Georgia Surgeon Triumphs in Epic $5M Legal Battle: A Lesson in Bad Faith and Contract Disputes

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By Samuel A. Lopez

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As a legal news contributor for USA Herald, I bring you the story of a Georgia surgeon who emerged victorious in a six-year-long legal dispute with his former employer, Navicent Health Inc., and its subsidiary Health Services of Central Georgia Inc. The case, which reportedly marks the longest civil trial in the history of Georgia’s Bibb County, serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of acting in bad faith and the importance of understanding contract disputes.

The Jury’s Verdict: A Triumph for Dr. Wanna

The protagonist, Dr. Fady Wanna, was awarded a staggering $5 million, consisting of $2.8 million in punitive damages, $1.5 million in attorney fees and costs, and almost $800,000 in damages. Although Navicent Health Inc. and its subsidiary expect to appeal the decision, this groundbreaking case has been a long and arduous journey for both parties, starting back in early 2017.

Throughout the course of the trial, the case saw multiple appeals and attempts to change venue. Dr. Wanna’s disagreement with his former employer even prompted his relocation from Georgia to Alabama in 2020. Interestingly, while Dr. Wanna succeeded in all his claims against the Navicent companies, the jury found that he breached a restriction in a 2013 executive agreement. As a result, the defendants were awarded just over $185,000 in damages on their counterclaim.

I believe that this case highlights the intricacies of contract disputes and the necessity of understanding the legal concepts involved. “This legal battle serves as a cautionary tale for both employees and employers about the importance of being transparent, acting in good faith, and understanding the complexities of contract law,” Samuel Lopez.

Bad Faith Actions: Navicent Health’s Downfall

The jury’s verdict focused on the Navicent companies’ breach of agreements with Dr. Wanna, along with associated fraud and negligent misrepresentation. It was determined that Navicent and its subsidiary had acted in bad faith with the intent to harm Dr. Wanna, providing him with misleading or false summaries of a retirement plan upon which he relied to his detriment.

Moving Forward: The Potential for Appeal and Future Implications

Despite the unfavorable outcome for Navicent Health Inc. and its subsidiary, the companies expressed their gratitude for the jury and the court’s time and consideration but respectfully disagreed with the case’s result.

Breach of Contract: The Heart of the Dispute

Dr. Wanna claimed that the companies violated his contract by failing to pay him severance or provide him with liability insurance coverage. Furthermore, he alleged he was wrongly denied certain benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The legal battle commenced following Dr. Wanna’s resignation from Navicent and Health Services, where he held positions as vice president, chief clinical officer, and a surgeon. The companies claimed Dr. Wanna breached his physician’s agreement and violated noncompete and nonsolicitation covenants.

Consequences and Lessons Learned from the Case

The conclusion of this lengthy legal dispute underscores the significance of understanding and adhering to contractual agreements and the consequences of acting in bad faith. As a legal news contributor for USA Herald, I encourage you to like, share, and comment on this article to help spread awareness about the complexities of contract law and the need for transparency and fair dealings in the professional world.