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Home / Verdicts & Settlements / Richmond jury sides with trio of physicians in defamation case

Richmond jury sides with trio of physicians in defamation case

Type of action: Defamation claim and counterclaim for fraud in the inducement

Injuries alleged: Plaintiff alleged defamation; defendants alleged bullying and harassing conduct from plaintiff

Name of case: Scarabelli v. Ellenbogen, et al.

Court: Richmond Circuit Court

Case no.: CL18003609-00

Tried before: Jury

Name of judge or mediator: Judge Phillip L. Hairston

Date resolved: 9/16/2021

Demand: $15,000,000

Verdict or settlement: Verdict

Amount: Defense verdict; defendants awarded $246,000 for compensatory and punitive damages

Attorneys for defendants (and city): Charles G. Meyer III, Charles M. Sims and Rachael L. Loughlin, Richmond

Description of case: After more than three years of protracted litigation and six days of trial, a Richmond Circuit Court jury found that the plaintiff’s defamation claims against the three individual physician defendants were baseless and returned a unanimous verdict for them and MCV. At the conclusion of the evidence, the plaintiff failed to even ask the jury to render a verdict on his defamation claim against the fourth physician defendant. With respect to the alleged defamatory statements made by the other three physician defendants who merely received and reported the complaints made by others, the jury found that either that the defendants did not make the alleged statement about the plaintiff, or that the statement was true and, therefore, not defamatory. After exonerating the physician defendants of the plaintiff’s defamation claim, the jury also found that the plaintiff committed fraud in his application for employment by MCV and that he did so with malice. The jury entered an award in favor of MCV against plaintiff for compensatory and punitive damages in the amount of $246,000.