Medical trainee supervision & defamation

A claim for defamation was made in a recent NSW District Court matter, Stanton v Fell [2013] NSWSC 1001.

The matter is unusual in that the plaintiff, a vascular surgeon, had sought damages for defamation arising from the limited publication of an email. The email did not expressly refer to him, but it was said that the email implied that he was not competent to supervise the clinical work of trainees.

The decision sets out quite a complex factual history, however the Court ultimately concluded that there was no defamatory imputation conveyed by the email and that various defences could have succeeded, including common law & statutory qualified privilege.