Wrongful firing led to doctor's claims of slander, breach of contract
DALLAS, June 26 /PRNewswire/ -- A Dallas doctor who won an $8.6 million judgment against his employer two years ago won again Thursday, when an appellate court affirmed the judgment in his favor.
The Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas at Dallas found in favor of Dr. Neal Fisher following a 2007 judgment against Pinnacle Anesthesia Consultants, P.A., which provides obstetric anesthesiology services to Dallas Presbyterian Hospital. With post-judgment interest accruing since the trial, the amount of the judgment is now in excess of $10 million.
"This is just an enormous win for Dr. Fisher," says attorney Mike Richardson of Rose Walker in Dallas, who, along with attorney Marty Rose, represented Dr. Fisher at trial. "For the appellate court to rule in his favor on every single issue makes a statement, I think, about this case and about the jury's verdict."
Dr. Fisher initially sued Pinnacle for slander, defamation and breach of contract when he was fired after he raised concerns about the company's billing practices. Although Pinnacle advertised itself as being "in-network" for all major health care plans, the company allegedly adopted a business plan of intentionally being "out-of-network." By billing out-of-network, Pinnacle made more money than it would have by matching patients with in-network doctors.
In April 2007, a jury found in Dr. Fisher's favor by a vote of 12-0.
Pinnacle appealed based on arguments that the trial court erred in granting a partial summary judgment, in precluding a specific line of defense, and in the instructions given to the jury. But the Court of Appeals ruled against Pinnacle on all three claims, holding in one instance that Pinnacle should have made a particular argument at trial.
"My hope is that Pinnacle, in the face of the trial court's judgment and this appellate ruling, would admit that what it did to Dr. Fisher was wrong and that the company would change the way it does business," Mr. Rose says.
Rose Walker, L.L.P., is a premier trial law firm, focusing on complex civil litigation. The firm represents businesses and individuals, and its many major courtroom victories have helped Rose Walker earn a national reputation for excellence.
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