Physician pushes for trial in wrongful termination suit against PeaceHealth

A physician who is suing Vancouver, Wash.-based PeaceHealth for wrongful termination wants to take his claims to trial rather than accept a potential $2 million settlement, the Cascadia Daily News reported May 31.

Ming Lin, MD, who worked in the St. Joseph Medical Center emergency room in Bellingham, Wash., for 17 years, publicly claimed the hospital lacked protective measures against COVID-19 and advocated for greater protections for staff in 2020. He was fired and filed a lawsuit in March 2020, which claims breach of contract and that he was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for expressing his concerns about health and safety. It also claims the defendants publicly made false statements about him and intentionally caused him emotional distress.

In an interview with the Daily News, Dr. Lin said he would rather take the case to trial than accept a settlement unless PeaceHealth admits it was wrong for firing him.

His attorneys advised him that would not happen. His attorneys, who worked at the behest of the American Civil Liberties Union, said they will no longer represent Dr. Lin, according to May 31 court filings.

"My lawyers have asked me to accept a monetary settlement as they have abruptly determined that a trial would be too costly and is not worth the financial risk," Lin wrote May 31 in a Facebook post. "Morally this is unacceptable to me, as my silence is not for sale."

The case is set to go to trial in February. Dr. Lin said he is weighing his options without representation and emphasized it is important to him that PeaceHealth be held accountable for its decision to fire him.

"I don't want this to happen again," he told the Daily News.

"It's important to emphasize that patient and caregiver safety is, and always has been, our top priority," Beverly Mayhew, PeaceHealth senior director of marketing and communications, said in a statement shared with Becker's, adding she could not comment on the specifics of the case. "This commitment drives all clinical decision-making at PeaceHealth."

 

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