Three Years After UT-Southwestern Doc Filed Whistleblower Suit, Another Major Victory
|Dr. Larry Gentilello, seen here in a 2005 UT Southwestern photo|
The hospital responded: Not only did it have sovereign immunity from such a suit, but, as one court recaps, Gentilello failed to allege that he reported a violation of law to an "appropriate law enforcement authority," which would undercut his claims of whistleblowing. The trial court disagreed, and case ultimately went all the way to the Texas Supreme Court, which, last December, sent the case back to the Fifth District Court of Appeals to determine whether Gentilello had indeed legitimately alleged a violation under the Whistleblower Act.
The court of appeals handed down its opinion yesterday, ruling, yet again, in favor of Gentilello, who's still on staff as a UT Southwestern prof. Writes Justice Michael J. O'Neill: When the doc told his boss the hospital was operating illegally, he had every reason to think he'd be protected under U.S. federal whistleblower statutes: "Gentilello had a good faith belief that he reported to an appropriate law enforcement authority." The doctor's out of town and couldn't be reached, and his attorney, Charla Aldous, is in mediation all day. But messages have been left to see what's next.