Apr 16

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Dentist’s Pre-Treatment Non-Disclosure Agreement Leads to Class Action Lawsuit

There have been a number of cases in recent years regarding damages allegedly caused by negative online reviews.  A dentist in New York is currently the target of a class action lawsuit regarding efforts to head off such issues.  Stacy Makhnevich, DDS, allegedly had patients sign a form prior to treatment that they would not denigrate or disparage her on the Internet and granting her copyright of any such writings.  The form was in the form of a mutual non-disclosure agreement and also represented that it protected the patient from certain claimed “loopholes” in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which would allow the use of patient information for marketing purposes. When a patient violated the agreement by posting a negative review, Makhevich allegedly sent letters threatening suit and invoices charging $100 per day for use of her copyrighted material.

The lawsuit claims that the form and practice violates New York law and dental ethics and is a misuse of federal copyright laws. A federal judge recently ruled that the case can continue.  Given the widespread use of the forms, which are marketed to thousands of doctors and dentists, other similar lawsuits may follow.

About the author

Renee Howdeshell

Renee Howdeshell is a founding member of Fulcrum Inquiry, an accounting, finance and economic consulting firm that performs damage analyses for commercial litigation, forensic accountings, royalty & distribution audits, financial investigations, and business valuations. Ms. Howdeshell holds a degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She has testified as an expert witness in federal court, CA state court and arbitration regarding the results of her work. She can be reached at (213) 787-4112 and her resume is available at www.fulcrum.com.

Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2013/04/dentists-pre-treatment-non-disclosure-agreement-leads-to-class-action-lawsuit/

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