A four year legal battle over a patient’s right to make negative comments about a doctor in social media ended last week when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the comment was protected speech. We covered the case in an earlier blogpost.
The battle started when Dr. David McKee sued Dennis Laurion for calling him “a real tool” on physician rating sites after McKee treated Laurion’s father poorly during a hospital stay. “Referring to someone as ‘a real tool’ falls into the category of pure opinion because the term ‘real tool’ cannot be reasonably interpreted as stating a fact and it cannot be proven true or false,” wrote the court.
Laurion, who was forced to deplete his savings and borrow from relatives to pay for his defense, was not surprisingly relieved.
The shocker, though, was the response of McKee. According to the Star Tribune, McKee is now ticked off at the people who posted hundreds more negative comments about him after the story went viral. Incredulously, the story reports that McKee “hasn’t ruled out a second lawsuit stemming from these posts.”
Yes, you read that right. After spending “at least $50,000 in legal fees and another $11,000 to clear his name online after the story went viral” McKee is considering suing the rest of the people who, exercising their right of protected speech, chimed in.
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