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For Med-Mal Doc, Blogging Proves Bad Medicine

It sure sounded like a prescription for trouble. Now the doctor who blogged his own med-mal trial may be wishing he'd taken a cure other than blogging.

As we earlier reported here and here, a pediatrician who identified himself only as Flea had started his blog in 2006. His original intent was to discuss issues facing pediatricians, and he won recognition as the Best New Medical Blog of 2006. But as a med-mal lawsuit against him moved closer to trial, Dr. Flea began blogging about it. He described the feeling of first being served with the complaint and reported on his own deposition. When the trial finally got underway, he continued to blog, relaying his impressions of the plaintiffs lawyer (whom he nicknamed "Carissa Lunt"), describing his "dress rehearsal," and accusing jurors of dozing off. It was a big risk for a defendant to take, legal blogger Eric Turkewitz wrote at the time at his New York Personal Injury Law Blog.

Flea's actual courtroom unmasking is described today in The Boston Globe by reporter Jonathan Saltzman as a "Perry Mason moment." Yet the drama was transparent to the jurors and most others in the courtroom. As plaintiffs attorney Elizabeth N. Mulvey, a well-known and highly regarded Massachusetts trial lawyer, questioned pediatrician Robert P. Lindeman in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston regarding the death of a 12-year-old patient, she "startled him" with the question, Was he Flea? Yes, he admitted.

That was all the jurors heard of it, but that was enough, apparently. The next morning, the Globe's Saltzman reports, the doctor "agreed to pay what members of Boston's tight-knit legal community describe as a substantial settlement -- case closed." While Mulvey's question to "Flea" may have been lost on jurors, another Boston med-mal lawyer, Andrew C. Meyer Jr., told the Globe that it "telegraphed that she was ready to share Lindeman's blog -- containing his unvarnished views of lawyers, jurors and the legal process -- with the jury."

As for plaintiffs lawyer "Clarissa Lunt," she told reporter Saltzman that she found Flea's blog -- which has now been taken down -- "controversial yet intellectually stimulating."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 31, 2007 at 05:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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