December 8, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. 15-cv-970 -
Tanya Walton Pratt, Judge.
Kanne and Rovner, Circuit Judges, and Durkin, District Judge.
Anthony Mimms is a physician licensed by the Indiana Medical
Licensing Board. He started his own pain management practice,
Mimms Functional Rehabilitation, in November 2013. He
previously worked at Rehabilitation Associates of Indiana. As
part of his practice, he prescribes opioids and other
controlled substances to many of his patients.
several occasions, starting in 2013, CVS Pharmacy employees
informed some of Mimms's patients that they would not
fill their prescriptions. Mimms sued CVS, alleging the
pharmacy employees made defamatory statements when refusing
to fill the prescriptions. His complaint details nine
allegedly defamatory statements.
prove his claims, Mimms needed to show that the speakers knew
that their statements were false. CVS repeatedly moved for
summary judgment on the basis that Mimms had no evidence that
the speakers knew their statements were false. Ultimately,
the district court granted summary judgment as to five of the
statements and denied judgment for the remaining four
statements. It concluded there was a material question of
fact regarding whether the speakers of those four statements
knew that their statements were false in light of evidence
that CVS's corporate office had concluded an
investigation of Mimms and had not stopped stores from
filling his patients' prescriptions. In so concluding,
the court rejected CVS's argument that knowledge held by
the corporate office could not be imputed to the individual
case proceeded to trial before a jury. The four statements at
. "CVS doesn't fill Dr.
Mimms'[s] prescriptions or
prescriptions for any other pill mills."
. "Dr. Mimms went to jail."
. "Dr. Mimms has been … or will
. "Dr. Mimms is under DEA
(R. 211 at 10.)
moved for judgment as a matter of law as to the first three
statements at the close of Mimms's presentation of
evidence, again arguing that knowledge held by the corporate
office could not be imputed to the speakers. The district
court denied the motion, and the jury found CVS liable for
defamation per se on all four statements and awarded Mimms
$1, 025, 000 in damages. CVS appeals. ...