Cancer surgeon obtains confidential settlement from SCPMG after $1.75 million verdict reached by jury.
$1,750,000.00 against Southern California Permanente Medical Group.
Malice was found by the jury, but the case resolved for a confidential amount before the punitive damages phase.
The Rager Law Firm by Jeffrey A. Rager, Torrance.
Charles T. Mathews & Associates by Charles T. Mathews, Arcadia.
Davis Wright Tremaine by Portia R. Moore, Seattle, WA. (Representing Southern California Permanente Medical Group.)
Davis Wright Tremaine by John P. LeCrone and Giancarlo Urey, Los Angeles. (Representing Southern California Permanente Medical Group.)
Cole Pedroza by Joshua Traver, San Marino. (Representing Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals.)
Anthony Reading, Ph.D., psychology, Beverly Hills.
Martin Makary, M.D., surgery, Baltimore, MD.
Marc Cohen, M.D., psychiatry, Los Angeles.
Joshua Ellenhorn, M.D., surgical oncology, Los Angeles.
Plaintiff doctor was a surgical oncologist who worked for defendant Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG) from January 19, 2009 to July 31, 2011.
Dr. Wascher raised 3 primary patient care concerns with his employer: (1) There was a lack of timely access to surgery for cancer patients; (2) general surgeons were doing complex cancer cases they were not qualified to perform; (3) there was no comprehensive cancer care program at Kaiser Orange County. In response to his complaints, Dr. Wascher was defamed and was not allowed to become a partner.
Per defense counsel: Dr. Wascher was a surgical oncologist hired into the General Surgery Department in Orange County. While employed, he complained about timely operating room access for his complex cancer surgeries and that he should be assigned certain cancer surgeries that other non-fellowship trained surgeons were performing. Dr. Wascher's employment was terminated after it was determined he did not have the support to become a partner. Prior to his termination, negative comments were made by partner physicians about Dr. Wascher in the course of a Human Resources investigation.
That defendants retaliated against him for his patient advocacy and defamed him.
Per defense counsel, plaintiff's contentions also included: That plaintiff was fraudulently induced to move to California to take the job with SCPMG with certain promises, including but not limited to the creation of a Center of Excellence for cancer treatment and that he would be performing predominately complex cancer surgeries with fewer general surgery cases. That SCPMG, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals constituted a single employer or integrated enterprise.
That Dr. Wascher did not have the support of physician partners in General Surgery to make partner because he was not a good fit for the surgery department. That plaintiff’s complaints were not about patient care, but were demands to benefit his particular practice preferences. That comments made about Dr. Wascher were conditionally-privileged, as part of a confidential Human Resources investigation, and were stated as opinions.
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals contended that neither entity employed plaintiff or had any involvement in the actions that gave rise to the lawsuit. Defendants contended that they are separate legal entities and did not constitute the single employer of plaintiff.