Texas Supreme Court Clears Way for Dallas Doctor’s Multimillion-Dollar VerdictDALLAS – A Dallas doctor who won a multimillion-dollar verdict in 2007 against his former employer for defamation of character and breach of contract has secured a final victory following the Supreme Court of Texas’ decision to not hear additional appellate arguments in the case.
With pre- and post-judgment interest, Pinnacle Anesthesia is paying Dr. Neal Fisher of Dallas $10.8 million, which ends the case.
“This is the ultimate and final vindication for a doctor who had the courage to speak out for patients and then suffer the consequences of a vindictive and greedy employer,” says attorney Martin Rose of Dallas’ Rose•Walker, who represented Dr. Fisher at trial. “Pinnacle fought this case relentlessly. This final victory is very special for us.”
Dr. Fisher was a founding member and shareholder in Dallas-based Pinnacle Anesthesia Consultants, P.A., which provides obstetric anesthesiology services to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. He was wrongfully terminated after questioning company billing practices, including a system whereby Pinnacle advertised itself as being “in-network” for all major health care plans, but regularly matched up patients with out-of-network doctors at a higher fee.
When Dr. Fisher raised questions about an increasing volume of patient and OB/GYN complaints, Pinnacle falsely accused him of abusing alcohol and drugs. The doctor voluntarily submitted to and passed an extensive series of tests conducted by Presbyterian’s Impaired Physician Program.
In 2007, a Dallas jury voted 12-0 in Dr. Fisher’s favor after finding Pinnacle liable for defamation of character and breach of contract. Last year, a Dallas appeals court upheld the jury’s findings. Pinnacle then filed a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court of Texas, which declined to hear the appeal and issued its final order last Thursday, effectively ending the case.
The company never appealed the jury’s finding that it had defamed Dr. Fisher, who in a recent survey, was recognized as one of the top five anesthesiologists in the state of Texas. He remains on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas and is currently in his 20th year of anesthesiology practice.
“Dr. Fisher will never be able to go back to the way things were,” says attorney Mike Richardson of Rose•Walker, who also represented Dr. Fisher at trial. “But with the jury’s verdict and the appellate court rulings, he will be able to keep moving forward, and everyone will know that he always was – and still is – an outstanding doctor doing outstanding work.”
Rose•Walker, L.L.P., is a premier trial law firm, focusing on complex civil litigation. The firm represents businesses and individuals, and its many major courtroom victories have helped Rose•Walker earn a national reputation for excellence.
More information is available at http://www.rosewalker.com.
3500 Maple Avenue, Suite 900
Dallas, Texas 75219
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