A paramedic, who had sought employment with the Berkshire, MA Medical Center, Inc. (“BMC”), alleged that an employee at the BMC defamed him by telling potential employers that a “no trespass order” had been issued against the paramedic.
The paramedic had worked for American Medical Response (“AMR”) since 1999. In November 2007, a patient lodged an official complaint against the paramedic with the BMC, where the paramedic had brought the patient. Following the complaint, the BMC had requested that AMR “not have [the plaintiff] come to [the BMC] as a paramedic.”
The defendant, who was an employee of the BMC and was personally familiar with the plaintiff, spoke to outside employers about the plaintiff. These conversations arose from background inquiries about the plaintiff who was seeking employment as a paramedic. In response to the inquiries, the defendant falsely stated that a “no trespass order” had been issued against the plaintiff by the BMC.
At trial, the jury found in favor of the plaintiff paramedic on the claim of intentional interference with prospective employment. On appeal, the defendant asked for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The defendant argued that the jury improperly credited testimony by a prospective employer, and that the plaintiff had showed no nexus at trial between the defendant’s statements and the prospective employer’s decision not to hire the plaintiff.
A Massachusetts appeals court rejected both arguments and affirmed the jury’s finding in favor of the plaintiff.
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