Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismisses allegations of misfeasance of public office and defamation against hospital management

January 3, 2023

Sherwani v. Fargher, 2023 ONSC 20

In a January 3, 2023 decision, Justice Robert Centa of the Ontario Superior Court dismissed an action against the West Parry Sound Health Centre (the “Hospital”), its Chief Executive Officer and its Chief of Staff (the “Defendants”) for allegations of misfeasance of public office and defamation (against the Chief of Staff).

The dispute began when the Plaintiff, a physician who previously held Hospital privileges, alleged that its Chief of Staff began a “war of attrition” against him in 2010 leading to two clinical reviews of the Plaintiff’s practice by the Hospital, which ultimately resulted in the Hospital’s Medical Advisory Committee recommending that his privileges be revoked. The Plaintiff claimed that he suffered damages to his reputation and a loss of income of approximately $3.4 million, arising from the bad faith exercise of the statutory public power by the Defendants as well as the Chief of Staff’s defamatory actions.

The Court ruled in favour of the Defendants, stating that they treated the Plaintiff fairly and in good faith and that their actions were motivated by their concern for patient care. The action was dismissed in its entirety.

Lisa Spiegel (Health) and Tina Kaye of Miller Thomson represented the CEO and West Parry Sound Health Centre in the dispute.