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Loftus v. Nazari

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division

May 13, 2014

M.D. JEAN M. LOFTUS AND LOFTUS PLASTIC SURGERY CENTER, PLAINTIFFS
v.
CATHERINE NAZARI a/k/a/ CATHERINE NAZARIFROSHANI, DEFENDANT

Page 850

For M.D. Jean M. Loftus, Loftus Plastic Surgery Center, Plaintiffs: Matthew Cheeks, Matthew F.X. Craven, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Matthew D. Hemmer, Scott Rowland Thomas, Hemmer DeFrank PLLC, Ft. Mitchell, KY.

For Catherine Nazari, Defendant: Grant M. Axon, LEAD ATTORNEY, Warsaw, KY.

For Catherine Nazari, Counter Claimant: Grant M. Axon, LEAD ATTORNEY, Warsaw, KY.

For M.D. Jean M. Loftus, Counter Defendant: Matthew Cheeks, Matthew F.X. Craven, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Matthew D. Hemmer, Scott Rowland Thomas, Hemmer DeFrank PLLC, Ft. Mitchell, KY.

OPINION

Page 851

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

William O. Bertelsman, United States District Judge.

This is an unusual libel case in which a doctor has sued her patient. The patient posted comments on opinion websites complaining of the results of surgery the doctor had performed on her.

The doctor asserts claims for defamation and tortious business interference. The patient herself counterclaims for wrongful use of civil proceedings, invasion of privacy, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Each party seeks compensatory and punitive damages against the other. Each party has filed for summary judgment against the other.

Page 852

I. FACTS

The plaintiffs are Dr. Jean Loftus, M.D., a plastic surgeon, and the professional corporation under the aegis of which she practices. The defendant is Catherine Nazari, a patient of Dr. Loftus, who underwent plastic surgery by her in 2006, consisting of breast implants, a breast lift, an arm lift on both arms, and a " tummy tuck."

In 2010, Ms. Nazari posted three statements on opinion websites complaining of the results of the surgery. These postings, quoted in full, are as follows:

A posting on http://www.vitals.com that read:

I had Plastic surgery done by Dr. Jean Loftus only to be left with permanent nerve damage in both arms (arm lift) severe abdominal pain (tummy tuck) horrible scars and disfigured in both breast [sic] (breast implants, breast lift) as [sic] a result of her mistakes. As a result of the surgeries preformed [sic] by Dr. Loftus I was left having to file for Total Disability. To err is human, but she like all doctors should be held accountable for their actions. Where are the ethics in America when Doctors cover up for Doctors knowing that horrible mistakes were made? I hope that she can live with herself knowing what she has done. Doc. 87, Def. Depo., p. 15; Doc. 87-6 (ex. 4).

A posting on http://www.newsvine.com that read:

I had plastic surgery due too [sic] losing a lot of weight and was not happy with the sagging skin I was left with. I thought that if I had the surgery It would raise my self confiedence [sic] and improve my appearance. If I could go back in time, I would not have done it. I had breast implants and a Breast lift and was left with horrible scars and disfigurement, a tummy tuck that left me with severe abdominal pain that is still present today, I had arm [sic] lift in both arms that caused permanent nerve damage in both arms and there [sic] nothing that a consumer can do. All of my surgeries were preformed [sic] the same day by a Dr. Jean Loftus in Ft. Wright, KY. 99% of all medical malpractice cases never make it to a hearing, let alone a trial. I have filed complaints with the U.S. Attorney in Washington, DC and they referred me to the Ohio Medical Board to file a complaint. I also filed a lawsuit with Bob Handleman in Columbus, OH only to have nothing done and my case was dismissed without prejudice. On October 22, 2010 I received a letter from the Ohio Medical Board that NO disciplinary actions would be taken regarding Dr. Loftus. I guess it is true what Ralph Nader says on his site, that State Medical Boards are like FOXES GUARDING THE HENS. These doctors should be held accountable for their mistakes and not be covered up. Doc. 87, Def. Depo., pp. 15-16; Doc. 87-8 (ex. 6).

A posting on the website http://www.buskia.com that read:

I had plastic surgery done by Dr. Jean Loftus of Ft. Wright, KY only to be left with permanent nerve damage in both arms (arm lift), severe abdominal pain (tummy tuck) and horrible scars and disfigurement on both breasts (breast implants and breast lift)., [sic] and my medical records were stolen from a friend and colleague of hers, Dr. Rank O. Dawson a plastic surgeon of Cincinnati, OH. I filed a complaint with the Ohio Medical Board and nothing was done. I had an attorney from Columbus, OH Mr. Bob Handleman ...

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