Posted On: February 21, 2014 by Patrick A. Malone

Appeals Court Affirms Jury Verdict against Orthopedic Surgeons Society

An orthopedic surgeon who fought back and won a court case after the society of orthopedic surgeons slammed him for testifying that another surgeon had committed malpractice has now won an appeal of the legal case.

We reported last March on Dr. Steven Graboff's successful lawsuit against the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), when the trial judge rejected the AAOS's bid to overturn the jury verdict against it. We called our report: "When 'Peer Review' Has an Ulterior Motive."

The ulterior motive here is that the bone doctors set up their "peer review" program to go after doctors who testified in court that a surgeon had committed malpractice.

Now, eleven months later, the U.S. Court of Appeals says the trial judge was correct in refusing to throw out the jury verdict. The jury had found that the AAOS's report of its "peer review" of Dr. Graboff did not include "false statements" but did cast Dr. Graboff in a "false light," by failing to tell the full story of what had happened. The jury also found that the Academy acted knowing that its published report about Dr. Graboff was untrue or "in reckless disregard for the truth." The appeals court rejected the idea that there was anything inconsistent in the jury's finding that there were no false statements but that the AAOS report about Dr. Graboff did cast him in a false light. As the court noted, a report about someone can include literally true statements but by leaving out the rest of the story can create a false impression.

You can read the appeals court decision here.

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