A federal appeals court has reinstated litigation filed by a doctor against a travel agency and contained the organization's "anonymous" records in a newspaper in Mexico's ziplining accident that resulted in his leg amputation slandering him while providing enough information to identify him. .
Assist America Inc. is a Princeton, New Jersey-based membership-based organization that provides global emergency services, according to Friday's ruling by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal in St. Louis. Louis Richard H. Tholen, MD; Mary Jane Tholen v Assist America Inc.
Dr. Tholen, a well-known cardboard-certified plastic surgeon, suffered a serious knee injury in Mexico in April 201
Dr. Tholen asked Assist America for a medical evacuation, but the organization initially refused to evacuate him. By the time the evacuation was approved, Tholens had already purchased tickets for a flight from Mexico. Less than a month after returning home, the doctors amputated Dr. Tholen's right leg above the knee, according to the decision.
About a year later, Assist America published a case study of Dr. Tholen's case in a magazine that identified him as a doctor but did not reveal his name.
Dr. Tholen and his wife sued Assist America for libel in the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, claiming that several statements on its account were false and defamatory, including that he had decided to make his own travel arrangements against Assist America's recommendations, when not was fall.
"Overall, Tholens claims that these statements painted them in a negative way by erroneously implying that Dr. Tholen lost his leg due to his own decisions and actions," the decision said.
Assist America filed a motion to reject Tholen's allegations, arguing in part that the case study did not identify or refer to Tholen's, and therefore their identity could not be easily established. The district court granted its decision to dismiss the case.
The action was reinstated by a divided panel of three judges. "Without taking into account the ultimate benefits of Tholen's claim, we find that Tholen has promised enough to go beyond the proposal to dismiss the scene," the decision said.
"Here is a probable conclusion sufficient to survive a movement to deny that people who read the case study of a middle-aged doctor from the Midwest who injured his leg while ziplining in Mexico resulted in amputation would understand the article referring to Dr. Tholen, "said the decision.
"The universe of identifiable substances" that fits all the unique facts of the case "is practically limited to one", it said, when reopening the lawsuit.
The contested opinion states that the complaint "fails to state a
Tholen's lawyer, Patrick M. Arenz, a partner with Robin's Kaplan LLP in Minneapolis, said in a statement, "Tholen's are pleased with the decision. to present this case and ask a jury to hold Assist America responsible for its defamatory article about their tragedy. ”
Assist America & # 39 ;s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.