Physician Drops Defamation Suit After Patient Rescinds Negative Online Comments

July 13, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


A Florida physician has dropped a defamation lawsuit against one of his patients after she agreed to retract or edit negative comments about him that she and her family posted on and other physician-rating websites, states a June 20, 2012, Orlando Sentinel (Florida) article. After the physician learned of the comments, which were posted anonymously, his lawyer filed a lawsuit against the unidentified woman that sought more than $49,000 in damages. His lawyer also filed a subpoena against Comcast of Georgia/Virginia, to release her identity; however, the attorney dropped the subpoena after independently learning the patient was an Osceola County schoolteacher. “Some might believe that my threat of the lawsuit coerced the patient into making favorable comments about me. I cannot speak for her and, by law, cannot identify her,” stated the physician in an e-mail to the Orlando Sentinel. "I believe she honestly came to realize that the caustic and inaccurate statements she made, at a time when she was angry, no longer reflected her true assessment of me as a professional, and could seriously hurt my medical practice and needlessly frighten patients."

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