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OZKAN v. LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER
October 13, 2004.
OZGUR I. OZKAN, M.D., Plaintiff,
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER, et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: MILTON SHADUR, Senior District Judge
This Court's oral ruling at the time of presentment of the
motion by defendants Loyola University Medical Center ("Loyola")
and Drs. Charles Bouchard and Amjad Ahmad to dismiss all counts
of the Complaint brought against them by Dr. Ozgur Ozkan disposed
of all facets of that motion except for the part that addressed
Dr. Ozkan's Count IV claim (which sounds in defamation). Dr.
Ozkan has now complied with this Court's oral directive that
required a response in that regard, so that the remaining tag end
of the motion is now ripe for decision.
In Count IV Dr. Ozkan has targeted Loyola's June 10, 2003
notice of his termination from its Ophthalmology Residency
Training Program, authored by Dr. Bouchard, as the assertedly
defamatory statement. Although Dr. Ozkan did not attach a copy of
the notice to his Complaint (as would have been preferable to his
simply adverting to it in Complaint ¶ 18 and characterizing its
contents in Complaint ¶ 19), defendants have properly attached a
photocopy of the letter as Ex. C to their memorandum in support of the motion. It is of course the letter itself, rather than its
characterization in Complaint ¶ 19, that controls for
Fed.R.Civ. P. ("Rule") 12 (b) (6) purposes.
It is thus incorrect for Dr. Ozkan to say in Complaint ¶ 19
that the letter, which set out his asserted deficiencies that
were the predicate for termination, "caused him to lose his
position with Defendant Loyola University Medical Center" it
was obviously the asserted deficiencies themselves, and not the
document, that were the cause. And with that being so, Dr. Ozkan
has failed to allege any damages that assertedly flowed from
the letter, so that he is compelled to rely on one or two of the
categories of per se defamatory statements: statements that
impute an inability to perform or a want of dignity in
discharging employment duties and statements that impute a lack
of ability in his trade or profession.*fn1
On that score alone the challenged statements might stand
muster. But where Dr. Ozkan fails instead is in his effort to
escape the privilege that attaches to communications such as the
June 10 letter (see, e.g., Krasinski v. United Parcel Service,
Inc., 124 Ill.2d 483, 490, 530 N.E.2d 468, 471 (1988)). In that respect Dr. Ozkan seeks to respond by speculating that the
transmittal of a copy or copies of the letter as indicated at its
foot may have been unprivileged:
cc: Graduate Medical Education Office
Rita G. Ndinka*fn2
Such a Micawber-like hope that "something may turn up" does not
justify retention of the defamation claim at this time. Ozkan
will have ample opportunity for discovery in the course of ...
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