Doctor Falsely Accused|of Sex Crimes, He Says

     NASHVILLE (CN) — A Tennessee doctor claims in court that the parent company of a news website republished false accusations that he sexually assaulted multiple women and traded diet drugs for sex.
     Dr. Richard Feldman claims SouthComm Communications Inc. republished “false allegations that [he] has committed numerous sex crimes.” Feldman sued SouthComm in Davidson County, Tenn., on Friday.
     He says the republishing occurred through “social media ‘viral marketing’ software” on SouthComm’s website.
     “Defendant falsely alleges that plaintiff raped a 17-year-old girl, digitally penetrated the anus of a patient for sexual gratification and sexually assaulted a woman in Destin, Florida while on vacation,” the complaint states. “Because these allegations describe criminal conduct and gross medical malpractice, defendant’s false written allegations constitute libel per se.”
     SouthComm also republished a false allegation that Feldman gave prescription diet drugs to women in exchange for sex, according to his lawsuit. He says the claims were originally published in 2006.
     “Because defendant’s social media ‘viral marketing’ software causes defendant’s false statements to reach new and different audiences that would not otherwise visit, the doctrine of ‘republication’ is applicable in this matter, and prevents defendant from using the ‘single publication rule’ to escape responsibility for its wrongful acts and omissions,” the six-page complaint states.
     Feldman seeks $50 million plus punitive damages for defamation and false light invasion of privacy. He is represented by Erich Bailey of Roberts, Thornton & Pence in Nashville.
     SouthComm declined to comment on the lawsuit Wednesday.

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