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Doctor's whistleblower complaint time-barred

Howard M. Cooper, Seth J. Robbins, and Ian J. Pinta persuaded a federal court judge to dismiss a cardiothoracic surgeon’s whistleblower complaint against the firm’s client because he filed his claim after the expiration of the two-year statute of limitations period.

The judge agreed with the firm’s argument that the two-year period commenced when the doctor received his written notice of termination, not, as the doctor argued, the effective date his termination some four months later.

The physician alleged he was terminated in retaliation for raising concerns about the surgical techniques of another physician in his practice specialty at the client’s medical facility in western Pennsylvania.

The client countered that it terminated the physician because of a corporate decision to hire full-time local surgeons. The physician was located in a different state.

The court also dismissed the physician’s claim for emotional distress, finding that his allegations of the medical facility’s actions did not rise to the level of “extreme and outrageous” conduct required by Pennsylvania law.