Medical firm launches defamation action over 'false' claims
A MULTI-million dollar company has taken legal action against a woman who helped establish one of its medical centres after she and another man allegedly sent letters containing "false" claims about the company and its directors.
Medicrew - which has medical practices in Buderim, Twin Waters and Beachmere - launched legal action against Kerri and Dominic Van Veenendaal (not her husband) in June 2017 claiming they damaged contractual obligations between the centre and two of its GPs.
According to court documents filed in Maroochydore District Court, Medicrew seeks payment of $349,670 against the pair as well as a permanent injunction restraining them from "committing any acts which may cause or procure a breach of contracts held between Medicrew and third parties".
The company's outline of argument claimed the Van Veenendaal duo "intentionally" brought about the termination of the doctors through a "concerted campaign of harassment manifested by the publication of anonymous notices containing false and scurrilous accusations and the submission of baseless complaints to relevant statutory and industry bodies".
Mrs Van Veenendaal and Mr Van Veenendaal denied the claims in multiple submissions to the court defending their position.
According to the documents, Mrs Van Veenendaal helped Medicrew set up its Twin Waters practice in June 2015 as she had also worked for the previous doctor at that location, although was not officially employed by either.
Medicrew ceased involvement with Mrs Van Veenendaal a month later after police informed them she was under investigation.
In June 2016, she pleaded guilty in Noosa Magistrates Court to stealing mail and a folder belonging to the previous tenanting doctor, disconnecting the practice's phone and power and attempting to access Medicrew's mail.
Mrs Van Veenendaal was fined $1000.
Counter-claims filed by the Van Veenendaals allege Dr Ian Housego - who previously worked at the clinic - performed botched procedures on them.
Mrs Van Veenendaal alleged she was left with neck and face distortion from a neck-lift and Mr Van Veenendaal alleged the doctor had "assaulted" him by taking out seven of his teeth and providing no after-care.
Dr Housego eventually refused to provide treatment to Mr Van Veenendaal in 2016 in breach of his contract, which led him to leave the company.
Medicrew's Mark van Wyk submitted that the company became aware of notices being sent to Twin Water's residents in May 2018 that contained "numerous false allegations" against the company and its directors.
He said CCTV footage showed Mrs Veenendaal's husband and Mr Veenendaal putting something in a letterbox around the time the notices were distributed, but they deny these allegations.
An anonymous letter was also sent to former-Medicrew GP Dr Adam Brownhill with claims the practice was under investigation for fraudulent billing practices.
"It is hoped the above information assists you in maintaining the professional integrity it has taken you a career to achieve," the letter read.
Dr Brownhill left as a result.
The case will continue on a date to be decided.
The case will continue through court on a date to be decided.