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Lewis Wagner Ladies Win!

Posted: 7/21/2015

The Labor & Employment team at Lewis Wagner, chaired by partner Stephanie Cassman, secured a defense verdict last week in a jury trial venued in the Southern District of Indiana.  The Section 1981 case involved a claim of race discrimination brought by a Cardiologist who performed endovascular procedures in the Hospital’s Catheterization Lab.
The Cardiologist alleged that the Hospital’s Cath Lab employees engaged in race discrimination which should have been imputed to the Hospital under the “cat’s paw” theory of liability.  The Cardiologist claimed the Cath Lab employees lodged false complaints against him about his unprofessional behavior and risky clinical practice because they harbored racial animus against him.  He claimed these supposedly racist, false complaints “duped” the Hospital administration into subjecting him to a confidential Peer Review process which led to the issuances of two Adverse Action Letters. The Letters required the Cardiologist to (1) have a monitor observe the behaviors in the Cath Lab during his procedures, (2) consult with a vascular surgeon prior to conducting certain high risk procedures; and (3) have surgical backup on site when performing said high risk procedures.
 
During trial, the Hospital’s defense focused on the integrity and confidential nature of the Peer Review process, which is focused on insuring patient safety and maintaining the highest quality of medical care.  The Hospital asserted that the Adverse Action Letters were issued out of a legitimate concern for patient safety.  The Hospital further argued that the Cardiologist’s reputation was not tarnished by the confidential Adverse Action letters, despite his contentions to the contrary.
The Cardiologist previewed a $56M demand in opening statements. The jury declined to award him the nearly $30M he requested in closing argument.
Stephanie Cassman led the Hospital’s all female trial team, which included colleagues Dina M. Cox, Lisa M. Dillman, and Nabeela Virjee.

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