Cashion v. SmithAnnotate this Case
Dr. Smith, a trauma surgeon, and Dr. Cashion, an anesthesiologist, provided emergency care to a critically injured patient. After the patient died during the surgery, Smith, in the presence of other medical personnel, criticized Cashion and repeatedly stated that Cashion "euthanized" the patient. Cashion filed an action against Smith and Smith's employer (collectively, Defendants) for defamation. The circuit court (1) sustained Defendants' demurrers and pleas in bar as to the non-euthanasia statements, ruling that they were non-actionable expressions of opinion; and (2) granted summary judgment to Defendants on the euthanasia statements, concluding that the qualified privilege applied to Smith's statements. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the circuit court's rulings that Smith's statements enjoyed a qualified privilege; but (2) reversed the circuit court's ruling that Smith's non-euthanasia statements were non-actionable expressions of opinion. Remanded.