Justia Medical Malpractice Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Communications Law
Graboff v. Colleran Firm
AAOS is a voluntary professional organization for orthopaedic surgeons, which has adopted professional standards, including member grievance procedures. Most orthopaedic surgeons are members of the AAOS, but it is not a licensing authority. AAOS member Dr. Meller initiated a grievance against another AAOS member, Dr. Graboff, claiming that Graboff wrote an inaccurate report based on incomplete information that was used against him in a civil malpractice case. After determining that Graboff’s testimony violated the AAOS’s Standards of Professionalism, which require members to provide honest and accurate testimony when serving as expert witnesses, the AAOS suspended Graboff from membership for two years and published a description of the proceedings in AAOS Now, its newsletter. Graboff sued, alleging that the AAOS article was defamatory and a false-light invasion of privacy because it selectively recounted the circumstances of the grievance proceedings to imply that he had testified falsely. A jury awarded Graboff $196,000 in damages for “false light” invasion of privacy. The Third Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that, as a matter of law, the jury’s finding that the AAOS had not made false statements foreclosed the possibility that it could be liable on the false-light claim. View "Graboff v. Colleran Firm" on Justia Law
Hardin v. PDX, Inc.
Hardin suffered complete blindness and permanent, severe and painful scarring after she took Lamotrigine, the generic form of the medication Lamictal. Hardin sued the prescribing physician, the manufacturer, the store where she bought the prescription (Safeway), WKH, which produced the drug information pamphlet (monograph), and PDX, a software provider that distributes drug information to pharmacy customers. Unlike physician package inserts and patient medication guides, which are FDA-mandated, WKH monographs are not regulated or reviewed by the FDA, but are produced as part of a self-regulating action plan required under 110 Stat. 1593. The WKH monograph was the only information received by Hardin when she first filled her prescription for Lamictal. The abbreviated warning used by Safeway and provided to Hardin omitted the “Black Box” warning: “BEFORE USING THIS MEDICINE” that stated: “SERIOUS AND SOMETIMES FATAL RASHES HAVE OCCURRED RARELY WITH THE USE OF THIS MEDICINE. Hardin says that had she been provided this warning, she would not have taken the medication. WKH moved to strike Hardin’s claims against it under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, the “anti-SLAPP” (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation ) statute.. The trial court ruled that WKH’s production of drug monographs was protected speech concerning a public issue or an issue of public interest and that Hardin had no probability of prevailing because she could not establish that WKH owed her any duty. The court denied PDX’s motion to strike, finding that the activity underlying PDX’s alleged liability was the reprogramming of its software to permit Safeway to give customers an abbreviated, five-section monograph that omitted warnings instead of the full eight-section version that included those warnings. The court of appeal affirmed. View "Hardin v. PDX, Inc." on Justia Law