North Carolina OB/GYN clinic files lawsuit against insurance company for failure to defend against former doctor’s wrongful discharge claim

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by Charles Miller

An obstetrics and gynecology clinic in Raleigh, North Carolina has filed a lawsuit against its insurance company for failing to provide a legal defense to a lawsuit filed by a former doctor at the facility. The Raleigh OB/GYN Center alleges in a lawsuit filed against Darwin National Assurance Co. that the clinic’s policy required the insurance company to defend against a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Eric Rappaport, who was fired in 2014.

According to court records, Rappaport began working at the OB/GYN Center in 1986 before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2007. He continued to treat patients for six years with “minimal” symptoms, but was placed on administrative leave by the clinic in 2013 so that he could undergo a fitness-for-duty evaluation. After Rappaport refused to undergo the evaluation, he was fired by the OB/GYN Center in January 2014.

Rappaport filed a lawsuit against the OB/GYN Center alleging that the clinic had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act for firing him after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The lawsuit charges Raleigh OB/GYN with wrongful discharge, failure to pay wages, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and tortious interference with a contract. Raleigh OB/GYN has denied those allegations. Rappaport also filed a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in connection with his termination.

According to the lawsuit filed by Raleigh OB/GYN, Darwin improperly denied the clinic’s claim for indemnity and for a legal defense in connection with Rappaport’s lawsuit. The clinic alleges that the doctor’s lawsuit falls within the terms of the insurance policy that it purchased from Darwin.

Raleigh OB/GYN’s lawsuit against Darwin was originally filed in Wake County Superior Court in North Carolina. The case has since been moved to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

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