Orthodontist files libel lawsuit against website developer

An Illinois orthodontist is suing a website developer for libel after the two became embroiled in a dispute over the design of the doctor's practice website, according to an article in the Lake County News-Sun.

Michael Stosich, DDS, hired Zenman Productions to develop a website for his orthodontist practice, according to the complaint, filed January 18 in Cook County Circuit Court.

The contract called for Zenman to provide search engine optimization so the website would be displayed on various search engines. But Dr. Stosich contends that after he paid the initial deposit, Zenman missed numerous deadlines and didn't provide features Stosich wanted on the site. In addition, after the site went live on December 2, 2011, it did not appear in Google searches.

Dr. Stosich complained to Zenman but was told the search capability would be effective in six months, according to the lawsuit. When a Zenman representative subsequently demanded full payment for the work, Dr. Stosich told him the company had not fulfilled its contract.

After Dr. Stosich's office began receiving threatening phone calls and its employees and patients were harassed by Zenman, the doctor called the police, the complaint noted. They told Keith Roberts, owner of Zenman, to stop the harassment.

Instead, on January 3, a Zenman employee sent a defamatory e-mail to the orthodontics department at Temple University, Dr. Stosich's alma mater, claiming Dr. Stosich had committed fraud and violated his ethical obligations as a medical professional, according to the suit.

Dr. Stosich's lawsuit claims libel and breach of contract and seeks unspecified damages.

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