A malpractice lawyer who was once fired from her job after accusing her former employer of violating its own code of ethics filed a lawsuit against a Boston doctor accused of malpractice against her.
Jennifer S. Miller, a former associate professor of clinical and forensic medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Boston against Dr. Michael P. Sullivan, who she alleged has violated his contract with the Massachusetts Board of Medical Practice (MBOP) for malpractice by maligning her reputation and her career.
The MBOP’s contract with Sullivan expired in August.
She said in the lawsuit that Sullivan allegedly lied to her in a series of emails and phone calls.
She claimed that she was told by Sullivan that the MBOP “will not discipline a doctor who engages in malpractice.”
In the lawsuit, Miller also alleged that Sullivan lied to him about his “ethical standards,” including that a malpractice suit should be filed only after a doctor has been fired, or in the case of a pending malpractice case, not later than three years after the patient dies.
She also alleged Sullivan used his position to gain an advantage by offering her a “significant bonus” in exchange for “a favorable decision in a malphestation case.”
“I was fired from my job after Dr. Sullivan said that the Medical Board would not discipline him for malplaining me,” Miller said in a statement.
“I was shocked and disappointed that the Board of Physicians did not discipline me, and I would like to make sure the MBP’s policy of protecting the public and the MB’s reputation are upheld.”
Miller also said in her lawsuit that the allegations against Sullivan are false and “are malicious and have no basis in fact.”
Sullivan’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.
Miller was a graduate student at Boston Medical School and was working on a dissertation in the department of clinical epidemiology and medical toxicology when she decided to write an article for the medical journal.
She wrote a series in 2012 about the prevalence of Lyme disease and related health problems in the Boston area, which she said were largely due to the widespread use of antibiotics.
Miller said she was fired by the MBop in January after she and her colleagues began investigating a patient who died of Lyme.
She said the patient, identified as Robert D. Smith, died after being given antibiotics for a chronic Lyme infection in February of this year.
She later filed a complaint against the MBOT, which fired her in January.
Miller said she later learned that the physician, who was an MBOP member at the time, had previously filed two wrongful termination complaints against her in the past and that she and the other patient had filed a third wrongful termination complaint in January, saying she was dismissed from her practice.
She alleged that after the MB had fired her, she was asked to attend a meeting where she was accused of not having “a professional standard of conduct” and that Sullivan was the one who told her to change her mind about pursuing a malignant Lyme diagnosis.
She filed a $1 million wrongful termination suit against Sullivan in August 2015.
It is not clear how much money she is seeking.
She is the latest plaintiff in a string of cases filed by attorneys in malignant cases against physicians accused of misdiagnosing patients or failing to provide proper care, said Dr. Jonathan Zolotowski, a Boston-based malignant geneticist who practices in the area.
Zolotowsky said he was unaware of any Massachusetts malpractice cases involving Sullivan.
Sullivan has a long history of maligning the reputation of malignancies and the public’s trust in doctors, he said.
“The fact that a doctor could be fired for maligning an illness is just incredible,” Zolottowski said.
“It’s a pretty common problem and it’s one of the reasons malpractice lawsuits are so effective in protecting the reputation and reputation of physicians.”
In October, a woman in California who said she had been fired from a Massachusetts hospital filed a class-action lawsuit against Sullivan alleging that he “perceived her to be a liar and a cheat.”
She also accused him of retaliating against her for her reporting.
Sullivan did not respond to several requests for comment.
Miller has not been charged in the California case.
The Massachusetts malignancy litigation is one of a growing number of malignant genetics cases that have brought the spotlight on malpractice suits filed by lawyers and medical malpractice experts in recent years.
The number of cases has been growing over the past several years, and lawsuits have also been filed in Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Illinois.