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Why MedMal Attorneys Will Be Interested in This Wrongful-Termination Lawsuit

Feb 10 2021

As it appeared in the Connecticut Law Tribune

The wrongful-termination lawsuit alleges a former Connecticut doctor was urged to perform surgeries on patients who didn’t need them.

By Robert Storace

Attorneys who deal with physicians as treaters, witnesses, experts or even defendants will want to pay attention to a wrongful-termination lawsuit involving an ear, nose and throat doctor who says in a lawsuit he was told to perform surgeries on patients who didn’t need them.

“Medical malpractice attorneys and all attorneys who deal with doctors will care about this case because it’s not often that you get insight into allegations about the way a physician’s practice is managed,” said plaintiff co-counsel Joshua Goodbaum, a partner with Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti in New Haven.

Goodbaum, who represents Dr. Larry Marcus in a lawsuit against Waterbury-based Westwood Ear, Nose & Throat and its owner, Dr. Christopher Loughlin, said, “It’s an interesting case in that it will give medical malpractice lawyers a behind-the-scenes look into that world.”

And that world, according to the lawsuit led in Waterbury Superior Court, was turned upside down for Marcus, who now lives in Maine.

“My client feels he was seriously wronged and there was no other option but to file a lawsuit,” Goodbaum said Wednesday.

According to the 13-page lawsuit, Marcus “refused to join in their crooked campaign to line their pockets by performing surgeries that their patients did not need.”

The lawsuit alleges Loughlin tried to persuade Marcus to recommend “expensive balloon sinusplasty procedures for their new sinus patients at a much higher rate than Dr. Marcus believed was indicated or effective.”

The lawsuit alleges that when Marcus broached the subject, “Loughlin responded by coaching Dr. Marcus about how to increase his rate of balloon procedures, including urging Dr. Marcus to stop offering patients more conservative treatment options, such as nasal steroid spray.”

In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Loughlin “even encouraged Dr. Marcus to manipulate his patients’ records so their insurance companies would approve the unnecessary balloon surgeries—a practice in which Dr. Loughlin himself engaged.”

Marcus, who worked for Loughlin for five years, was fired in July 2020.

Marcus claims Loughlin at first attempted to force him out of the practice and then fired him.

But Loughlin said the reason for Marcus’ ring was that he refused to assist with a patient emergency, something the lawsuit said wasn’t true.

In addition to the alleged wrongful termination, Marcus also sued the defendants for defamation.

The lawsuit alleges Loughlin falsely told other doctors that Marcus has lost his clinical privileges at Waterbury Hospital. The lawsuit alleges that misinformation cost the 65-year-old Marcus a position with another medical practice in the state.

Representing Loughlin is Karl Buch, a partner with DLA Piper in New York City. Buch said: “This lawsuit is frivolous and without merit and we will vigorously defend it.”

The lawsuit seeks such remedies as economic, noneconomic and punitive damages.

Assisting Goodbaum is his colleague Stephen Fitzgerald.

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