Judge rejects bid to dismiss 8 defamation claims in Dr. Johnny Delashaw's libel case – 7 insights

Written by Shayna Korol | August 27, 2018 | Print  |

A federal judge rejected The Seattle Times' bid to dismiss defamation claims brought by Johnny Delashaw, MD, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Here are seven things to know:

1. Dr. Delashaw sued the newspaper April 11. He accused the Times of falsely reporting in its 2017 Quantity of Care series that he endangered patients by increasing surgical volume and rushing through procedures at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle.

2. The newspaper called for the dismissal of eight of Dr. Delashaw's defamation claims, arguing the allegations did not meet the standard necessary to sue a news organization protected by the First Amendment. U.S. District Judge James Robart rejected the bid for dismissal.

3. The judge also rejected a motion to dismiss defamation claims against The Seattle Times' co-defendant Charles Cobbs, MD. Dr. Cobbs is the director of Swedish Neuroscience Institute's Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment. Dr. Delashaw claimed that Dr. Cobbs conspired to destroy Dr. Delashaw's reputation.

4. The judge dismissed Dr. Delashaw's allegation that The Seattle Times violated Washington State's Consumer Protection Act by engaging in unfair business practices.

5. Dr. Delashaw resigned from his position as chair of the Swedish Neuroscience Institute March 1, after the newspaper published its Quantity of Care series.

6. The Washington Medical Commission suspended Dr. Delashaw's medical license in May 2017, attributing its decision to "an immediate threat to the public health and safety," according to The Seattle Times report.

7. The Washington Medical Commission reinstated Dr. Delashaw's license under three years of oversight. He is unable to be employed in a medical leadership position, under the commission's stipulations.

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