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Date: 01-12-2004

Case Style: Dr. Robert Trovillion v. Northwest Medical Center of Washington County

Case Number: Unknown

Judge: Mary Ann Gunn

Court: Circuit Court, Washington County, Arkansas

Plaintiff's Attorney: Kenneth R. Shemin and Jennifer Hendren of Shemin & Hendren, PLLC, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Defendant's Attorney: Unknown

Description: Dr. Robert Trovillion, a podiatrist, claimed he was defamed by a local hospital that inaccurately labeled him incompetent on a national physicians' database. Trovillion sought to establish practice privileges at Northwest Medical Center of Washington County in Springdale. He performed several surgical procedures while being observed and evaluated by other doctors, who then made reports to the hospital's board of surgeons about whether Trovillion should be allowed to practice at the facility -- a process known as proctoring. The observing doctors expressed concern about his surgical technique, experience and training and he was denied practice privileges. However, someone at the hospital then incorrectly reported to a national database that Trovillion's privileges were revoked because he was "incompetent." The defendant hospital refused to do anything to get the information removed, according to the suit.

Plaintiff claimed that the doctors who observed him never said he was incompetent and that the whole ordeal has destroyed his medical career, harmed his marriage and family and caused him to attempt suicide.

He claimed that the other podiatrists, who were acting on behalf of the hospital, were critical of him to stifle competition. Trovillion also asserted a claim for intentional interference with his business expectancy. The defendant contended that federal and state law provided it with immunity from any monetary liability to Dr. Trovillion and that its report to the NPDB was privileged communication for which it could not be held liable. The hospital denied all allegations of wrongdoing, contending it was required by federal law to make the report and that incompetence was the only description on the report forms that appeared to fit the situation.

Outcome: The jury returned a verdict in favor of Trovillion on all counts. The jury awarded Trovillion $500,000 in actual damages and $250,000 in punitive damages. He had sought $300,000 in actual damages and unspecified punitive damages.

Plaintiff's Experts: Unknown

Defendant's Experts: Unknown

Comments: None

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