Henry Fenton and Benjamin Fenton recently secured a major victory on behalf of their client Dr. David Porzio in an arbitration contending that the cardiologist was wrongfully terminated by the Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG). The recently confirmed award totaled almost $4.3 million.
According to SCPMG, Dr. Porzio’s employment was terminated on an administrative basis. However, Fenton Law Group argued that in filing an 805 report, SCPMG terminated Dr. Porzio based on alleged issues with his quality of care. Once doing so, SCPMG had a duty to provide him with notice and opportunity for a pre-termination hearing, but failed to do so. Additionally, SCPMG also neglected to simply end the peer review process and terminate Dr. Porzio on an administrative basis, without filing an 805 report. The arbitrator agreed with Fenton Law Group and ruled that this action essentially ended Dr. Porzio’s cardiology career, without his being provided his due process right as a physician to defend himself.
In a written opinion, the arbitrator also found that while Dr. Porzio was provided with a copy of the 805 report, he was never informed that he had rights to full notice prior to the submission of the report and a fair hearing, or to contest the report’s findings, which explicitly stated “Licentiate’s quality of care fell below expectations of medical group.” While the 805 report issue was unresolved, Dr. Porzio was turned away by a number of employers, and was forced to take a substantially lower salary than what he had been earning as a cardiologist. After hearing testimony and evidence from both sides, the arbitrator found that SCMPG “tortiously violated” Dr. Porzio’s rights as a physician, and awarded Fenton Law Group’s client $4,265,000. The arbitration award was confirmed by California Superior Court.