DEFAMATION-DOCTOR-INNUENDO

January 3rd, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Defamation

Menkowitz v. Peerless Publications, 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 1043 (December 15, 2017) Stabile, J.  This is an action where defamation commenced by a private-figure plaintiff against a media defendant involving an issue of public interest.  The court threw out the verdict and entered judgment for the newspaper on a punitive damage award. The Superior Court vacated the judgment in favor of the doctor-plaintiff in its entirety and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of the publication.  The plaintiff is a board certified surgeon.  The doctor’s behavior in the hospital was bad, and he was threatened by the hospital for his disruptive and unacceptable conduct.  Finally, the doctor’s privileges were suspended.  Four articles written about this by a newspaper columnist who talked about the rumors surrounding the doctor.  There were also quotes from various patients.  No formal action against the doctor’s medical license was taken by the State Board of Medicine, according to the State Department spokesman.  Eventually, the newspaper reported that the suspension was lifted.  The doctor alleged an injury to reputation and emotional and psychological injuries.  A private figure plaintiff suing a media defendant for defamation must prove…