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Surgeon Sues Associates for Slander

November 12, 1997

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A plastic surgeon to the stars has sued two former associates who he claims spread lies that he fondled and ridiculed sedated patients and abused drugs.

Dr. Steven Hoefflin, whose patients include such celebrities as Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Phyllis Diller, is demanding millions of dollars in damages over the alleged defamation.

Accused of libel and slander in lawsuits filed Monday in state courts are plastic surgeons Dr. James S. Hurvitz and Dr. Wallace A. Goodstein. Hurvitz declined comment; Goodstein denied libeling Hoefflin.

Hoefflin, 51, contends Hurvitz, his wife and business assistant Jackie Hurvitz and Goodstein repeated erroneous information from four former disgruntled employees to the state Medical Board and reporters.

The four women filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Hoefflin and later agreed to settle the matter and abide by a confidentiality agreement, according to their lawyers.

Hoefflin claims Hurvitz supplied the Medical Board with documents that arose during the harassment case in which the former employees accused Hoefflin of misconduct with patients, according to The Washington Post.

Medical Board documents indicate an investigator received allegations in July that Hoefflin used drugs and ``fondled and photographed patients (many of whom were in the entertainment industry) while they were under the effects of anesthesia.″

Identities of the patients in question have never been revealed and neither has the source of the information.

Goodstein is accused of making false misconduct claims against Hoefflin to reporters looking into the Medical Board allegations.

Goodstein, who along with Hurvitz once worked with Hoefflin, stood by his previous statements that Hoefflin made derogatory comments about one patient who was under anesthesia.

``I have done nothing basically but respond to media questions and tell them about my firsthand experience with what I have seen,″ Goodstein said. ``There’s absolutely no libel because everything I’ve said is true.″

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