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Cody doctor sues over disparaging mass-mailing

A Cody orthopaedic surgeon is suing an Indiana woman over an anonymous mass mailing that disparaged him with false information. The lawsuit alleges she facilitated the December 2010 mailing. The woman says she doesn’t know what the suit is about.

Copies of the flyers, apparently intended to discredit Dr. Jimmie Biles of Yellowstone Sports Medicine, were sent to thousands of addresses across the Big Horn Basin in early December.

Dr. Biles’ suit, filed Monday in Wyoming’s Federal District Court, alleges that Lisa S. Fallon of Fishers, Ind., placed the order for the flyers’ printing and mailing, but says she was acting as an agent for someone else. That individual apparently remains unknown.

“At the time Defendant Fallon published the defamatory and false statements causing financial injury to the Plaintiff, she was acting in concert with and at the direction of another person,” says a portion of the 12-page complaint.

Biles accuses Fallon of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and intentional interference with economic relations.

The suit alleges that Fallon corresponded with the Fishers, Ind., company that printed and mailed the flyer and also arranged the mailing. Biles’ complaint says Fallon’s email address and cell phone were used to communicate with the printing company, Sharp Printing Services, Inc.

However, when reached at that cell phone number on Wednesday morning, Fallon said the first time she’d heard of the allegations was when someone called her about the suit on Tuesday, and she denied any knowledge of them.

“It’s a surprise to me. I don’t know anything about it,” Fallon said in a brief interview, adding later, “I don’t have any idea what you guys are talking about.”

Court records indicate Fallon does not yet have an attorney of record in the recently-filed suit. Biles is being represented by R. Daniel Fleck and M. Kristeen Hand of The Spence Law Firm in Jackson and Bill Simpson of Simpson, Kepler and Edwards in Cody.

Biles’ complaint says the flyers were mailed to 14,239 addresses across the Big Horn Basin at a cost of $5,849.47. Addresses receiving the letter included residents of Powell, Cody, Worland, Thermopolis, Greybull, Basin, Lovell, Manderson, Meeteetse, Kirby, Ten Sleep, Frannie, Burlington, Wapiti, Cowley, Shell, Otto, Byron and Yellowstone National Park.

The apparent author of the flyer identified herself only as “Rita,” and claimed Biles did a “terrible” job in performing surgery on her broken ankle last summer in Cody. “Rita” said “I am suing him,” but court records accessed by the Tribune show no suits were filed against Biles in the relevant local or federal courts that summer, nor are any pending.

In the letter, “Rita” went on to list a number of allegations that appear to have no basis in fact, including claims that Biles has been investigated for drunkenness while working at the hospital. West Park Hospital officials said there was “no truth” to those allegations and that Biles has never been disciplined by the hospital. Further, the Wyoming Board of Medicine — which “Rita” claimed had received several complaints about Biles — said no such complaints had ever been reported to the board.

The flyer is partially accurate in indicating that Biles was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol on the night of Oct. 17, 2010. Whoever created the document copied the booking photo and arrest information from the Park County Sheriff’s public website for the mailing, but then edited the text to make the offense appear more severe — adding more serious charges that Biles has never faced and overstating Biles’ blood alcohol content level.

The DUI charge against Biles — who ultimately pleaded guilty — was dismissed last week under a deferred prosecution agreement with the Park County Attorney’s Office. Biles followed the terms of six months of unsupervised probation and paid $190, court records show.

Biles’ complaint says Fallon damaged his reputation and business by distributing defamatory information she knew, or should have known, was false. It seeks an unspecified amount of damages for lost business, damage to his reputation, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional pain and suffering, along with punitive damages.

1 comment

  • posted by Mark Raymond

    September 04, 2011 8:36 pm

    The residents of the Big Horn Basin are lucky to have Jimmie Biles for their orthopedic needs. Jimmie has been my orthopedic doctor and surgeon for the last 15 years. He has ALWAYS been very professional with me and goes out of his way to treat my ailment and fix what causing pain or discomfort. Although I've been living in Gillette for the last 8 years, I still travel back to Cody to see Jimmie for my orthopedic needs -- he's that good. I'm glad to see that he filed this lawsuit against those who tried to ruin his reputation!

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