(CN) – The head of the surgery at the University of Illinois Medical Center was unable to prove that his co-workers retaliated against him by reporting a medical malpractice settlement to state and federal regulators, the 7th Circuit ruled.
Dr. Herand Abcarian claimed the university and his co-workers conspired to ruin his reputation, settling a potential malpractice lawsuit over the death of a former patient so that they could report the settlement to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the National Practitioner Data Bank.
When Abcarian learned of the settlement, he asked for it to be vacated and for the funds to be returned to the university, but a federal judge refused.
Abcarian had frequently clashed with his co-workers over issues such as “risk management, faculty recruitment, compensation and fringe benefits, and medical malpractice insurance premiums,” according to the ruling.
He claimed the university retaliated against him for speaking his mind. He said university employees submitted his settlement, for $950,000, to the professional authorities, but not the settlements of other doctors.
The 7th Circuit in Chicago found no evidence of a conspiracy.
“Abcarian’s own complaint shows that the defendants merely complied with legal requirements for filing notices of medical malpractice settlements with federal and state authorities,” Judge David Hamilton wrote.
“By filing these notices, the defendants did not violate Abcarian’s free speech rights or his rights to equal protection of the law and due process of law.”
Hamilton also rejected the doctor’s claim that the alleged conspiracy blocked him from pursuing his chosen occupation, because Abcarian still works at the University of Illinois as a physician and professor.