Many web sites today provide a forum for patients, clients and customers to criticize professionals. But, some professionals require their patient to sign an agreement in which they agree not to criticize the health care provider. Now, one dental patient is suing her dentist to overturn the agreement she signed. See ABA Bar Journal report.
Robert Lee has sued dentist, Dr. Stacy Makhnevich, saying she would not perform dental work until the patient signed an agreement waiving te right to publicly comment about the dentist. The patient was required to agree that copyright to any public comments would belong to the dentist. In exchange, the dentist agree to keep patient information confidential.
Mr. Lee says he signed the agreement while he was in pain. He was charged $800 to drain a tooth and nearly $4000 for filling the tooth. The suit claims the tooth filling should have cost $200. When the insurance claim dragged, Mr. Lee posted online comments about Dr. Makhnevich on Yelp and other sites advising against using the dentist. Dr. Makhnevich then sought $100/day copyright infringement from Mr. Lee. The patient wants to retain the ability to post critical online comments about the dentist.
The lawsuit claims the agreement is not enforceable. Dr. Mahknevich’s agreement promises something the dentist must do anyway, keep patient information confidential. The agreement used by the dentist was prepared by Medical Justice Services, Inc., a North Carolina company. The report is that MJS is now advising customers not to use the agreement.