A York cardiologist is being sued in civil court for allegedly defaming the New Jersey charity hospital where he used to work.
Dr. Manu S. Rajachandran was sued in January by Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills, N.J., and the Deborah Hospital Foundation; the lawsuit is filed in New Jersey's Burlington County Superior Court.
The lawsuit alleges Rajachandran -- and as-yet unnamed people who aided and abetted him -- posted false, malicious and defamatory comments about Deborah Heart and Lung Center on two websites, greatnonprofits.org and www.guidestar.org. Both sites allow people to anonymously post positive and negative reviews of nonprofit organizations.
The "overwhelming majority" of the negative postings about the center were made from computers with IP addresses associated with Memorial Hospital, as well as other locations in York, according to the suit.
Attorneys for Deborah asked Memorial Hospital for help in verifying the identity of the person who made the posts, but Memorial Hospital "has refused to help," the lawsuit states.
Rajachandran is employed by York Heart and Vascular Specialists, 1600 Sixth Ave., which is part of the Memorial Health System, according to Josette Myers, Memorial Hospital spokeswoman.
Myers said she can't comment on pending legal cases.
The allegations: Some of the postings cited in the lawsuit state that Deborah Heart and Lung Center has a surgery death-rate more than twice New Jersey's average; that the hospital is doing unnecessary procedures in patients who don't need them; that all the good doctors have been forced to leave; and that money donated to the hospital is being misused; and that about $24 million in charitable reserves had been "eaten away by the hospital CEO and the Surgical department with their huge salaries, and the bonuses they gave themselves."
The lawsuit alleges Rajachandran posted dozens of false comments under different names, including "ticked-off," "deeply-concerned," "insider" and "whoyukiddin."
In those posts, he allegedly identified himself in various ways, including as a former Deborah Heart and Lung Center board member, a former patient, a donor, former and current hospital volunteers and as a current employee.
"Ticked-off" claimed the center "almost killed my father," according to the suit, and "Delegate" posted that "the level of deceit and corruption (there) is very high and it starts in the CEO's office."
The hospital and its foundation are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages with interest, plus attorneys' fees and court costs.
"As a direct result of Defendants' malicious, unjustified, and unlawful interference, (the hospital's) relationships and prospective economic relationships with patients and donors, and its expected benefits arising from these relationships, have been hindered, damaged or destroyed," the lawsuit states.
Before hanging up on a reporter, a woman who identified herself as Rajachandran's secretary at York Heart and Vascular Specialists said he is not commenting about the lawsuit. A message left at Rajachandran's home was not returned.
His attorney, Tricia E. Habert of Cherry Hill, N.J., did not return a phone message seeking comment.
-- Reach Elizabeth Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-5429 or twitter.com/ydcrimetime.