UPMC sues lawyer for allegedly using 'high-pressure' tactics to drum up litigation

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Pittsburgh-based UPMC has sued an attorney in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court for allegedly using unethical means to recruit patients for possible legal action against UPMC, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The suit, which UPMC filed Tuesday, alleges attorney Michael O'Day violated the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct that govern lawyers in the state by using "high-pressure" tactics to create fear among patients about the state of their health to get them to join a possible legal action against UPMC. Each of the patients Mr. O'Day allegedly solicited to join the legal action against UPMC suffer from Chiari malformation, an uncommon condition that causes brain tissue to extend into the spinal canal.

Mr. O'Day told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he is preparing a legal complaint against UPMC and has been in touch with the system's attorneys about a possible settlement. However, he said the suit UPMC filed against him is "baseless" and "frivolous."

"This is an attempt to intimidate me and my clients," Mr. O'Day told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He said the lawsuit he is preparing focuses on whether operations performed by Ghassan K. Bejjani, MD, a neurosurgeon at UPMC, on patients with Chiari malformation were necessary and whether the patients were properly notified that a plate would be inserted in their skulls as part of the surgery, according to the report.

In the lawsuit, UPMC seeks an injunction to stop Mr. O'Day from soliciting UPMC patients as clients and from damaging relationships between UPMC and its patients.

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