Graves Dougherty Attorneys Achieve Significant Win in Commercial Defamation Case

Graves Dougherty litigators Matthew Baumgartner, Jim Hemphill and Matthew Powers obtained a complete win on summary judgment in Eagle Air Med Corp, et al. v. Sentinel Air Medical Alliance, et al., in the United States District Court for the District of Utah, Case No. 2:16-cv-00176 (see ruling here). The case presented a complex set of commercial defamation and tortious interference claims in the air ambulance and health care billing context. Graves Dougherty was able to put together a team of uniquely skilled litigators: Mr. Baumgartner has significant experience in health care litigation and has litigated and consulted on air ambulance issues nationwide; Mr. Hemphill is one of the country’s leading defamation lawyers; and Mr. Powers is a federal courts specialist. Graves Dougherty’s clients are healthcare consultants who specialize in guiding their clients, which include ERISA plans, commercial insurers and air ambulance patients, through complicated air ambulance billing issues. The air ambulance company plaintiffs claimed that these consultants injured their reputations and claimed damages well into the seven figures. Graves Dougherty’s team obtained complete summary judgment dismissal of all claims, representing a significant victory for the free-flow of opinions within complex industries.

Graves Dougherty’s clients were pleased with the hard-earned victory: “This case represented an attempt to stifle the work we do every day on behalf of our customers. The air ambulance industry is complicated, and the aggressive billing tactics that some of the larger, for-profit companies employ threatens the economic well-being of families and small businesses in many instances. We work directly with health plans and patients who are aggressively pursued by air ambulance companies. We also maintain a robust public advocacy practice. We view our work as important to bringing transparency and reasonableness to an industry that is sorely lacking those characteristics in the current climate. The result Graves Dougherty obtained ensures that our business and I can continue this work without fear of further lawsuits designed to stifle my analysis and opinions.” – Jeffrey Frazier, Sentinel Air Medical Alliance.

Graves Dougherty litigated this case in collaboration with Salt Lake City attorneys Ryan Bell and Bobby Harrington at the firm Kunzler Bean & Adamson.