Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Smith v. Difrancesco

Court of Appeals of Georgia, Second Division

June 19, 2017

SMITH et al.
v.
DIFRANCESCO.

          DOYLE, C. J., MILLER, P. J., and REESE, J.

          Miller, Presiding Judge.

         In this appeal, we must determine whether the trial court properly found that the defendant doctor was entitled to summary judgment on the plaintiff doctor's claim of defamation per se based on the defendant's transmission of a letter to patients in which the defendant called into question the plaintiff's ability to practice medicine. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the trial court's order and remand the case for further proceedings.

         "On appeal from a grant of summary judgment, we review the evidence de novo to determine whether the trial court erred in concluding that no genuine issue of fact remains and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." (Citation omitted.) Chapman v. C. C. Dickson Co., 273 Ga.App. 640, 641 (1) (616 S.E.2d 478) (2005).

         So viewed, the evidence shows that Cenegenics is a company that provides age management services throughout the country and operates a clinic in Atlanta through CG Physicians, LLC ("CG Physicians"). Dr. Randy Smith is the sole shareholder of CG Physicians and at all relevant times was a licensed physician. Cenegenics and CG Physicians formed a management company to handle the administrative duties of the Atlanta practice.

         In 2013, at Cenegenics' insistence, Smith stopped seeing patients at the Atlanta clinic and directed his focus to business development. Dr. Lisa DiFrancesco and another physician were hired to take over patient care in the clinic. In March 2014, Smith left Cenegenics altogether. He then contacted at least some CG Physicians patients by e-mail to offer his anti-aging programs.

         At least two of these patients contacted DiFrancesco, expressing concern about the e-mails from Smith. DiFrancesco authorized Cenegenics to send a letter to all CG Physicians patients to address these concerns. In the letter, DiFrancesco made the following statements:

You may have received an e-mail from a physician by the name of Dr. Randy Smith regarding your Cenegenics program. At one time Dr. Smith was a physician with Cenegenics Atlanta.
We are contacting you so that you may make an informed decision if Dr. Smith attempts to contact you to entice you to discontinue your Cenegenics Age Management Program with me . . . .
Dr. Smith is no longer authorized to offer the Cenegenics Program . . . .
While Dr. Smith was an early pioneer in anti-aging medicine, much has changed since his early days in the practice, and a lot has changed over the last year since [Dr. Smith] last had the ability to practice medicine.
If you would like more information about anything you may hear or receive about changing your course of treatment, please feel free to contact us.

(Emphasis supplied.) DiFrancesco sent this letter only to patients of CG Physicians.

         Thereafter, Smith sued DiFrancesco for defamation based on her letter to CG Physicians' patients. He also requested equitable relief and punitive damages. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.