Air- Jury awards damages to physician in slander case – Tulsa World

Posted: October 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

October 12, 2012

A Tulsa County jury awarded more than $442,000 in damages Thursday to a physician on claims of slander and interference with his business.

The plaintiffs, Dr. Stephen Kovacs and Urgent Care of Green Country, were granted $ 221,351 in damages from Transport Workers Union of America, Local 514, on a claim of intentional interference with a business relationship.

Jurors awarded another verdict for $221,351 in damages to the plaintiffs on a claim of slander by another defendant, Mark Warren.

Warren, a member of the union, sustained a work- related injury and was referred by his employer, American Airlines, to Kovacs for treatment at his clinic in 2010.

According to a “statement of facts” for the plaintiffs in a pretrial order, Warren became agitated and began yelling after presenting forms, required by his employer, for Kovacs to complete.

At some point, Kovacs, a reserve police officer for the city of Owasso, left the exam room.

When it became clear that Warren did not intend to leave as requested, Kovacs returned to the exam room “with his badge on his belt and his duty weapon on his hip, locked in its holster,” and escorted Warren from the clinic, the plaintiffs asserted in a court document.

Warren took this “as a threat and an assault and was placed in fear,” according to the defendants’ statement of facts in the pretrial order.

Kovacs did not assault Warren, said attorney Chad Neuens, representing the doctor and clinic.

Jurors returned verdicts in favor of Kovacs on Warren’s civil claims against him of assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Kovacs asserted that Warren misrepresented the facts of what happened.

Ultimately, American Airlines removed Kovacs and his business from a list of authorized providers.

Attorney Frank Frasier, representing TWU and Warren, maintained in a closing argument that Kovacs “behaved badly” and “should not be rewarded for it.”

The verdicts concluded a trial in District Judge Rebecca Nightingale’s court.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=14&articleid=20121012_14_A12_ATulsa705076

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