By Catherine Bertram, Partner –
Former patient Robert Lee claims Dr. Stacy Makhnevich, a dentist and opera singer, forced him to sign an agreement not to bash her online before she worked on his sore tooth, according to the lawsuit he filed in Manhattan Federal Court last week.
Mr. Lee claims the dentist and classical singer began billing him $100 a day when he posted his opinions about her on the website YELP, including accusing her of over billing him by $4,000. “Avoid at all cost!” his Yelp posting read and “Scamming their customers!” She accused him of breaching the “Mutual Agreement to Maintain Privacy” that he signed.
Lee’s lawyer is Paul Levy of the consumer protection group Public Citizen. Mr. Levy explained that when big companies and doctors force patients to sign these type of agreements it violates the patient’s constitutional right to free speech and breaches dental ethics. “This is using these contracts to suppress the other side and deprives the consumer of valuable information,” Levy told the Daily News.
The form the patient was forced to sign apparently came form a company called "Medical Justice" according to some reports. The good news is that according to other reporters, an official with the company told the tech website Arstechnica.com that in light of the lawsuit, the company is retiring the forms and informing its clients to stop using them.
About the author:
Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trial advocacy. She has been recognized in Washingtonian Magazine in December 2011 as one of the Stars of the Bar and has been nominated for the past few years as one of the Best Lawyers in DC for Medlcal Malpractice. Ms. Bertram has over 20 years of trial experience and is unique in that she was formerly the Director of Risk Management for Georgetown University Hospital. Ms. Bertram is a member of the bar for the U.S. Supreme Court. Ms. Bertram is a partner with the firm and lives in Washington, DC. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 202-822-1875 in her office in Washington, D.C.