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F‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍or this writing assignment, it needs to be at least 2-pages

by | Sep 18, 2021 | Business and Management | 0 comments

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F‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍or this writing assignment, it needs to be at least 2-pages long the title page and the work cited page do not count as content pages. Students will be marked down for not including these two pages. HANCOCK v. VARIYAM Supreme Court of Texas 400 S.W.3D 59 2013 FACTS: Dr. Variyam was the Chief of the Gastroenterology Division of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (the Division). Dr. Hancock was an associate professor under Variyam. A dispute arose between the two over the transfer of patients from Hancock’s care to Variyam’s. Variyam sent a letter to Hancock complaining about Hancock’s disregard for patient care and detailing the alleged manner in which Hancock’s transfer of patients violated the Division’s policy and sent a copy to the Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine (the Department). The letter gave Hancock an opportunity to respond before Variyam lodged a formal complaint. Hancock responded by sending a letter the same day to the Chair of the Department, the Dean of the School of Medicine, a Division colleague, and the entity reviewing the Division’s application for accreditation for its gastroenterology fellowship. In the letter, Hancock resigned his faculty position under Variyam, stated that Variyam had a “reputation for lack of veracity” and “deals in half-truths, which legally is the same as a lie.” The Division’s fellowship was not accredited, and, in February 2006, the Chair of the Department removed Variyam as Chief of the Division. Variyam sued Hancock for defamation and sought damages for his removal as Chair, loss of reputation, and mental anguish. Hancock moved for partial summary judgment on Variyam’s claim for damages for removal as Chair, which the trial court granted. The trial court subsequently granted a directed verdict that Hancock’s letter was defamatory per se. The court of appeals affirmed, reasoning that accusations that someone is a liar are “so obviously hurtful to the perso‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍n aggrieved that no proof of [their] injurious character is required to make [them] actionable.” Hancock appealed. ISSUE: Can the statements that a physician is untruthful in the performance of his job duties constitute defamation per se? REASONING: Hancock’s primary argument was that his statements about Variyam’s untruthfulness were not defamation per se because they did not injure Variyam’s profession. Hancock contended that his statements concerned Variyam as a person and not his competency or reputation as a physician. Variyam countered by arguing that his profession requires a truthful reputation in both interacting with patients and colleagues as well as when it comes to teaching and publishing. The court pointed to precedent that defines defamation per se to include statements that are so obviously hurtful to a person’s reputation that general damages result due to loss of reputation. The court went on to say that a statement that injures a person in his or her office, profession, or occupation is typically considered to be defamatory per se. Ultimately, the court agreed with Hancock that his statements were not defamatory per se. First, Hancock’s did not claim that Variyam is an incompetent physician, nor did Hancock attack Variyam’s fitness as a professional. Instead, Hancock claimed that Variyam “lacked veracity”, which the court argued had nothing to do with Variyam’s profession. Second, even if the statements were about Variyam’s competency as a physician, Variyam failed to prove that any actual damages resulted from Hancock’s statements. DECISION AND REMEDY: Reversed in favor of Hancock. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CASE: This case provides a good example of the difference between defamation and defamation per se and how the latter distinction only applies to very specific situations. CRITICAL THINKING How would you argue that a physician’s veracity is relevant to his reputation as a professional? ETHICAL DECIS‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍ION MAKING What values are furthered by this decision?

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