Ex-Swedish Health surgeon's libel lawsuit against Seattle Times dismissed

A federal judge on Nov. 18 dismissed a lawsuit filed in 2018 by former Swedish Health surgeon Johnny Delashaw Jr., MD, against The Seattle Times over an investigative series the newspaper published titled "Quantity of Care," according to The Seattle Times

Dr. Delashaw is the former chairman of the Seattle-based Swedish Neuroscience Institute. He resigned from Swedish Health in March 2017, roughly three weeks after the newspaper published "Quantity of Care," which detailed the surgeon's disruptive management style. The state suspended his medical license in May 2017. It was reinstated with provisions in July 2018.

U.S. District Judge James Robart dismissed the last and remaining claim in Dr. Delashaw's lawsuit, which pertained to the Times' accuracy in reporting the financial incentives contained in Swedish Health physician contracts. The order that contains the judge's reasons for dismissing the last claim remains under provisional seal for up to 14 days.  

"We are extremely pleased that Judge Robart has concluded what we believed all along — that our reporting on Dr. Delashaw and Swedish Neuroscience Institute was accurate, thorough and fair," Seattle Times Executive Editor Michele Matassa Flores said in a prepared statement. 

The other claims in the lawsuit were dismissed in a 78-page order Mr. Robart issued in July. "The fatal flaw with Dr. Delashaw's argument is that he fails to argue that any of the statements the Times wrote are false," the judge wrote.

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