A jury recently awarded a US Irvine neurosurgeon $2 million after he faced retaliation linked to a whistleblower lawsuit.
According to Mark Linskey, he faced retaliatory actions by the former dean of UCI’s School of Medicine and the University of California’s Board of Regents after filing a grievance against his supervisors.
Linskey originally filed his grievance in 2013 and three years later filed his whistleblower retaliation lawsuit. According to Linskey’s lawsuit, the former dean of the school, Ralph Clayman, and the former chairman of the department of neurological surgery, Johnny Delashaw, collaborated to push Linskey ouot of the department in retaliation for the grievance he’d filed, which was related to conflicts of interest and patient safety.
Grievance Alleges Patients Were Placed at Risk
According to the original complaint, Linskey believed the safety of patients had been put at risk in 2012 when vascular neurosurgery cases were removed from the general on-call service and reserved for Delashaw and another doctor. Linskey requested he be included in the schedule but was denied, prompting his grievance.
The whistleblower lawsuit claimed that Linskey faced retaliation and that the doctors named in the grievance were trying to have him moved out of his current department and into the department of general surgery. Furthermore, the suit claimed that Delashaw had threatened residents by telling them not to assist Linskey during surgery and not to speak to him.
In addition to the doctors named in the lawsuit, the claim also included the UC Board of Regents. Linskey claimed the board failed to protect him after he submitted a whistleblower retaliation complaint form in 2014.
Clayman left his position as dean in 2014 to become a professor in the UCI department of urology.
Delashaw left the school in 2013 for a hospital in Seattle, where he then faced internal complaints over patient care and a high-volume surgical approach. This information was revealed by a Seattle Times investigation in 2017. He sued the paper a year later, alleging libel and defamation. He’d been eventually removed from Linskey’s lawsuit by an Orange County Superior Court judge, though that decision is currently under appeal.
Delashaw also faced a temporary suspension of his medical license by the Washington State’s medical commission and he filed a lawsuit against the commission which is still ongoing.
Linskey Awaits Reinstatement, Potential Additional Compensation
So far, Linskey has only been awarded for loss of income and emotional distress. Litigation over whether or not Linskey can be reinstated to his former position in the neurological surgery department is ongoing and a decision is expected by the end of the summer. Future damages for the harm caused to Linskey’s reputation have also not been determined yet, according to his lawyer.
Linskey issued a statement following the retaliation settlement stating that he is “hoping to heal… and is moving forward with renewed hope and positivism.’ He further explained, “Despite problems and issues with past, and current, leadership decisions, my loyalty and dedication to UC Irvine as an institution and to training new neurosurgeons as part of the neurosurgery residency training program … have never wavered.