TUCSON, Ariz., May 4, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Physician Michael Fitzgibbons, M.D., was awarded $5.2 million by a jury in compensation for distress he experienced because a hospital CEO had a loaded firearm planted in his car, occasioning his arrest, and had a tire slashed on his car, causing a serious accident while his daughter was driving on the freeway.
Dr. Fitzgibbons had opposed actions taken by Integrated Healthcare Holdings, Inc., on the grounds that he believed they would jeopardize patient safety. The trial jury found that IHHI's CEO Bruce Mogel, in retaliation, carried out threats to "humble" Fitzgibbons. Mogel told IHHI president Larry Anderson that he "could have [things] done to people who displeased him." For example, he told Anderson he knew people who would kidnap the wife or daughter of another person with whom they were having an ongoing business dispute.
The trial court then overturned the jury's verdict. IHHI argued that it should not be held liable for its CEO's conduct. "The hiring of a thug was a 'startling and unusual…occurrence.' There was no relationship between the nature of his work and the tort committed…. The alleged attack on Fitzgibbons was not reasonably foreseeable in the light of Mogel's responsibilities."
In an unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeals of the State of California, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, reinstated the verdict on April 30, 2015.
"[Dr. Fitzgibbons's] story shows how far some hospital administrators will take retaliation against a physician whistleblower," writes Lawrence R, Huntoon, M.D., Ph.D., editor of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. The shocking details show "the tremendous power of hospital cartels, and the ruthlessness they may display in retaliating against a physician who opposes them or exposes their wrongdoing."
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943.
SOURCE Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)