(CN) – The Supreme Court rejected a petition from a Florida hospital to review a jury verdict that ordered it to pay a doctor $5 million in punitive damages for defamation. The hospital’s CFO had remarked about the doctor to a colleague: “I would not send my dog to him for surgery.”
Lawnwood Medical Center argued in its petition that the award was excessive and may be the largest ever upheld in a nominal damages case since the 1996 decision BMW North America v. Gore.
Dr. Samuel Sadow admitted that he did not suffer any economic damages when he sued Lawnwood after the chief financial officer told a colleague not to refer patients to Sadow and that Sadow was a bad doctor, unfit to treat his dog.
The Supreme Court rejected the hospital’s appeal without comment.