S.F. Plastic Surgeon Wants to Shut Down Negative Web Commenters

First Amendment attorneys in Washington, D.C., have taken up the case of a man being sued by a San Francisco plastic surgeon for posting negative comments about her online.

The name of the surgeon — Usha Rajagopal — might sound familiar. Last year, SF Weekly published a feature about her ascent in Google rankings with the help of search engine expert Tracy Rosecrans ["Doctoring the Web," Ashley Harrell, 9/15/10]. Rosecrans' distinct screen name — trosecra — appears Internetwide attached to gushing reviews of Rajagopal that Rosecrans denied she wrote. The story also detailed how Rajagopal received probation from the Medical Board of California after a patient slipped into a coma during liposuction and later died.

Rajagopal retains her medical license, and is still the first Google hit for "San Francisco" and "plastic surgeon." And apparently, she's still concerned about her online reputation. In October, she filed a lawsuit against Cannoli38 and other posters who criticized her on Google Maps. Although Cannoli38's comment has since been removed, it appears in a memorandum of support filed by defense attorneys. "She is responsible for putting a woman into a vegetative state who later died," Cannoli38 wrote, citing the Weekly article. "Rajagopal is a danger who shouldn't be allowed to have a medical license."

When Cannoli38 found out Rajagopal had subpoenaed Google to obtain his identity, he contacted attorneys from the Public Citizen Litigation Group and the American Civil Liberties Union. For them, the case held the possibility for setting a legal precedent — not in California, but in Virginia. Rajagopal filed her suit there, according to Cannoli38's attorney, Michael Page, to avoid a California SLAPP statute that penalizes lawsuits attempting to silence criticism that is in the public interest. Page calls Rajagopal's lawsuit a baseless attempt to get people to remove their posts.

Rajagopal didn't return SF Weekly's calls for the first story or this one, but her lawyer, Domingo Rivera, denies that the lawsuit is frivolous. Although he offered no clear explanation for the suit being filed in Virginia, he says he believes other doctors have conspired to damage Rajagopal with an online smear campaign. He also pointed out that one post accusing his client of hiring Rosecrans to create fake reviews is factually inaccurate. He says patients wrote reviews for the doctor, who gave them to Rosecrans, who posted them with her account. It's a strange explanation, considering Rosecrans originally denied posting the reviews to SF Weekly.

Page and his lawyers have filed a motion to quash Rajagopal's subpoena for Cannoli38's identity and to ask for sanctions on Rajagopal and her lawyer. Cannoli38 — who is not a doctor and is not from Virginia — had initially taken down his review. He's considering putting it back up.

 
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11 comments
Teenpope
Teenpope

I used this surgeon. Horrendous experience. Blamed me &/or my anatomy for every wrong (eye retraction, blunted tragus, horrible scars under my eyes, lumps along suture lines, I can go on... I am currently contacting lawyers to rep me. This woman is the most unethical health practitioner I have ever ever interacted with or had a procedure by. I commend and thank SF Weekly for bringing her unethical practices to the public's attention.

Rhinoplasty Los Angeles
Rhinoplasty Los Angeles

You have certainly heard of the famous and the infamous city of Los Angeles. It is a city very popular worldwide amongst millions who have visited it and also among the other millions who haven't visited it! Rich and beautiful houses and even prettier people.

I will speak!
I will speak!

Aha, this happened to me as well with Domingo Rivera who wants me to stop and remove my posts on the internet after I received poor results, poor service and was financially exploited, with a Beverly Hills doctor: Paul Nassif. His harassments are documented on my blog: http://plasticsurgeon-harassme...

Gohan_gt21
Gohan_gt21

free speech isn't so free after all is it

write
write

you can not stop public commenter...

kungkow
kungkow

blood sucking bottom feeding attorneys! Pathetic. No wonder the kangaroo courts are so bogged down. What a joke.

www.anon-tools.es.tc

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

Googling Usha Rajagopal still comes up with dozens of fake reviews, several websites about her, articles she wrote (or commissioned, who knows) but it doesn't take much clicking to get to a link to the SF Weekly article and the fact that she killed a patient.

Google has been working on getting rid of spammy results for a while. Looks like they still have a ways to go.

 

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