Texas spine surgeon's $11M verdict being appealed

Carly Behm -  

A spine surgeon in Plano, Texas, who won an $11 million verdict over stolen medical records and false malpractice accusations will face an appeal, The Dallas Morning News reported June 6.

Seven things to know:

1. Stephen Courtney, MD, was awarded the multimillion dollar verdict in 2021 after a trial against a former clinical partner and a medical malpractice lawyer. A state medical board found Dr. Courtney didn't do any physical harm to his patients. 

2. The verdict is being appealed, and hearings are scheduled for the summer. Dr. Courtney hasn't received any money from the verdict.

3. Dr. Courtney and Cameron Carmody, MD, used to be partners at an orthopedic center. Dr. Carmody secretly accessed more than 1,000 of Dr. Courtney's patient files and compiled a 181-page document with names and confidential health information.

4. Dr. Carmody hired attorney William McMurrey, who was instructed to release the contents of the document to federal authorities. However, it was shared with Kelly Liebbe, a malpractice lawyer.

5. In 2015, Jonathan Rute, the boyfriend of Dr. Courtney's ex-wife, posing as federal agent, allegedly used an alias to share Dr. Carmody and Mr. McMurrey's memo with false statements against Dr. Courtney with the Collin County medical examiner and district attorney. The document was shared after one of Dr. Courtney's patients died following a heart attack unrelated to his procedure.

6. Additional complaints were filed based on information from the list, and some patients didn't know they were included in the complaints. By March 2017, Dr. Courtney determined Dr. Carmody had illegally accessed 421 patient files, according to his lawsuit.

7. Dr. Camody and Mr. McMurrey didn't respond to the newspaper's requests for comment. Ms. Liebbe and Mr. Rute declined an interview with the paper.

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