A North Carolina appellate court has overturned a controversial court ruling that allowed the suspension of the North Carolina medical license of a North Miami Beach neurosurgeon for his plaintiff-side testimony in a medical malpractice case.
A three-judge panel of the North Carolina Court of Appeals on June 6 unanimously ordered a lower court to dismiss disciplinary proceedings against Dr. Gary Lustgarten.
The North Carolina Medical Board had revoked Lustgarten's license to practice in the state in 2002, following efforts by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, his national medical specialty society, to sanction him for his testimony.
Lustgarten's case is one of the most prominent examples of the growing campaign by medical societies nationally to discipline doctors for their testimony in malpractice cases. Medical groups say the efforts are needed to stop doctors from providing fraudulent or unsupported testimony. But plaintiffs lawyers say it's a naked effort to eliminate malpractice suits by intimidating medical experts from testifying for plaintiffs.