Dentists and doctors increasingly are policing what you say online about their services. In the most recent case, a prominent New York dentist, Dr. Stacy Makhnevich, threatened to sue a former patient, Robert Lee, over a negative review Lee posted to Yelp!, an online review website.
The tables have turned though, and now Lee and his lawyers are biting back with a class action against Makhnevich. The case involves something new: A patient gag agreement.
Open Wide and Shut Up
Enrico Schaefer, a leading internet commerce attorney, explains.
“A company called Medical Justice has been marketing these agreements to doctors and dentists for a while now as an anti-defamation product.” It’s a legal form called a “Mutual Agreement to Maintain Privacy.”
Schaefer continues, “Basically it’s what’s called an ‘adhesion’ contract. The medical or dental practice will demand a patient sign it as a condition of receiving the health care.” So it’s take it or leave it. If you’re suffering miserably and need immediate treatment, you’ll sign. Even if you’re not, chances are you’ll sign anyway. But don’t think it’s just another form.
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