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Court affirms lawyer discipline for ‘frivolous’ suit against doctor

The Supreme Court of Virginia will not second guess a decision to discipline a Falls Church lawyer for suing a doctor who never treated the lawyer’s client.

The court decision comes in the case of Michael P. Weatherbee, who sued Winchester obstetrician Ward Vaughan in a medical malpractice action even though Dr. Vaughan had no involvement whatsoever in the plaintiff’s medical care. Weatherbee explained he meant to sue a “Bob Vaughan” identified in medical records, and he assumed that Dr. Ward Vaughan was the same person.

Reviewing Weatherbee’s explanation, the Supreme Court found clear and convincing evidence that the suit against Ward was “frivolous,” justifying a public reprimand of Weatherbee.

By Peter Vieth

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