Eaton Peabody recently succeeded in extricating a major media client from a Federal Court defamation lawsuit. In a ruling issued on September 3, 2021, on a motion for summary judgment filed by Berney Kubetz and Chris Uphouse on behalf of the Bangor Daily News, U.S. Federal District Court Judge George Singal ruled in favor of the Bangor Daily News and granted judgment for the newspaper.
The lawsuit was brought by Dr. Thomas Franchini, a former podiatrist at the Togus Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Augusta. The lawsuit arose from an ongoing public debate about the quality of medical care provided to Veterans by our nation’s veterans administration hospitals. The Togus Veterans Affairs Medical Center was the focus of scrutiny in several patient complaints. The complaints resulted in medical malpractice lawsuits and settlements in excess of $1 million dollars. Kubetz and Uphouse argued that Dr. Franchini was a public figure under the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution and that there was no evidence that the newspaper published its story about him with actual malice. U.S. Federal District Court Judge George Singal agreed.