Garfunkel, Wild & Travis, P. C., Great Neck (Leonard M. Rosenberg of counsel), for Staten Island University Hospital and others, defendants.
Maynard, O'Connor, Smith &
Catalinotto, L. L. P., Albany (Robert A. Rausch of counsel), for Benjamin Chang, defendant.
Nathan L. Dembin & Associates, P. C., New York City, for plaintiff.
Joseph J. Maltese, J.
This court awards the defendants statutory costs and attorneys' fees in these consolidated retaliatory slander actions pursuant to the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 (HCQIA) found in 42 U.S.C. § 11101 et seq.
The actions arise out of a peer review of Nedunchezian Sithian, M.D. (Dr. Sithian), a vascular surgeon, by Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH). In November of 1993 Dr. Worth, the director of surgery at SIUH, sought an independent outside review of Dr. Sithian's surgical cases due to a high incidence of morbidity and mortality (M& M) amongst Dr. Sithian's patients. Dr. Anthony Imparato was appointed to review Dr. Sithian's cases and he found serious quality of care issues present. Dr. Worth retired in 1995 and was replaced by Dr. Richard Spence who became the director of surgery and chief of vascular surgery. After a review of all vascular surgeons and departmental M& M conferences, and after reading Dr. Imparato's outside report, Dr. Sithian was suspended from performing complex (index) vascular surgery procedures (aortic, carotid and peripheral arteries) by Staten Island University Hospital.
Following SIUH's suspension of privileges, Dr. Chang was retained to conduct a peer review of Dr. Sithian's cases. Dr. Chang, who is a vascular surgeon, was employed by the Albany Medical Center Hospital.
After a three-day hearing before an ad hoc committee of the medical staff of SIUH, at the request of Dr. Sithian, the committee was requested to rule without the report of Dr. Chang. The committee recommended that Dr. Sithian be permitted to perform vascular surgery only with a mandatory preoperative consultation with another vascular surgeon and with another vascular surgeon in the operating room.
Six days later, the hospital received Dr. Chang's review on July 8, 1996. After a review of the records and reports  of SIUH, Dr. Chang concluded ...