit post triggered a large number of negative reviews – many of which are clearly fabricated. The following is just a sample of what I found.

Google Place Page – Since Google pulls in reviews from various sources, my focus was only on those reviews posted through the Google Review service. There were 33 reviews (all of which were negative) and every one was posted on March 22nd or later.

Vitals – There were a total of 39 written reviews. 32 of the reviews were posted on March 21st or later and each one was negative.

Healthgrades – There were 34 patient ratings on Healthgrades (mostly negative). In this case, the dates of each review are not posted so it’s unclear how many of them are a result of the Reddit community response.

I’m not all that surprised by the backlash – especially considering the story gained considerable traction on Reddit. It’s just another good example of the viral power social media possesses.

Filing a lawsuit against a patient for a negative review is a very slippery slope – even if the statements are defamatory. What alternative actions exist for dealing with a harmful or misleading review? This question is generic and does not imply the patient in this case made any defamatory statements. That is for the courts to decide.

Brett Pollard is an online marketing consultant specializing in web 2.0 strategies, local search, SEO, ORM and social media for the healthcare industry and small/medium-sized businesses. With over a decade of Internet marketing experience for private ventures, Brett now shares his expertise with clients throughout North America.

SOURCE

Comments:

Lora Baker:

Wow -just checked his Google reviews. They are so obviously fake that it is hard to believe they are still posted. Unfortunately for this doctor, his choices have resulted in nationwide backlash. If any prospective patient looks him up before calling, they will clearly choose another doctor. I recommend to our clients to work out bad reviews with the reviewer if possible – behind the scenes. If not, most potential clients understand that everyone can end up with a bad review or 2 -most people are more motivated to leave a review if they are upset. Now, Dr. David McKee has so much (fake) bad feedback out there that his reputation is in tatters. Yikes -so glad he is not my client!

Susan January:

The Minnesota State Court of Appeals has issued an opinion. Filed January 23, 2012. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. The interfering with business claim was dismissed as being without merit. The patient’s son’s comments are exhaustively reviewed by the court and classified as either opinion (dismissed) or factual assertions. Since the asserted facts of the situation are for a jury to decide, on 6 picky little points the doctor is entitled to a jury trial to determine the facts. The factual assertions that are in dispute verge on opinions or beliefs, because the doctor and the patient’s son dispute what was said and/or what was meant by what was said. They thought he was a jerk, the doctor says he was joking or being friendly or didn’t see them or they don’t understand what he meant. Good example of taking things way too far and doing more damage in the process. Good grief.

Susan February:

My husband is a top performing Cardiac surgeon with great results.But a colleague of his who has been banned from operating due to disruptive behavior is writing bad reviews of him on vitals. How I know this is that every time he gives himself a great review,he gives my husband a bad one. And a doctor who has not done heart surgery for 6 months is getting great reviews and a doctor working every day – 24hrs with all his patients going home in less than 3-4 days is getting bad reviews –on VITALS -something needs to be seriously done.

Samantha Theras:

This can be so frustrating to deal with. Numerous websites online are misleading and fighting bad online reviews with litigation has proven itself time and again to have the worst consequences. The results are never what you expect them to be. I’m sympathetic to some situations in where it is a legitimate review with constructive criticism although, some reviews can be and are bogus.

DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE: “Duluth Man Fights Defamation Suit By Doctor He Criticized”

FEBRUARY 10, 2011

“Duluth Man Fights Defamation Suit By Doctor He Criticized”

Mark Stodghill, DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE

A Duluth physician who sued a patient’s son for defamation was in court as the son attempted to have the case thrown out. Dr. David McKee, a neurologist with Northland Neurology and Myology, Duluth, Minnesota, filed the lawsuit against Dennis Laurion of Duluth in St. Louis County District Court in 2010. McKee alleges that Laurion defamed him and interfered with his business by criticizing him by making false statements on websites and to various third parties including other physicians in Duluth, the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Advisory Committee, St. Luke’s hospital and professional organizations.

Laurion’s father, Kenneth, now 85 and a Navy combat medic in the Solomon Islands during World War II, suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and was treated by McKee at St. Luke’s hospital April 19. He recovered from his condition. However, he and his family allege that McKee was rude and insensitive to the patient in his actions and comments.

The defendants claim that when McKee didn’t find Kenneth Laurion in the Intensive Care Unit, he said: “I had to find out whether you had transferred or died.” McKee confirmed in deposition that he made the statement, but claimed it was a jocular comment meant to relieve tension.

Kenneth Laurion, his defendant son, and daughter-in-law were in the courtroom Thursday, as was plaintiff McKee. McKee is asking for more than $50,000 in damages. Laurion claims that any statements he made about the doctor were true and that he is immune from any liability.

Duluth defense attorney John Kelly argued that his client’s statements were substantially true, were statements of opinion and couldn’t be demonstrated to be false. “He is standing up and speaking out for his father. That is his motivation … in the hope that something gets done,” Kelly told the court.

McKee is represented by Minneapolis attorney Marshall Tanick. Tanick told the court that Laurion used the websites as a “weapon of mass destruction” to injure the reputation of McKee, place the doctor in a negative light and impugn his professional practice.

In a written motion, Tanick wrote, “The totality of statements made on these websites would be injurious to the reputation and standing of a doctor in the eyes of others who might see it, including patients or prospective patients, colleagues, peers, referral sources, and others.”

Sixth Judicial District Judge Eric Hylden is presiding over the case. As the parties introduced themselves to the court, Hylden told them it was a “very interesting type of case.”

Thinking out loud, Hylden suggested that Laurion has a constitutionally protected right to an opinion, but “isn’t there some limitation on what a person can say in that public forum?”

Kelly said his client made his statements of opinion in good faith and they were not demonstratively false. “There has to be a protected area in which someone like Dennis Laurion can come forward, stand up and speak for his father and say, ‘Look, in this particular instance, my father didn’t get treated very well and you ought to know that.’ ”

Tanick argued that Laurion’s criticism goes much farther than that. “He chose to tell the world at large in a way that was injurious to Dr. McKee’s reputation,” Tanick said.

McKee V. Laurion: Defendant Laurion’s Reply To Plaintiff McKee’s Threat Letter

McKee V. Laurion: Defendant Laurion’s Reply To Plaintiff McKee’s Threat Letter

[ This text is copied from Exhibits AA-395, AA-396, AA-397, AA-398, and AA-399 of the Minnesota Defamation Lawsuit of David McKee, MD, V. Dennis K. Laurion, Minnesota Sixth Judicial District Case 69DU-CV-10-1706, Filed June 9, 2010. ]

MAY 7, 2010

To: Marshall H. Tanick
1700 U. S. Bank Plaza South
220 South 6th Street
Minneapolis MN 55402-4511

Dear Mr. Tanick,

I am in receipt of your intimidating letter of May 7, 2010, regarding David McKee, MD.

Although I intend to seek counsel, I wish to detail my previous actions relative to Dr. McKee, my past and present intentions about Doctor McKee, and my possible future action relative to Dr. McKee.

After the encounter that I describe in enclosure 1 and enclosure 2, I felt the need for Doctor McKee to know that he treated my father rudely. I felt then and feel now that Dr. McKee owes my father an apology. I knew then and know now that Dr. McKee doesn’t want my opinion or agree with it. I felt that St. Luke’s Hospital and agencies that set standards for Dr. McKee should review my opinion and see if they agree.

My past actions:

I visited the following websites that seek patient ratings of doctors:
Insider Pages, Health Grades, Vitals.

I posted the contents of enclosure 1. I confined my comments to a recitation of my personal experiences. I did not state any generalities or any opinions about Dr. McKee’s medical skills.

I next sent enclosure 2 to: American Academy of Neurology; American Neurological Association;  Attending Physician Craig L. Gilbertson, MD; Lake Superior Medical Society; Minnesota Board of Medical Practice; Minnesota Department of Health Office of Health Facility Complaints; Minnesota Medical Association; Minnesota Quality Improvement Organization, Office of Quality Monitoring, The Joint Commission (JCAHO); Patients Action Network, American Medical Association; St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Advisory Committee Senior Ombudsman; St. Luke’s Hospital Patient Advocate.

Since I don’t know who influences Dr. McKee’s behavior, I sent enclosure 2 to any agency that might be able to counsel him about his bedside manner.

My present intentions:

Today, I received an email from the Ruth Martinez, Supervisor, Complaint Review Unit, MN Board of Medical Practice. It says “If you would like to file a complaint against one or more professionals regulated by the Board of Medical Practice, you may download the complaint forms from the Home Page of the Board’s website Please sign and return the completed forms to our office by US Postal Service.  You may wish to attach a copy of your e-mail summary to the complaint form, rather than rewriting your complaint.  If you have any difficulty downloading the forms from the website, let me know and I will be happy to mail you the necessary forms.”

Before I received your letter, my inclination has been to let this drop. I got it off my chest. I think Dr. McKee’s behavior was rude. I felt somebody whose opinion matters to him should tell him “We got this complaint; we thought you should see it.” That was all I sought. I don’t think Dr. McKee’s curtness to my father merits loss or suspension of his license or privileges, and  I know I don’t have the horsepower to accomplish that anyway. Until today, my actions were finished – no more letters, no more forum postings, no legal action.

My future intentions:

I shall, of necessity, visit the lawyer who has previously counseled me about estate planning and business contracts. I’ll ask him if my expressed complaints about Dr. McKee’s behavior do, in fact, constitute defamation.  I anticipate he may have to refer me to another attorney.

I returned to the websites on which I posted enclosure 1. None provides a mechanism for my deleting my comments. If Dr. McKee has you contact me again, I’ll take that as his desire that I balance my remarks by amending them to include his response to me, so the public can see his rebuttal. I’ll also send a copy of your letter to each of my previous addressees, so they can see your assertion that Dr. McKee denies making the statement that I attribute to him. Otherwise, I have no intention of posting anything more about Dr. McKee or corresponding with anybody about Dr. McKee.

Only if I feel the necessity, I’ll write to Ms. Martinez. I’ll affirm to her that my original statements are true. I’ll ask for the complaint form – not only because of Dr. McKee’s behavior toward my father, but because he threatened legal action against me for using valid communications channels to seek a valid and measured response.

I affirm to you in this letter and in any other necessary venue that Doctor McKee said and did the things I’ve asserted. My mother, father, and wife will attest to that. Having had a stroke, my father has forgotten Dr. McKee’s name, but he does remember that his unpleasant conversation was with the neurologist who visited him. I’ve never met Dr. McKee before and wasn’t predisposed to picking a fight with one of my father’s treating sources. I felt Dr. McKee owed my father an apology. I’m pragmatic enough to know that won’t happen. Left to my own devices, I’m no longer inclined to discuss Dr. McKee’s behavior with anybody.

I’ll consider this matter finished. Will Dr. McKee?

/s/

DENNIS K. LAURION

Enclosure 1

Enclosure 2

McKee V. Laurion: Deposition Of Bonnie Laurion By Marshall Tanick On Behalf Of David McKee, M.D.

Tendentious Lawyer

Plaintiff Attorney Marshall Tanick

 

Mrs. Bonnie Laurion,
Defendant’s Wife

 

The following text is copied from Resp. App. 44, pages 1 – 68 of David McKee, M.D, 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 Bonnie M. Laurion, January 7th, 2011

Carol Danielson Bille, RPR, Danielson Court Reporting, LLC The following is the deposition of Bonnie M. 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 10:00 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

Also Present: David McKee, M.D.

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

Also Present: Dennis K. Laurion

Proceedings

MR. TANICK: Would you state your name, please?

MRS. LAURION: Bonnie Marie Laurion.

MR. TANICK: And, as you know, Ms. Laurion, my name is Marshall Tanick. I’m the attorney for Dr. McKee, the Plaintiff in the lawsuit. You’re going to be asked some questions about issues relating to this litigation. Please ask me – I’ll try to answer my – I’ll try to ask my questions as clearly as I can. If you don’t understand my question, please ask me to repeat it or clarify it. Don’t answer the question if you don’t understand it. We both can’t talk at the same time, so try not to interrupt me. I’ll try not to interrupt you. If Mr. Kelly has some comments, we have to stop talking so the court reporter gets it down. She can only take one person at a time. Are these ground rules all right?

MRS. LAURION: Mm-hmm (Nodding head.)

MR. TANICK: And you have to answer audibly too, yes or no.

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: Have you ever had your deposition taken before, ma’am?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: What have you done to prepare for this deposition?

MRS. LAURION: Mr. Kelly gave us a binder to take home of things he thought were relative to catch up on and refresh.

MR. TANICK: You looked at some documents, in other words?

MRS. LAURION: Yes, that Mr. Kelly gave us.

MR. TANICK: Okay. And they were documents relating to the litigation?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: What else did you do?

MRS. LAURION: That’s all I’ve done.

MR. TANICK: Did you talk to anybody about the deposition or about the issues in the deposition?

MRS. LAURION: No recently.

MR. TANICK: Did you talk to your in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Laurion, Mr. Laurion’s mother and father –

MRS. LAURION: We went . . .

MR. TANICK: . . . about the deposition recently?

MRS. LAURION: We went to their house after we had dinner and went to visit them.

MR. TANICK: Last night?

MRS. LAURION: (Nodding head.) Mm-hmm. Yes.

MR. TANICK: Had you – had you talked to them about the case or the deposition in the last couple months?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did you talk about the case with anyone in or around the Thanksgiving period of time?

MRS. LAURION: I personally did not.

MR. TANICK: Do you know anyone who did?

MRS. LAURION: It was probably a topic among the family members, yes.

MR. TANICK: But you weren’t participating in that discussion?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: How do you know it was discussed, then?

MRS. LAURION: Probably overhearing them at other tables, you know, during the visit.

MR. TANICK: Do you remember anything you overheard in those discussions?

MRS. LAURION: I didn’t pay attention. I’ve heard enough of it.

MR. TANICK: Okay. And who has been the source of your information about the case?

MRS. LAURION: Mr. Kelly and what we’ve discussed with him and what we’ve –  I can’t think of the word –  accumulated, you know from talking to him and –

MR. TANICK: All right. Anybody – Mr. Laurion, your husband, I take it, told you about the case.

MRS. LAURION: Yes, sure.

MR. TANICK: Anybody else? Have you talked about the case with anybody else outside of your family members?

MRS. LAURION: No. No, I don’t think anybody else would be interested.

MR. TANICK: Has anyone approached you – friends, people from the community – and say, “Oh, I’ve heard about your case. I heard about your husband’s case. I’ve read about it in the newspaper”? Anything like that?

MRS. LAURION: No. Nobody personal, no.

MR. TANICK: What did you discuss last night with your family?

MRS. LAURION: Oh, how the disposition went.

MR. TANICK: Deposition?

MRS. LAURION: Deposition.

MR. TANICK: You discussed that beforehand with your husband, did you not?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: Before – before –

MRS. LAURION: He told me how – what he experienced.

MR. TANICK: All right. And what did he tell you he experienced?

MRS. LAURION: Questions and answers, and that’s  – just everything that we have talked about since this had happened.

MR. TANICK: What did you talk about with your parents – his parents? I’m sorry. The same?

MRS. LAURION: Yes, he did most of the talking because he was the one disposed – deposed.

MR. TANICK: Did he have any notes or anything?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell them what he talked about in the deposition? Summarize, sort of, the highlights or low lights of the deposition?

MRS. LAURION: Nothing that I –  just the questions you asked him.

MR. TANICK: When you talk about the questions, I take it, he talked about his answers, too?

MRS. LAURION: Oh, yes. Yeah.

MR. TANICK: He said, “Here’s – he asked me about this, and I said such and so”?

MRS. LAURION: Correct.

MR. TANICK: Was there anything he said in your discussion – in his discussion with you or in the discussion with his parents that you thought was new information or different information or something you hadn’t heard before?

MRS. LAURION: Same old stuff.

MR. TANICK: Where were you born and raised? Born first, I guess?

MRS. LAURION: Hammond, Indiana.

MR. TANICK: All right. And were you raised there?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: All right. And how long have you been married?

MRS. LAURION: Thirteen years.

MR. TANICK: And were you previously married?

MRS. LAURION: Yes, I was.

MR. TANICK: And you’ve lived in Duluth how long?

MRS. LAURION: Thirteen years.

MR. TANICK: And did you live in Duluth at any time before you moved here with your husband?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: What do you do for a living? Work?

MRS. LAURION: I do not work at this time.

MR. TANICK: Did you have a job or career or profession or occupation at some point?

MRS. LAURION: My career was when I  – I went to cosmetology school, and I was in the beauty business for seven years until I had my first son.

MR. TANICK: And when’s the last time you’ve been working?

MRS. LAURION: I believe my last job was at the Inn on Lake Superior. It was a room attendant, cleaning rooms.

MR. TANICK: When was that approximately?

MRS. LAURION: Seven years ago.

MR. TANICK: Have you had any – have you worked at all in the health care or medical industry in any way?

MRS. LAURION: Briefly, I was a temp at a gynecologist in the center over at  – across from St. Luke’s. I was a – I typed out reports.

MR. TANICK: Transcribed things?

MRS. LAURION: No, no. No, I wasn’t a transcriptionist.

MR. TANICK: All right.

MRS. LAURION: No, I just filled in things that had to be filled in on the files.

MR. TANICK: When was that, approximately?

MRS. LAURION: Was it seven years since I  – ten.

MR. TANICK: Ten years ago?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: And did you – – were there particular doctors or physicians with whom you worked there?

MRS. LAURION: I couldn’t even remember. It was a temp. job.

MR. TANICK: How long did you do that for?

MRS. LAURION: Probably a minimal of three months.

MR. TANICK: Did you have any interaction with patients?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Any other medical or health care-related jobs or positions?

MRS. LAURION: No. Unh-unh.

MR. TANICK: Have you ever encountered any problems of significance in any kind of health care or medical care that’s been provided to you or your family members?

MRS. LAURION: I’m not understanding this.

MR. TANICK: Have you ever run into any problems with health care – with health care? Had you ever had any unpleasant encounters with medical care or health care people that have provided services to you or family members?

MRS. LAURION: Oh, when I was pregnant with my second son, I was in an examining room, and this – this, I had my clothes on, but from the waist down, I was covered. And the doctor came in and a man in overalls came in with him, and he had this monitor of some sort, and then looking at them, I’m saying, “Why are you bringing” –  you know, I’m thinking, “why are you bring this monitor in there?” And they left the room, and I got very upset and i started crying, and when the doctor came back in, he asked me what’s wrong, and I said, “I’m here half draped. How come you let this person come in with you?” He goes, “Oh, my son was delivering part of our new ultrasound,” and I said, you know, “I don’t care if the Pope comes in, you don’t let somebody come into a room where I’m half-draped.” So that was the one and only experience I ever had negative with a doctor.

MR. TANICK: Did you make any kind of formal complaint about that?

MRS. LAURION: No, because he apologized and said it wouldn’t happen again. It was just – he was just stellar with me through the rest of the pregnancy.

MR. TANICK: Any other untoward experience you’ve encountered with medical providers, either yourself or with family members, that you’ve been present at?

MRS. LAURION: Well, of course, with Ken Laurion.

MR. TANICK: Well, apart from any issues relating to this case?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Anything before April 19th?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: The – you were – well, what – strike that. You were present you were on – you were in the hospital from time to time visiting with your father-in-law, when he went into the hospital with the stroke – with what turned out to be stroke in the middle of April of last year, weren’t you?

MRS. LAURION: (Nodding head.) Mm-hmm.

MR. TANICK: And –

MR. KELLY: Yes or no.

MRS. LAURION: Yes. I’m sorry.

MR. TANICK: And the incident that is involved in this case occurred on April 19th?

MRS. LAURION: Mm-hmm. Yes.

MR. TANICK: All right. Your father-in-law, Kenneth Laurion, had been in St. Luke’s – I mean – St. Luke’s for a couple days before he was transferred from the intensive care unit to the – into a ward room?

MRS. LAURION: Correct.

MR. TANICK: Is that your recollection?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: Can you just tell us what your – generally what your interaction was with – with your father-in-law before he went into the ward room during the couple days he was in the hospital? In other words, can you tell us a little bit – did you come every day? Were you there for long periods of time? What – what was your involvement previous to the time he was in the ward room?

MRS. LAURION: Well, we followed the ambulance that took him, so we were there quite a few hours into the morning, and then we went home. I remember while I was with him, he was nauseated, and several times I had to take one of those little plastic things and put it up underneath his chin so he could vomit in it and not on himself. I can’t distinguish between the first two days, and then when he was put in the ward room, so I couldn’t tell you if it was the first or second day he was in the ICU or, you know, the ward room. He looked better, he was talking better, and actually was having a nice visit with him when he got into the ward room.

MR. TANICK: Pardon? Sorry?

MRS. LAURION: Had a nice visit with him when we – when he was moved to the ward room.

MR. TANICK: All right. Were you with your husband at all times when he was visiting with his father?

MRS. LAURION: No, not all the time.

MR. TANICK: Okay. Do you recall how it was that you came to visit with your father-in-law in the ward room?

MRS. LAURION: Oh, Dennis, I, and Lois Laurion went to see him.

MR. TANICK: Okay, were – were you called by someone from the hospital, either you or someone was called and said your father’s being – Mr. Laurion is being transferred to the ward room, and then you went down there? Is that sort of what prompted you to get down there at that time?

MRS. LAURION: I don’t know who called who but, yeah, we knew he was being transferred to the ward.

MR. TANICK: And did all three of you arrive together, then?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: And you went into his room in the ward?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: Was that around dinner time on April 19th?

MRS. LAURION: I would say we got there before 6:00.

MR. TANICK: Well, around 6:00 or . . .

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: All right. And what . . . what did you see when you got there? What did you observe when you arrived?

MRS. LAURION: We could not immediately go into the room because they were setting up my father-in-law, you know, in his bed and with all his wires and stuff.

MR. TANICK: So he was sort of in the process of being transferred there?

MRS. LAURION: Correct.

MR. TANICK: So you waited outside?

MRS. LAURION: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

MR. TANICK: And then he got set up?

MRS. LAURION: And then we – – they said we could go in and see him.

MR. TANICK: All right. How long were you – – the three of you in there before Dr. McKee arrived on the scene, approximately?

MRS. LAURION: Enough time for him to have a meal and chitchat for a while. He was done with his meal.

MR. TANICK: All right. Can you give us an estimate about how long the three of you were in there until the time Dr. McKee arrived?

MRS. LAURION: Probably no less than twenty and no more than forty.

MR. TANICK: And what condition did your father seem – – did your father-in-law seem at that point after having a meal?

MRS. LAURION: How did he seem?

MR. TANICK: Yeah, did he seem to be in – – obviously, he’s in the hospital, so he’s not in great condition, but was he co – – was he cogent and talking?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: Articulate and – –

MRS. LAURION: Mm-hmm. Yes.

MR. TANICK: – – alert?

MRS. LAURION: Oh, yes.

MR. TANICK: Was he – – did he reflect that he was in any pain or discomfort?

MRS. LAURION: Well, I’m sure he was uncomfortable in some way. I don’t know. I’m not him, you know. He was talking and we were having a good conversation.

MR. TANICK: All right. At some point, then, did you – – did Dr. McKee come in the room?

MRS. LAURION: Oh, at some point, yes.

MR. TANICK: All right. Did you know who Dr. McKee was beforehand?

MRS. LAURION: Didn’t have a clue.

MR. TANICK: You had never heard of him?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Or heard about him or anything?

MRS. LAURION: No. It was the neurologist that was coming to do the exam.

MR. TANICK: And did you – – you were present in the room during the entire time Dr. McKee – – during the time Dr. McKee was there until you and your mother-in-law and Mr. Laurion stepped out. Right?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: About how long was that before you stepped out of the room?

MRS. LAURION: Probably less than seven minutes.

MR. TANICK: Have you . . . you’ve read the posting that your husband put on . . . on Web sites, have you not?

MRS. LAURION: No, I have not.

MR. TANICK: You’ve never seen that?

MRS. LAURION: Unh. . . unh. (Shaking head.)

MR. TANICK: well, let me show you what’s been marked as Exhibit 1 in this case. Or you can look at Exhibit 2 or you can look at Exhibit 3. They’re all the same, but . . . I’ll just give you a minute to read that.

MRS. LAURION: (Reviewing document.) Oh, I’ve read these, but I did not see them.

MR. TANICK: Okay. Well that . . . you mean you didn’t see them when they were posted?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Okay. You’ve read them since then?

MRS. LAURION: No, not since then. I . . . I . . .

MR. TANICK: When did you first read any kind of communication?

MRS. LAURION: Well, this is . . .

MR. TANICK: Let me ask you this question. When did you first read any kind of written commun . . . written or electronic communication or summary narrative that your husband prepared about the incident with Dr. McKee?

MRS. LAURION: The only thing that I saw and read, because I was proofreading it for him , was his letter to the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice.

MR. TANICK: All right. Were you aware that he had posted on Web sites information about the . . .

MRS. LAURION: I was aware that he had posted . . .

MR. TANICK: . . . encounter with . . .

MRS. LAURION: . . . but I never . . .

REPORTER: Just a minute.

MR. KELLY: Wait, wait, wait.

MR. TANICK: Let me finish the question. Were you aware that he had posted any web site information?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: When did you become so aware?

MRS. LAURION: Because he told me.

MR. TANICK: When?

MRS. LAURION: I don’t know when.

MR. TANICK: Was it about the time he did it?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: All right. The Web site postings were done on or about April 22nd, April 23rd, right after your . . . Mr. Laurion was released from the hospital. Was that about the time he told you he had posted something on the Web site?

MRS. LAURION: The time frame seems correct.

MR. TANICK: Okay and did . . . what were the . . . what was the context of him telling you, “I posted something on the Web site”?

MRS. LAURION: I don’t recall.

MR. TANICK: And have you seen what he posted on the Web site subsequently? You’re looking at it now, but . . .

MRS. LAURION: Yeah. No.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you what posted on the Web site?

MRS. LAURION: Well, he told me what the contents of some of the things were, yes.

MR. TANICK: What did he tell you?

MRS. LAURION: It was a lot like . . . what he told me, it sounded a lot like the letter that he sent to the board.

MR. TANICK: All right. Did he tell you that he had posted on Web sites data that . . . about his . . . the encounter you had with Dr. McKee that was consistent or similar to what was in the letter to the board?

MRS. LAURION: Pretty much.

MR. TANICK: And did you encourage him, discourage him from doing that, or make any kind of comments at all?

MRS. LAURION: That was his thing. I wasn’t involved in it.

MR. TANICK: Did he ask for your thoughts or opinion about doing it?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you why he was posting material on the Web site or Web sites?

MRS. LAURION: It was a rating, doctor rating sites.

MR. TANICK: But did he tell you why he did it, what his motivation, reason, purpose . . .

MRS. LAURION: I never asked him directly what his motivation was.

MR. TANICK: well, did he tell you?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did he say, “I’m doing this because of so and so,” or “my goal is to do such and so,” or “I want to do this because of”?

MRS. LAURION: No, we didn’t have that conversation. He just said, “I did this,” and I said, “Okay.”

MR. TANICK: So the only . . . I take it, then, from what you’re saying, the only communication that you’ve seen in writing or electronically about this incident, other than what you may have read in getting ready for this deposition, was the letter to the medical board?

MR. KELLY: Objection. I don’t think that’s what she testified to.

MR. TANICK: Am I correct? You can correct me. I want . . . I just want to know what your facts are.

MRS. LAURION: My main sources have been . . . for this deposition were the things that Mr. Kelly put in the brochure that he let us take home.

MR. TANICK: I don’t want to ask you about Mr. Kelly’s brochure. I’m going back to April and May . . .

MRS. LAURION: Okay.

MR. TANICK: . . . in the aftermath of your father . . . of your father-in-law’s treatment with Dr. McKee. I just want to know what it is that you saw electronically or in writing that described the incident, and I thought you said the only thing you saw was the complaint to the medical board, the letter to the medical board, but if I’m wrong, you correct me.

MRS. LAURION: If you’re talking about seeing it on the computer itself, I have never seen it on the computer myself.

MR. TANICK: All right. Well, that’s . . .

MRS. LAURION: I didn’t go to those sites.

MR. TANICK: All right. Let’s take . . . let’s delete the computer, then.

MRS. LAURION: Okay.

MR. TANICK: Is there anything else you saw on pieces of paper or any other kind of tangible format?

MRS. LAURION: No, not . . . the letter is the thing that I concentrated on, and I didn’t pay any attention to anything else he was writing.

MR. TANICK: All right. Did . . . were you aware that he wrote a number of letters to various entities and organizations?

MRS. LAURION: Yes, I was aware of that.

MR. TANICK: How were you aware of that?

MRS. LAURION: Because he told me.

MR. TANICK: What did he tell you?

MRS. LAURION: He was writing to them.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you which ones he wrote to?

MRS. LAURION: I saw a list, but I can’t remember any of them. It’s . . . like I said, it was not my thing to do that.

MR. TANICK: That’s fine. Just tell us what you know . . . and . . . what you know, you know, and tell us what you don’t know. Did . . . did he tell you at some point did you understand that he had written a similar letter to . . . comparable to the one he wrote to the medical board to a number of different organizations and entities, that he showed you a list of who he wrote to? Is that . . .

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: . . . fair? Okay. What did he tell you about that?

MRS. LAURION: I just know that he was writing to . . . what do you call it? Peer groups.

MR. TANICK: Okay.

MRS. LAURION: Okay. Yeah.

MR. TANICK: What’s a peer group?

MRS. LAURION: Like the medical board. People that were also staffed with doctors that would probably look at it.

MR. TANICK: Peers of Dr. McKee?

MRS. LAURION: I guess if they’re doctors, they’re peers.

MR. TANICK: Did he . . . did he tell you why he was writing those letters?

MRS. LAURION: Because he had the right to.

MR. TANICK: But did he tell you? Did he say, “I’m writing because I have the right to”? Is that what he said?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you any other reason?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you what his purpose or his goal was or what he hoped to achieve or accomplish by that?

MR. KELLY: Asked and answered.

MR. TANICK: By those letters? I didn’t ask that question.

MRS. LAURION: I guess it would be the same thing as going to just a step up from “judge the doctor” or “rate the doctor” and getting a little bit of more professional opinion on the case.

MR. TANICK: well, you understood he was trying to convey information to Dr. McKee’s . . . by going to the Web site, you understood he was publishing that to the world at large, weren’t you? Didn’t you understand that?

MRS. LAURION: No, I didn’t look at it that way.

MR. TANICK: All right. Did you understand that by contacting these peer groups , as you refer to them, he was trying to convey information to people that interact with or have business or professional dealings with Dr. McKee?

MRS. LAURION: No. Again, like I said, it was . . . to me, it was just another step up from, you know, “rate your doctor,” as it would be like “rate a hotel,” rate, you know, something where you shopped at.

MR. TANICK: But when you say a step up, what . . . you thought a step up to what?

MRS. LAURION: It was . . .

MR. TANICK: What’s . . . what’s the destination of those steps, in your opinion? In your view?

MRS. LAURION: To have a professional point of view on what had happened to my father-in-law.

MR. TANICK: He was trying to secure a professional point of view?

MRS. LAURION: Well, not so much secure as . . . if I was writing it, I would have been interested in the right or wrong of what was done to my father-in-law.

MR. TANICK: But did he tell you what his purpose was?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did you . . . did you give any kind of advice and counsel or guidance to him with respect to any of the matters we’ve discussed?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did you think about doing it yourself?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: “Well, I was there. I think I should write to somebody?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did you talk to your mother-in-law about her communicating with anybody?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: All right. Let’s go back now to the . . . to the actual incident itself in the hospital. I asked you to read that Web site posting there, which your husband testified he posted, and did you have a chance to read it? I don’t know if you had a chance.

MRS. LAURION: (Reviewing document.) Okay.

MR. TANICK: Is that a fair summation of what you observed happened during that encounter?

MRS. LAURION: I would like to tell you what I think happened . . .

MR. TANICK: Well, I asked you if that’s a . . . if that’s a fair summation. In the ballpark here?

MRS. LAURION: It’s somebody else’s opinion.

MR. TANICK: Well, I’m just asking . . . I’ll withdraw the question. I want to know if . . . let me ask you this. Is there anything in that posting that you’ve just read that you think is either inaccurate or incomplete or wrong or incorrect or missing or deleted?

MRS. LAURION: I would not have written it that way.

MR. TANICK: Why not?

MRS. LAURION: Because I saw it differently.

MR. TANICK: All right. Tell me what you saw that differs from what is in Exhibit 1.

MRS. LAURION: No, I won’t tell you how it differs. I’ll tell you what I saw.

MR. TANICK: No, well, you’ll answer my question. Just tell me what you saw that differs from what’s in Exhibit 1.

MRS. LAURION: It doesn’t differ.

MR. TANICK: All right. Then tell me what you saw, then, ma’am.

MRS. LAURION: You’re talking about that day when Dr. McKee came to do the exam?

MR. TANICK: Yeah. Right.

MRS. LAURION: He walked into the room. He stood at the head of my father’s bed. He said, “Are you Ken Laurion?” My father said, “Yes.” And then the doctor said, “I was looking for you in the ICU, couldn’t find you, was wondering if you had been transferred or died.” That was the first comment that really upset me, like, “Why is he saying that?” Then, he walked towards . . . oh, no. Then he walked . . . then he said, “hemorrhagic” . . . am I saying that right? “Hemorrhagic stroke victims usually die in ICU.” And then he walked closer to my father and said, “I’m going to do a neurology exam on you,” and my father-in-law said that he’d had a similar exam by the other doctors and nurses and stuff like that, and that the therapist had also been to see him. And Dr. McKee said, “Therapy? You don’t need therapy, which also struck me as strange.

MR. TANICK: All right. Let me stop you there for a minute. Did he say anything . . . you don’t remember him saying anything about a certain percentage of people?

MRS. LAURION: No, I did not hear any . . . I did . . .

MR. TANICK: Just . . . I understand you want to answer my question. It will make it harder for her if you . . . just let me finish my question.

MRS. LAURION: All right.

MR. TANICK: Did he say anything . . . did Dr. McKee say anything about a particular percentage or a percentage or a specific percentage of stroke victims die . . . expire in internal . . . in intensive care?

MRS. LAURION: I did not hear a specific number. It went more like a percentage. I mean “a percentage” is what I heard.

MR. TANICK: did he use a particular percentage?

MRS. LAURION: I might not have caught it.

MR. TANICK: I’m asking you what you heard, not what you . . .

MRS. LAURION: All I heard was “a percentage.” So, if he had said a number, I did not catch it.

MR. TANICK: After the discussion of therapy, was there some physical contact between Mr. Laurion . . . Kenneth Laurion and Dr. McKee?

MRS. LAURION: Yes. Dr. McKee asked if my father-in-law could stand up and walk a little, and he said he could stand up and walk a little, and he said, “I would,” he goes, “but my gown is open in the back.” [ Comment is absent from this display because it discusses an assertion never made in public. ] He says, “I don’t want my back side to be seen. [ Comment is absent from this display because it discusses an assertion never made in public. ] And Dr. McKee said something about, “Well, that doesn’t matter,” and that’s when it really hit me that he was . . . he wasn’t being nice to my father-in-law, and I said, “We matter . . . it matters to us.” And I believe I or my husband said to Dad, “Dad, do you want us to leave the room while he examines you,” and he said . . . Dad said, “Yes.” So then we left the room.

MR. TANICK: And how long were the three of you . . . all three of you outside the room?

MRS. LAURION: Right outside the door.

MR. TANICK: But how long? Did it last . . . how long until Dr. McKee exited from the room? Approximately.

MRS. LAURION: Between five and seven minutes.

MR. TANICK: All right. Now, have you told us everything you remember about the incident, at least until Dr. McKee left the room?

MRS. LAURION: Well, when he left the room, he just said that we can go in now.

MR. TANICK: He did talk to you when he left. Right?

MRS. LAURION: That’s all he said.

MR. TANICK: And then what?

MRS. LAURION: We went back . . . well, we started going into the room, and I was in first.

REPORTER: (The witness is crying.)

MR. KELLY: Do you need a second? Here. (Handing.)

MRS. LAURION: I walked in there, and my father-in-law . . . I’m sorry. He was hanging on the bed railings  like this (indicating), and his feet weren’t touching the floor, but they were just dangling, and he was like this (indicating). He was holding on, and then I could see up his gown, so I turned right around and I told Dennis, “Go in there and cover your father up.” He did.

MR. TANICK: Okay. Anything else you can recall?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: When Dr. McKee left the room, did you see . . . did you have occasion to see his facial features?

MRS. LAURION: I wasn’t paying attention to him.

MR. TANICK: You didn’t see him scowling or having an angry look on his face?

MRS. LAURION: I wasn’t paying attention to him.

MR. TANICK: So you didn’t see that?

MRS. LAURION: No.

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

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

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

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

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

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

MR. TANICK: And that would be pretty . . . I take it that was an important feature, in your mind? [ Comment is absent from this display because it discusses an assertion never made in public. ]

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

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

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

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

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

MR. TANICK: Did you feel that this was an important feature of this encounter?

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

MR. TANICK: Have you put your . . . what you . . . have you expressed your account of this incident in any kind of communication . . . written comm . . . written or electronic? You haven’t gone on the Internet or computer or anything to convey information, have you?

MRS. LAURION: No. Not personally, no.

MR. TANICK: All right. Have you conveyed your account of this in any other way in written or electronic or tangible format?

MRS. LAURION: The only way would be my addition to my husband’s thing to the medical board.

MR. TANICK: You . . . you submitted material to the medical board, and I’ll ask you about that in a moment. Is there any other . . . other way or forum, that you’ve . . .

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: . . . communicated this in some tangible written way, in a letter or a diary entry or notation?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Some kind of communication to other people?

MRS. LAURION: Verbal. I shared with my family members, but not written.

MR. TANICK: Okay. Did you share verbal information . . . I guess oral information with anybody else but family members?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: All right. Take a look at Exhibit 15.

MRS. LAURION: (Reviewing document.)

MR. TANICK: (Clearing throat.) Pardon me.

MRS. LAURION: (Reviewing document.) Okay.

MR. TANICK: Have you had a chance to read that now?

MRS. LAURION: I’m sorry?

MR. TANICK: You’ve had a chance to read that now, have you not?

MRS. LAURION: That’s what I sent to them, yes.

MR. TANICK: Is this . . . does this document reflect the totality of your recollection of what happened in the encounter with Dr. McKee?

MRS. LAURION: (Reviewing document.) It’s a slice of it. It’s not the totality.

MR. TANICK: Is there anything that you . . . that . . . well, I . . . is there anything that you want to add to this account that you haven’t . . . that you didn’t put in here or haven’t told us about already?

MRS. LAURION: No. What I told you what happened in the room is what I believe and remember.

MR. TANICK: Who prepared this document? It’s signed by you, but I just want . . . did your husband prepare it for you?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: He composed it, in other words. Right?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: He wrote it. Then did he show it to you and said, “I’d like you to sign it” or . . .

MRS. LAURION: No. We read it together and I checked it.

MR. TANICK: All right. But the wording is his words, not your words?

MRS. LAURION: No, the words are mine, because he says what I . . . what we both saw and said in the room, so I find nothing wrong with that.

MR. TANICK: Do you know what . . . you . . . your name is on this complaint here on the front page . . .

MRS. LAURION: Mm-hmm.

MR. TANICK: . . . and it refers to . . . this refers . . . the document refers to “my complaint.” Did you consider yourself to be a complainant? Did you understand that you were filing a separate complaint or did you understand it supplemented your husband’s complaint?

MRS. LAURION: No, I was supplementing my husband’s complaint because in his letter . . . form letter, he did not talk about the . . . that my father-in-law was exposed when I headed into the room. And he did not include in that first letter to the board that the threat letter and the sue came after that.

MR. TANICK: There were certain things that were not in his letter that . . . or complaint to the board that you felt out to be called to the board’s attention?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: All right. Did he tell you to do that or was it your decision to file this with the board?

MRS. LAURION: Oh, I . . . if I had to file it, I’d  . . .  yeah, it’s . . . if I could, that’s what I would like to do, and he said I could.

MR. TANICK: Well, let me ask it this way. Did he . . . how is that someone . . . how is it that a decision was made to send something to the board over your name with this letter? Was it something he came to you said, “Bonnie, I’d like you to” . . . “there’s some new information that we ought to send to the board to supplement it,” or . . .

MRS. LAURION: He didn’t know about the new information. I said, “You left this and this out.” So I said . . . and he goes, “Oh, would you mind if we made another letter, and you know, ran it off,” and I says, “Okay.” And then we added the things I was reminding him about.

MR. TANICK: Okay. So you were the initiator of this?

MRS. LAURION: Co-initiator once I realized that he had missed two points.

MR. TANICK: Was there anything else you thought he missed?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Would you take a look at the second page, last paragraph?

MRS. LAURION: Start it off. Which one is it?

MR. TANICK: Yeah. “On May 17th, 2010.”

MRS. LAURION: Okay. (Reviewing document.)

MR. TANICK: There’s a phrase here, it says, “On May 21st, 2010, Dr. McKee served my husband with a hip-pocket defamation suit.” Do you know what a hip-pocket defamation suit is?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah. I found out through this, yeah.

MR. TANICK: What is . . . that’s something your husband told you. Right? He . . . he . . . that was his terminology, not yours?

MRS. LAURION: I used it after I was informed of what a hip-pocket lawsuit was.

MR. TANICK: Did you ever talk to . . . after you got . . . left the hospital that day . . . I’m referring now back to April 19th . . . did you have a dis . . . when did you first discuss with your husband what happened with Dr. McKee?

MRS. LAURION: What do you mean? When did I discuss . . .

MR. TANICK: When did you first discuss it? You went back in the room; you told us what happened back in the room. Did you have an occasion after McKee had left to have a discussion with your husband and say, “My gosh, let’s talk about what happened”?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: Okay.

MRS. LAURION: My husband, I, and my mother-in-law  all talked about it at dinner.

MR. TANICK: That evening?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: All right. And did all of your accounts . . . were all of your accounts the same or similar or were there differences between what he remembered, you remembered, and your mother-in-law remembered?

MRS. LAURION: It’s not a factor of remembering. It’s what each of us saw . . .

MR. TANICK: Okay.

MRS. LAURION: . . . because of the position we were sitting in.

MR. TANICK: All right. Do you recall, in discussing amongst the three of you, were there differences in your viewpoints? One was about the percentage, I take it? How many people or what percentage of people died; there was some difference there?

MRS. LAURION: (Nodding head.) Mm-hmm.

MR. KELLY: Yes . . .

MR. TANICK: You have to answer audibly.

MR. KELLY: . . . or no.

MRS. LAURION: I’m sorry?

MR. KELLY: Use the words “yes” or “no” so the court reporter can get your answer, please.

MRS. LAURION: Sorry. I keep forgetting.

MR. TANICK: That was a difference in what your three accounts were. Right? Is that right?

MR. KELLY: I think you’ll have to repeat the question . . .

MR. TANICK: Sure.

MR. KELLY: . . . because I interrupted.

MR. TANICK: Sure. Your husband was of the view that Dr. McKee said something to the effect of 44 percent of hemorrhagic stroke patients die in the ICU. Right?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: And you said, “Well, I don’t remember him saying,” “He said a percentage. I don’t remember a specific percentage”?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah. Neither my . . . neither me or my mother-in-law remember the actual numbers.

MR. TANICK: All right. Did your mother-in-law say that he said a percentage too?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: So her version is the same as hers?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: Which is different than your husband’s in terms of the number?

MRS. LAURION: (Nodding head.) Mm-hmm.

MR. TANICK: Were there any other differences in terms of what the three of you were talking about?

MRS. LAURION: I’d be at a strain to remember right now.

MR. TANICK: All right. Did you have subsequent discussions about this incident, then, with your husband during the next couple days as he developed and put this on the Web site and wrote these letters? Was it a subject of continuing discussion amongst you?

MRS. LAURION: We discussed it, but we didn’t discuss over it. I don’t know what you’re saying. It’s in conversations . . .

MR. TANICK: Did any new information come to the . . . come to your attention in subsequent days about this incident?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: did you have any further discussion . . . did Mr. . . . did your husband ever tell you that he ran into some nurse he knew from his days at St. Luke’s?

MRS. LAURION: St. Mary’s.

MR. TANICK: St. Mary’s. I’m sorry. Did he ever tell you about running into some nurse?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: All right. And when did he tell you that about that?

MRS. LAURION: Oh, geez. I don’t know. Whatever day he went to the Post Office.

MR. TANICK: All right. So he told you about it as right when it happened?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: All right. And I think the testimony here is . . . and if you look at that Web site, this Web site was posted on or about April 22nd, and it talked . . . in the last sentence, it refers to this nurse friend of his. Right? So, from a time standpoint, apparently this . . . his encounter with this nurse friend at the Post Office happened on or around April 22nd? I’m just representing that to you so you can put it in some time frame.

MRS. LAURION: (Shrugging.)

MR. TANICK: Does that jibe . . .

MRS. LAURION: Do you remember when your wife goes grocery shopping?

MR. KELLY: Just . . . Bonnie, please. You’ve got to wait for him to finish his question so that the court reporter can get the question before you give the answer. Okay?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: I know you’re upset. I’m just trying to help you in the time frame. It appears as though this incident with the nurse was on or about April 22nd, shortly after this incident with Dr. McKee. Does that jibe with your recollection?

MRS. LAURION: I don’t recall. All I know is my husband went to the Post Office, he came back . . .

MR. TANICK: All right. But tell . . .

MRS. LAURION: . . . and told me the story.

MR. TANICK: Tell me what he told you.

MRS. LAURION: He said he bumped into . . . I think this is one of the ladies that he didn’t work with, but they . . . they dropped things off to him that he needs, you know, to put the files together. And he said he couldn’t remember her name. And she says, “What’s going on.” And he said something about . . . about the incident at the hospital. She . . . he said a neurologist, and she said . . . mentioned Dr. McKee’s name. And my husband said, “Yes,” and then he told me she said, “He’s a real tool.” I don’t even know what that means.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you anything else?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: When he told you that she said, “He’s a real tool” . . .

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: . . . did he tell you what he thought that meant?

MRS. LAURION: No. I didn’t ask either.

MR. TANICK: Did you . . . did you . . . that’s my next question. Did you ask him what he meant?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: No?

MRS. LAURION: A real tool. I don’t know what it means, and I don’t care what it means. I didn’t think it was a nice comment about him.

MR. TANICK: Why not? If you don’t know what it means, why did you think it was not nice?

MRS. LAURION: Same way you . . . I don’t know. Just it wasn’t complimentary.

MR. TANICK: Did you understand it was a . . . in some way it was pejorative? Deprecatory?

MRS. LAURION: What does “pejorative” mean?

MR. TANICK: Negative. Unfavorable.

MRS. LAURION: Okay.

MR. TANICK: Right?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: did you have any discussion with your husband? “Geez, what does that word mean”?

MRS. LAURION: No, I didn’t discuss that. I just didn’t know what it meant, and it didn’t matter to me.

MR. TANICK: It wasn’t important?

MRS. LAURION: No, not to me.

MR. TANICK: Did he indicate that he thought that there was some significance attached to that encounter with the nurse?

MRS. LAURION: Probably maybe because McKee had made a name for himself among other people.

MR. TANICK: Is that what he said or . . .

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: . . . implied?

MRS. LAURION: That’s what I’m saying.

MR. TANICK: All right. But did he . . .

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did your . . . did your husband say, “This is really important because of such-and-so”?

MRS. LAURION: No. Unh-uhn.

MR. TANICK: Do you . . . did he say anything more . . . did you ask him any questions about “Who is this nurse” or “where” . . . anything like that?

MRS. LAURION: Nope.

MR. TANICK: Did he give you any . . . did he provide any further description of the nurse?

MRS. LAURION: No. Just couldn’t remember her name.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you how long he had worked with her?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MRTANICK: Did he tell you what department she worked in?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you where she . . . where she lived or what area she lived in.

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did you ever talk to your husband about contacting Dr. McKee? “Let’s call him or write him or go visit him and express our concern about how he treated” your husband . . . I’m sorry, your father . . . his father?

MRS. LAURION: It’s his father, and I just thought he would do anything that he, you know, felt needed to, to get, you know, some answers.

MR. TANICK: Well, my question was did you and your husband ever talk about the possibility of contacting Dr. McKee, calling and writing him, visiting him, and expressing these concerns to him directly?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did you ever . . . did he . . . did you and he ever talk about his plan to write these letters to various entities before he wrote them?

MRS. LAURION: I have no idea.

MR. TANICK: You don’t remember or you don’t know?

MRS. LAURION: We never talked about it. I don’t have any idea.

MRTANICK: Well, he didn’t ask you ? “I’m going to write these letters. Do you think that’s a good idea,” or anything like that?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did he ever talk to you about his . . . he received a letter from my office, from me, relating to his statements that he had made about Dr. McKee. You’re aware of that, are you?

MRS. LAURION: Mm-hmm.

MR. TANICK: Did he talk to you about anything after he received that letter? And just for your reference, you can look at the letter, if you want. It’s Exhibit 7, I believe. You can read it if you want. You don’t have to, but my question is . . . that at least will put it in a time frame for you. The document . . . I’m sorry. It’s Exhibit 6. It’s in the pile there. It’s Exhibit 6, if you want to look at it. But it was sent to him on or about May 7th. My question to you is . . . is whether he talked to you about the receipt of that letter?

MRS. LAURION: (Reviewing document.) I do not recognize a letter like this. I remember the letter that was handed to me at the door by a process server.

MR. TANICK: All right. Well, my . . . my question to you is whether he ever talked to you about, or words to the effect of, “Key, I got a letter today from a lawyer for Dr. McKee who’s making some assertion that I shouldn’t have” . . . or “that I should stop” . . .

MRS. LAURION: I don’t . . .

MR. TANICK: . . . making . . .

MRS. LAURION: I don’t recognize this letter.

MR. TANICK: Well, I didn’t ask if you recognized the letter. I just asked you, did he ever tell you, “Bonnie,” or “I got a letter from McKee’s lawyer making some assertions”?

MRS. LAURION: I’m telling you I was the one who answered the door when this guy gave us this letter. Of course I saw it.

MR. TANICK: I’m not asking if you saw it. I said, did he ever tell you that he received it? Did he talk to you about it? Let me back up. Let me start over again. Did you have any discussion with your husband . . . not with process servers. Did you ever discuss with your husband the fact that he had received a letter from me and our law firm concerning Dr. McKee?

MRS. LAURION: He didn’t have to tell me. I took the letter from the guy at the door.

MR. TANICK: Okay.

MR. KELLY: Bonnie . . .

MR. TANICK: Was the letter in . . .

MR. KELLY: . . . just relax.

MR. TANICK: Was the letter in an envelope?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: Did you open the envelope?

MRS. LAURION: I did not open it. I gave it to my husband.

MR. TANICK: All right. So you didn’t know what the letter was about, did you?

MRS. LAURION: It said to Dennis.

MR. TANICK: I know. So you knew that there was a letter from our law firm addressed to . . .

MRS. LAURION: He said, “Consider yourself served” . . .

MR. TANICK: All right.

MRS. LAURION: . . . was the guy’s . . . what he said.

MR. TANICK: Okay. Now my question is, did you talk to Dennis, your husband, and say, “What was in that envelope? What was in that envelope?”

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: Okay, what did he tell you?

MRS. LAURION: To the effect about taking down the Web sites. That’s the only thing I really remember about it.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you something to the effect of, “I got’ . . . “that letter from” . . . “that you received today was a letter from the lawyer for Dr. McKee asking me to take down the Web sites,” or words to that effect? Is that what he told you, to the best of your recollection?

MRS. LAURION: I read the thing.

MR. TANICK: Okay. So he showed you the letter?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: Okay. Did he . . . did you read it . . . did you read it before you gave it to him or did he show it to you?

MRS. LAURION: I read it after he read it.

MR. TANICK: Did you have any discussion with him about the contents of the letter?

MRS. LAURION: Probably, but I can’t remember details.

MR. TANICK: Well, you’re here to remember what you . . . you can. If you don’t remember, you can say so.

MRS. LAURION: Okay. I don’t remember.

MR. TANICK: Okay. Do you remember him . . . did he . . . did he tell you anything about what he . . . did he express to you how he felt about receiving that letter?

MRS. LAURION: I thought it was intimidating.

MR. TANICK: Did he say he was angry about it?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: Or upset?

MRS. LAURION: He was angry.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you what he planned or intended or thought or contemplated doing in response to that letter?

MRS. LAURION: No, not at that moment.

MR. TANICK: did he tell you at some other moment?

MRS. LAURION: He may have, but I don’t remember details.

MR. TANICK: Well, what do you remember about it?

MRS. LAURION: The only thing I remember was the next process was, you know, to find out what was going on, was to see if he . . . if the board agreed with what was going on, and he had the right to do that, to appeal to the board.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you that he was going to communicate with anybody else about the . . . the matter with Dr. McKee after he received my letter?

MRS. LAURION: I don’t recall.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you that he was going to contact any television stations or the newspaper?

MRS. LAURION: He may mentioned that he would, but I never understood when. You know, I mean, I didn’t know when he would do that, or had he done it.

MR. TANICK: When did he mention that?

MRS. LAURION: I don’t remember.

MR. TANICK: Was it after you received the letter?

MRS. LAURION: (Nodding head.) Mm-hmm.

MR. TANICK: Do you remember what . . . what proximity to the receipt of the letter that was?

MRS. LAURION: (Shaking head.)

MR. KELLY: Answer the question.

MR. TANICK: You have to answer the question audibly.

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: would you take a look at Exhibit 7?

MR. KELLY: The Exhibits are right here before you, Bonnie.

MRS. LAURION: Yeah. They’re not numbered.

MR. KELLY: Would you do me a favor and relax? Take your time. Here’s Exhibit 7. (Handing.)

MRS. LAURION: (Reviewing document.)

MR. TANICK: I’m going to tell you, Mrs. Laurion, that that is a letter that Mr. . . . your husband sent to me in response to the letter that you just saw of May 7th. My question to you is whether you saw . . . have you ever seen that before?

MRS. LAURION: (Reviewing document.) I don’t think I ever saw this specific letter.

MR. TANICK: Have you seen something comparable or similar or a different version of it?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you that he was going to write back or respond to the letter he received from McKee’s lawyer, me?

MRS. LAURION: He never said it to me.

MR. TANICK: did he tell you what, if anything, he was going to do in response to that letter?

MRS. LAURION: Not that I recall.

MR. TANICK: Did he indicate to you that he had no intention of corresponding with anybody about Dr. McKee?

MRS. LAURION: Say this again?

MR. TANICK: Did he ever . . . did he tell you, “I’m not . . . “I’m not going to” . . . “I’m planning” . . . “I’m not planning on contacting or communicating or talking with anyone about Dr. McKee” after he received my letter?

MRS. LAURION: I’m . . . I’m sorry.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you words to the effect, after receiving the letter that we’ve been talking about on May 7th, that, “I’m not going to communicate or talk or write to anybody about Dr. McKee”?

MRS. LAURION: No, he never said that to me.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you he was going to remove any postings he had made on Web sites about Dr. McKee?

MRS. LAURION: Yes, he said he was going to remove the posts.

MR. TANICK: Did he tell you why?

MRS. LAURION: Because you asked.

MR. TANICK: Well, did he tell you why he was doing it because I asked?

MRS. LAURION: I don’t recall a reason.

MR. TANICK: did he tell you that he was going to . . . were you aware that he communicated with anybody in the television or newspaper. I think you said you weren’t aware. Right?

MRS. LAURION: Not that I recall.

MR. TANICK: All right. Did you become aware at some point that he communicated with anybody in the . . . within with the . . . at the newspaper?

MRS. LAURION: Eventually, yes.

MR. TANICK: How did you become aware of that?

MRS. LAURION: I don’t remember.

MR. TANICK: Did you become aware of that before the newspaper article appeared or after?

MRS. LAURION: I don’t remember.

MR. TANICK: Do you remember discussing with him the . . . that a newspaper article might be published or printed about the case?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Did you read the newspaper article?

MRS. LAURION: Yes, I did.

MR. TANICK: When were you first aware that there was going to be a newspaper article?

MRS. LAURION: I can’t tell you when he first said . . . as far as I know, it would never have been . . . I mean, you know, he . . . I don’t know anything about the article was going to be submitted.

MR. TANICK: All right. So the first time you became aware of it was when you read the newspaper. Is that what you’re saying?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: He didn’t tell you ahead of time that he had been in contact with a newspaper reporter and there might be an article being published or printed?

MRS. LAURION: Not that I recall.

MR. TANICK: Did he talk to you at all after the newspaper was published about the newspaper article itself?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Do you happen to know a Mark Stodghill? That’s the reporter in the newspaper article.

MRS. LAURION: I’ve heard his name.

MR. TANICK: Do you know him?

MRS. LAURION: Do I know him?

MR. TANICK: Yeah.

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Do you know where he lives?

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: You’ve heard his name, what, in connection with just his work as a newspaper reporter?

MRS. LAURION: Correct.

MR. TANICK: I take it, from your description here . . . well, let’s strike that. Were you angry about the treatment that your father-in-law received from Dr. McKee?

MRS. LAURION: Yeah.

MR. TANICK: What made you angry about it?

MRS. LAURION: [ Comment is absent from this display because it discusses an assertion never made in public. ] It’s like the patient’s feelings weren’t really taken into consideration. He wasn’t . . . my father-in-law was not being heard, and when he was heard, it was . . . sounded like it was being dismissed. “Oh, you don’t need therapy.” “Oh, that doesn’t matter.”

MR. TANICK: Have you ever talked to your father-in-law about his treatment by Dr. McKee?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: And when was that?

MRS. LAURION: I don’t know when. It’s always been in family conversations.

MR. TANICK: What’s he told you about his attitude about this?

MRS. LAURION: You’d have to ask him.

MR. TANICK: No, I’m asking what he told you.

REPORTER: (The witness is crying.)

MRS. LAURION: I’m sorry. I don’t remember exactly what he discussed with me.

MR. TANICK: Okay. Well, why don’t we take a short break.

MR. KELLY: All right.

(Brief recess from approximately 11:16 a.m. to approximately 11:26 a.m.)

MR. TANICK: We took a short break, Ms. Laurion. Is there anything that you want to add to or delete from or change or modify any of your previous testimony or something else you thought of during the break?

MRS. LAURION: No. No, sir.

MR. TANICK: I think when we took the break, I had asked you about communications you had with your father-in-law, what he told you or what he thought about his treatment by Dr. McKee. Do you remember anything he said over the course of the last nine months about his encounter with Dr. McKee?

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

MR. TANICK: Anything else?

MRS. LAURION: No, that kind of sticks big in my mind. I can’t remember anything else.

MR. TANICK: Did you have . . . did you have occasion to discuss with your father-in-law what happened with Dr. McKee?

MRS. LAURION: No . . .

MR. TANICK: Well, did . . .

MRS. LAURION: I mean just in conversations in the family circle, like at dinner or something like that.

MR. TANICK: Well, was there . . . did he just blurt that out or were you talking about what specifically happened?

MRS. LAURION: No, it’s something I recall that was said by him.

MR. TANICK: You don’t recall him saying anything else?

MRS. LAURION: I . . . no.

MR. TANICK: Did . . . do you know whether he saw Dr. McKee again for medical treatment after he was released or discharged from the hospital?

MRS. LAURION: He did not see Dr. McKee afterwards.

MR. TANICK: Do you know whether he was scheduled or it was anticipated or contemplated or expected that he would be seeing dr. McKee for a post-discharge follow-up?

MRS. LAURION: Any information like that I received from my mother-in-law, who had talked to his office.

MR. TANICK: What did she tell you?

MRS. LAURION: She said they called her and said that there was an appointment scheduled for my father-in-law, and she . . . she said that he was housebound and couldn’t come out, you know. And, oh, then they said they were going to make it for later, and she didn’t want to argue with them. So I think . . . I don’t know whether it was her or my father-in-law that finally cancelled it. I’m not sure.

MR. TANICK: One of them, you understood . . . you got this from your mother-in-law?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: And she told you that either she or her husband cancelled the appointment?

MRS. LAURION: Correct.

MR. TANICK: Did she tell you why they cancelled it?

MRS. LAURION: Because they didn’t want to see Dr. McKee.

MR. TANICK: And did they see another doctor then? Did he see another doctor?

MRS. LAURION: His regular doctor.

MR. TANICK: And what do you observe about his condition today? From your observation as a lay person.

MRS. LAURION: Today?

MR. TANICK: Yeah, now.

MRS. LAURION: He’s a lot better. He looks a little worn out, especially when he needs to get up and walk. But I think that’s just everything catching up with him now.

MR. TANICK: Do you think . . . in your view, did he suffer any kind of deleterious, negative . . .

MRS. LAURION: I don’t know what “deleterious” is.

MR. MR. TANICK: . . . any kind of adverse physical or medical or health reaction because of his encounter with Dr. McKee?

MR. KELLY: Now, you’re asking her for her personal view, I guess?

MR. TANICK: Yeah, your personal view.

MR. KELLY: All right.

MRS. LAURION: No.

MR. TANICK: Okay. Did . . . did your husband, Mr. Laurion, express to you . . . you indicated you were angry about the treatment that McKee gave your father-in-law. Right?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: Did Mr. . . . did your husband share that view with you, that he was angry? Upset?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: And he told you that on several occasions?

MRS. LAURION: We try not to talk about it, but it’s a big subject lately.

MR. TANICK: And he has told you that he is angry or upset with Dr. McKee. Right?

MRS. LAURION: We all are.

MR. TANICK: He is too. Right?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: He told you that. Right?

MRS. LAURION: Yes.

MR. TANICK: I don’t have anything else.

MR. KELLY: She’ll read and sign too.

(Whereupon the deposition of Bonnie M. Laurion was concluded at approximately 11:32 o’clock a.m.)

DEPOSITION OF DENNIS LAURION

DEPOSITION OF DR. DAVID MCKEE

McKee V. Laurion – Affidavit Of Charles Payne, Private Investigator

JANUARY 28, 2011.

The following is a replica of a document from the Minnesota defamation lawsuit David McKee M.D. V. Dennis K Laurion.


STATE  OF MINNESOTA

DISTRICT  COURT, COUNTY OF ST. LOUIS

SIXTH DISTRICT

Case Type:  Defamation, Court File No.:  69 DV-CV-10-1706


David  McKee, M.D., Plaintiff,

v.

Dennis Laurion,     Defendant.

AFFIDAVIT OF
CHARLES PAYNE


STATE OF MINNESOTA   )
)  SS.
COUNTY  OF HENNEPIN )

CHARLES PAYNE, being first duly sworn under oath, states as follows:

1. My name is CHARLES PAYNE. I am a licensed private investigator in the State of Minnesota, License Number  261. I  have been licensed since 1978. I have been involved in the investigations industry since 1971.

2. My work includes a variety of investigations for various purposes, including civil litigation.

3. I do not know any of the parties in this lawsuit. I do not have any financial stake in the outcome of this case, except I am being paid my normal hourly rate for my work in this matter.

4. I have been asked to locate an individual who was identified as a “friend” nurse of Defendant Dennis Laurion, to whom Laurion attributes the statement “He is a real tool,” in reference  to  Dr.  David McKee. Defendant Laurion used this phrase in his website postings and various correspondence  that  he  wrote  to  professional  organizations,  colleagues, and peers of Dr. McKee, which I understand form the basis for this lawsuit.

5. Having been asked to locate this individual, the  only  criteria provided by Mr. Laurion of his “friend” nurse is less than minimal. Mr. Laurion maintains that she was someone with whom he worked while he was a part-time employee for about seven years at St. Mary’s Medical Center in outpatient records, but he does not know her name. He gave a very limited physical description of her as  in  her  50’s,  about  5’6″ tall, dark blond or light brunette hair, graying, with a “trim” build. The representation that he does not even recall her first name makes this search virtually impossible.

6. Mr. Laurion was not able to identify any particular unit of  the hospital she worked, other than she had  some  outpatient  position.  He gave the names of some other personnel with whom he worked.

7. I have instituted efforts to begin to try to locate this  person.  I am severely handicapped by the very limited information furnished by Mr. Laurion, which is surprisingly sparse for a person whom he said was a “friend,” and whom he worked with for some seven years.

8. My efforts to locate this person included  the  following:

•    I have instituted research with the Minnesota Board of Nursing, located at 2829 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN to determine the number of nurses that are currently and had historically been licensed with the State of Minnesota since 01/ 01/ 2000 in St. Louis County. Our preliminary research determined that in St. Louis County there are 4048 current licensees that are female. Using the event of Mr. Laurion meeting this individual at the Lakeside Post Office which  is  located  at  4427 E. Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55804, I have begun to have the search narrowed to the 55804 zip code. At the time of this writing, it is believed there are 560 licensees in that zip code having held a nursing license since  01/ 01/ 2000.

•    With the gross absence of any identifying information  and without  access to the Human Resources at St. Mary’s Hospital,  these  reasonable  efforts are the  only avenue of research  currently  underway.

•    As this research has only recently begun, extensive further  research needs to take place in addition to contacts with these prospective individuals to identify the “friend” nurse. If the person exists, which is uncertain, it will require more detailed information from Mr. Laurion in order to find her. I am told that Mr. Laurion has made no efforts to find her himself. If she does exist, Mr. Laurion presumably has more information about her that would allow us to locate her.

The above is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

Dated: January 28, 2011
/S/ CHARLES PAYNE

Subscribed and sworn to before me
This day of January 2011

/S/ Notary Public                                                      [ Seal ]