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Yetter Coleman Secures Defense Victory for Hospital In Physician Retaliation Jury Trial

The plaintiff, a well-credentialed anesthesiologist and Medical Director of a hospital pre-operative clinic, sued our hospital client for retaliatory discharge for alleged reporting instances of patient safety violations.  In one of the first trials under Texas Health & Safety Code §161.135, a law prohibiting retaliation against non-hospital employees (the plaintiff was employed by a separate but affiliated physician organization), the plaintiff sought damages of $7 million in back and front pay, plus unspecified mental anguish damages and exemplary damages.

After a two-week trial, the jury found no retaliation, confirming the hospital’s position that the plaintiff was terminated for longstanding performance reasons involving the clinic’s lack of improved operations, rather than for reporting alleged safety violations, the occurrence of which the hospital vigorously denied.  The jury returned its verdict within hours after closing arguments.

The trial team included Paul Yetter, Wendie Childress, and Bryce Callahan, with Marc Tabolsky handling all appellate issues.