An Andover doctor and his wife filed a lawsuit in Essex Superior Court Friday, accusing the Eagle-Tribune of falsely reporting his medical license had been suspended.
In their complaint, Adam Beck, an ophthalmologist, and Bethany Carey, his wife, said the newspaper published an online article by Breanna Edelstein on July 24, 2019 saying the Massachusetts Medical Board had suspended his license and that he had agreed to specific practice restrictions. The article has since been corrected to say that Beck’s was only reprimanded by the medical board.
Beck’s complaint says the newspaper took several hours to correct the online version of the story and never offered “an apology or retraction.” The lawsuit also names North of Boston Media Group, the newspaper’s parent company, Edelstein and David Joyner, an editor at the newspaper, as defendants. North of Boston Media Group is also the parent company of the Andover Townsman.
“The Article is libelous on its face. It clearly exposes plaintiff to hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy because it states that Beck’s medical license was suspended, which never occurred,” the complaint said. “Beck has suffered loss of his personal and professional reputation, shame, mortification, and injury to his feelings.”
The couple is seeking unspecified damages for libel and negligence. The complaint says they have suffered stress and “substantial economic harm.”
“Before publishing the Article, Defendants had a duty to conduct a good-faith investigation into the facts, which would include contacting the plaintiff or other parties with knowledge of facts for comment,” the complaint said. “The duty to conduct a good-faith investigation never occurred and Beck was never given the opportunity to comment, nor was any individual quoted in the Article as a source to support the suspension as stated in the Article.”