Last week, I filed a complaint with my insurance company about an incident in a referred dental practice. (Suspecting fraudulent billing and treatment, I left without treatment, telling the dentist/hygenist that I would be talking to the insurance company)
In retaliation, someone in the office then sent multiple "anonymous" emails to my employer (I am a teacher), lying, claiming they were someone else. The emails were so incredibly damaging - outright lies - to the effect I was a danger to children, "crazy", etc.
In doing an internet search, I was able to find who the email was registered to, and indeed it was an employee of the practice.
I am concerned on several levels - first that they could look up and use my personal information in this way - lying in such incredibly damaging ways (in one email, they ask what the school district "is going to do about this" as I should not be around children); and finally, that I do believe that even though "anonymous" and unfounded, the HR department did seem to at least in part belief it (I was "reminded" about "my behavior in public...")
I am new to this school district, but an award-winning teacher at both the state and local levels, and also am a university administrator. I have serious concern about what these communications have done to my reputation, especially as I know they were received and passed through many people in my school district.
Do I have any legal recourse? I've never been in a situation like this. Up to this point, I was highly regarded in my school community and feel by the nature of my employer's call to me today that they believe - if in part - what was written.
2 Answers from Attorneys
How horrible!!!! You are definitely entitled to file suit. You certainly have a cause of action against the employee and possibly the dental practice. It sounds like punitive damages as well as injunctive relief would be available.
From what you have written you have a cause of action for defamation and possibly other basis (HIPAA violation?). You need to see an attorney (this is not a personal injury case) who practices in defamation and find out what resources you have. Call the Chicago Bar Association's lawyer referral service and request a referral for an attorney in that area of practice.
I hope this helps-