Appellate victory in defamation suit awarding $6.4 million to local surgeon
Ware Jackson partners Tim Lee, Margaret Bryant, and Michelle Meriam successfully defended an appeal of a $6.4 million judgment against Memorial Hermann Health System in favor of Houston surgeon Miguel Gomez and his professional association. This appears to be the largest defamation verdict ever upheld by a Texas appellate court. The Houston court of appeals rejected all of Memorial Hermann’s arguments, including that its defamatory and disparaging statements were not published, did not cause damages, and were protected by a qualified privilege. The appellate court affirmed the entire jury award, including lost profits, reputational harm, mental anguish, and exemplary damages.
The opinion is Mem’l Hermann Health Sys. v. Gomez, No. 01-17-00632-CV, 2019 WL 3819516 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Aug. 15, 2019, no pet.). An article about the case from the Texas Medical Association is available here. Gomez was represented in the trial court by the firm’s good friends, Mike Doyle, Patrick Dennis, and Jeff Avery.