Florida Doctor Files $100 Million Defamation Suit Against Former Employer

Friday, September 7, 2018
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On August 21, 2018, a Florida plastic surgeon filed a $100 million defamation suit against Orlando Health, Inc. (OHI), alleging he was fired and made the target of a smear campaign.  Dr. Jeffrey M. Feiner claims that he faced retaliation for drawing attention to certain unethical and illegal conduct between his former employer and Allergan, Inc., a large pharmaceutical company.


General Allegations.

Dr. Feiner claims in his suit that excessive and unnecessary products were billed to patients, their health insurance plans and Medicare and Medicaid, and that Allergan provided OHI doctors with improper gifts in return. According to the complaint he filed, on March 12, 2018, OHI terminated Dr. Feiner in retaliation for his refusal to play ball with Allergan and other physicians who were improperly accepting benefits.

Although there isn't any inherent problem with a physician being a paid consultant to a pharmaceutical company, the suit alleges the illegality arose when certain physicians excerpted their influence to have OHI to order unnecessary products from Allergan in exchange for compensation and other benefits given by Allergan to those physicians.


"Smear" Campaign.


Dr. Feiner asserts that he had an unblemished professional record and received praise from his peers and patients before his abrupt termination. Following his firing, he claims that OHI allegedly began a smear campaign against him that was designed to cover up the real reason for his termination.

At the insistence of corporate leadership, he claims that senior OHI physicians and staff began circulating malicious lies about him. According to the complaint, other doctors and hospital staff were told that he had been fired for behavioral issues including throwing knives at patients in the operating room and threatening to kill someone.  (Remember, now, these are allegations only.)


Defamation Case.


Dr. Feiner claims that the defamatory statements were intentional and malicious and have caused him economic harm due to the damage to his reputation in the medical field. The manner in which OHI abruptly terminated his employment was also detrimental to his patients and his patient relationships, according to the complaint.  

The case is Feiner v. Orlando Health Inc. in the Circuit Court for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida. Click here to read the complaint in full.

To read about another instance of employer retaliation involving a whistleblower, click here to read one of my prior blogs.


Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Qui Tam or Whistleblower Cases.

Attorneys with The Health Law Firm also represent health care professionals and health facilities in qui tam or whistleblower cases both in defending such claims and in bringing such claims.  We have developed relationships with recognized experts in health care accounting, health care financing, utilization review, medical review, filling, coding, and other services that assist us in such matters.  We have represented doctors, nurses and others as relators in bringing qui tam or whistleblower cases, as well.  We routinely represent physicians and other health professionals with negotiations with, disputes with and litigation against hospitals.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Sources:


Hale, Nathan. “Orlando Health Hit With $100M Defamation Suit By Fired MD.” Law360. (August 21, 2018). Web.

“Orlando Health Hit With Defamation Suit By Fired Doctor.” FloridaPolitics.com. (August 21, 2018). Web.


About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.


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9/7/2018

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