Kelowna woman ordered to pay her breast augmentation doctor for defamation | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna woman ordered to pay her breast augmentation doctor for defamation

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August 27, 2021 - 7:30 AM

A Kelowna woman is out $30,000 for posting poorly-considered negative ‘reviews’ about the doctor who performed her breast augmentation surgery.

Rosa Campagna Deck, a blogger from Kelowna who writes about her experiences on her website and Google Reviews, refused to take down her Nov. 9, 2018 reviews of Dr. Brian Peterson’s services. He took issue with several facts and her interpretations and advised her he would sue for defamation.

In her own words, her review "went viral" and Dr. Peterson sued.

Campagna claimed her reviews were fair and accurate and “simply represented her opinions” as many people who write their opinions on the internet may claim, but an Aug. 25 decision by Justice Gary Weatherill shows that’s no protection from defamation.

He said her review misrepresented numerous facts and claimed in her opinions that Peterson made mistakes when, in fact, he made none.

“She has failed to prove that the facts upon which she based her criticisms were true, namely, that the outcome of the First Surgery was due to errors made by the plaintiff,” Weatherill wrote.

Deck made a number of public complaints about issues she experienced, including bruising of her breast and misshapen breasts.

“Low (sic) & behold the itty bitty boob I traded in, for a deformed downward breast that was well over an inch higher than the other — aka torpedo tit. Peterson told me nothing could be done until it was healed leaving me with a grotesque body part for six months,” she wrote.

But Weatherill found that she was fully informed of risks of the procedure and everything she experienced was potentially foreseen. She presented a rare case because she has concave rather than a convex chest which required additional procedures and took longer for the implant to settle into place.

When she complained to Peterson about her condition, she secretly recorded the meeting. But that transcript wound up proving that much of what Peterson told her before and about remediation were the same as another doctor who performed a second surgery — one she was ultimately satisfied with. That also didn't match with what she wrote in her public reviews. 

"The defendant says that the (reviews) simply reflect her subjective personal experience with the plaintiff and his office in relation to breast augmentation surgery that, for her, went horribly wrong. While there is no doubt that the defendant was upset with what she perceived was a mistake made by the plaintiff during the First Surgery and was upset with the results, her commentary ignores, and actually misstates, the fact that the plaintiff discussed (her condition) with her during the initial consultation as well as the potential complications it could cause. A reasonable reader with the knowledge of these communications could not have come to the same opinion as expressed in (her reviews). Further, she downplays the plaintiff’s proposal to perform a (corrective procedure) at no cost to her. The evidence suggests that the (procedure) would have corrected the issue."

Weatherill also said the defamation suit was well justified and not an attempt to prevent a legitimate review.

“This action was not brought to stifle or frustrate the defendant’s freedom of expression or prevent her from making reviews or participating in matters of public debate. Consumer reviews, as a general principle, ought to be encouraged and there is a very real danger of a chilling effect if they are curtailed," Weatherill wrote. "However, such reviews should not be left unbridled. Online review platforms are not a carte blanche to say whatever one wishes without potential consequences. This case was brought to vindicate the plaintiff’s reputation as a plastic surgeon in light of the posts."

Weatherill ordered her to remove her reviews and pay Peterson $30,000 in damages.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones or call 250-718-2724 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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