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Doctor Due Immunity from Suit By Other Doctor He Investigated for State Medical Board
Description An appeals court held that the physician who wrote a report about another physician, at the request of the state medical board investigating his practice, was due absolute quasi-judicial immunity from suit by the doctor who was investigated and then sued the investigating physician in tort.
Topic Torts
Key Words False Light Invasion of Privacy; Judicial Immunity
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Dr. Seigel conducted a peer review of Dr. Ostrzenski at the request of the Maryland Board of Physician Quality Assurance. Ostrzenski sued Seigel for false light invasion of privacy, contending that the peer review report issued by Seigel about Ostrzenski's medical ability contained misrepresentations and false facts. The district court dismissed the suit; Ostrzenski appealed.
Decision Affirmed. Under Maryland law, "One who gives publicity to a matter concerning another that places the other before the public in a false light is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if (a) the false light in which the other person was placed would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, and (b) the actor had knowledge of or acted in reckless disregard as to the falsity of the publicized matter and the false light in which the other would be placed." Seigel's report was quasi-judicial in nature, as he was investigating charges about Ostrsenski's practice under state law. As such, Seigel is entitled to absolute quasi-judicial immunity from liability.
Citation Ostrzenski v. Seigel, - F.3d - (1999 WL 326081, 4th Cir.)
177 F.3d 245 (4th Cir., 1999)

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