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  • Surgeon Sues Anesthesiologist for Defamation of Character

    Kamlesh Shah, M.D., provided anesthesia in a case where Richard Kopolovic, M.D., performed a hernia repair and other surgical procedures. Dr. Shah thereafter complained to the hospital that he believed, in essence, that Dr. Kopolovic had done cosmetic procedures in this case which he "disguised" as medically necessary and subject to being paid for by insurance. Dr. Kopolovic subsequently sued for defamation.

    The court held that Dr. Shah had no immunity for making the complaint. The court distinguished between materials "'initiated, created, prepared or generated by' a peer-review or quality-control committee" that are covered by the state peer review statute and complaints received by a peer review body.

    The court rejected qualified immunity, which requires properly investigating the truth of the alleged defamation statements before making them, noting that Dr. Shah had not "review[ed] the patient's medical file, the billing records, or the records relating to the surgery before [complaining].

    Kopolovic v. Shah, No. 2-11-0383, ___ N.E.2d ___, 2012 IL App (2d) 110383 (Ill. App. Ct. Mar. 12, 2012)