Dr. Lynne Perry-Bottinger, a New Rochelle cardiologist, suspects that a competitor is trying to sabotage her practice by posting a negative review on HealthGrades.com.
Just who that competitor is, Perry-Bottinger isn’t sure, so she has filed a John Doe lawsuit in White Plains federal court.
“Defendant is a disgruntled, competing medical professional, healthcare provider and,” she believes, a “doctor.”
Perry-Bottinger, 57, practices at Clinical and Interventional Cardiology PLLC. Her resume includes an undergraduate degree from Harvard, medical degree from Yale University, residency at Yale New Haven Hospital, fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital and assistant professorships at Columbia University and Cornell University.
Her credentials did not impress the person who posted a HealthGrades review last year.
“Dr. Bottinger is one of the most unprofessional, ignorant, healthcare providers I have had the misfortune of dealing with,” the anonymous reviewer wrote.
“I have been in the medical profession 20 years, and thankfully never have encountered the like of her. The only reason for 1 star is to satisfy the system. Did not deserve that.”
Perry-Bottinger responded by asking the writer to call and explain the problem and, if not, to refrain from slander.
“I wish this person,” she closed, “good health in the future.”
Perry-Bottinger’s HealthGrades score is four stars out of a possible five, based on four reviews. But that one negative comment, she claims, has destroyed her reputation and livelihood.
Several patients have canceled appointments and stopped seeing her.
“The trend of fewer patients is likely,” the complaint states, “and the risk of losing patients and insurance providers is tangible.”
HealthGrades reviewers who rate doctors must certify that they have had contact with the medical practice, the complaint states, and that they are not a competitor.
The reviewer implies that he or she was a patient, Brooklyn attorneys David D. Lin and Justin Mercer say in the complaint, yet also cites medical experience.
“In reality,” Perry-Bottinger contends, “defendant is a competitor and not a patient.”
HealthGrades, which is not named as a defendant, has refused to identify the reviewer without a subpoena.
The lawsuit accuses John Doe of false advertising, libel, unfair competition and tortious interference.
Perry-Bottinger is demanding $1 million for damages and a court order barring her adversary from publishing disparaging statements about her and directing the review to be deleted.