Top Gold Coast cosmetic surgeon Cesidio Colagrande has won a libel case against a rival liposuction doctor who left a fake review on a medical rating website.
- A Gold Coast doctor has won a libel suit over a false review left by a rival surgeon
- The cosmetic surgeon’s business competitor was ordered to pay $420,000 in damages, plus costs
- The Federal Court of Australia found the bogus exam left the doctor ‘deeply traumatised’ and cost him work
The Federal Court of Australia today ordered the Queensland doctor’s ‘business competitor’ Dr Min Sik Kim and his wife Anna Min to pay $420,000 in damages and more than $30,000 in costs .
This followed their bogus review posted on the RateMDs.com website in December 2018.
The one-star review said:
“After what he did to me, I can’t believe he’s still practicing. Just read the article.”
The review, which named Dr. Colagrande and his company, contained a link to a news story.
The fake review was allegedly written by a patient, who claimed to have been sexually assaulted.
It came after Dr Colagrande was found guilty of indecent assault on a patient, but his conviction was later overturned.
He pleaded not guilty at trial.
Outside of court, Dr Colagrande said he was “overwhelmed with the judgment”.
“I am grateful for the constant support of my family and friends.”
Diagnosed with PTSD
In her ruling, Judge Jayne Jagot said Dr. Colagrande initially assumed the exam had been left by the former patient who had falsely accused him of sexual assault.
“Before reading the fake review, he was controlling his emotions and trying to get his life back on track, but was worried about the negative articles still being published about him that misrepresented [him] as a sexual predator,” she said.
“The fake review brought him back to relive the horror of the criminal trial and his sentencing.”
Judge Jagot said Dr Colagrande had visions of the verdict as he stood in the dock and other “nightmares and flashbacks”.
“He couldn’t sleep and took time off work to avoid making mistakes,” she said.
Dr. Colagrande has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Impacts of fake reviews
A number of witnesses who testified during the trial said they saw the exam and chose not to have surgery with Dr. Colagrande.
Judge Jagot said she found their answers “clear, compelling and believable”.
“They read the fake review after finding and viewing the RateMDs website in Google search results,” she said.
The court also found the testimony of the Gold Coast doctor to be “clear and compelling”.
Judge Jagot said reading the bogus review inflicted deep new trauma on Dr Colagrande, not least because he believed it was written “by the patient who brought the accusation against him”.
“Having seen and heard Dr. Colagrande testify, I have no doubt that it again deeply traumatized him.”