When Michelle Levine gave what she thought was an honest review of a Manhattan gynecologist, she never thought she would end up spending nearly $20,000 defending herself against a defamation lawsuit…though that is exactly what has happened.
In July 2017, Levine looked online for a gynecologist and came upon Dr. Joon Song, of New York Robotic Gynecology & Woman’s Health, and made an appointment for a checkup, the New York Post reports.
The woman thought she would be getting her free annual exam performed by the doctor, but instead received a bill for $427 that wasn’t covered. Additionally, Levine said her insurance company was billed $1,304.32 by Song’s practice,
In court filings obtained by the New York Post, Levine claimed Song never gave her a pelvic exam, instead he asked about menstrual cramps and performed an ultrasound. She also alleges that Joon said he performed pelvic and breast exams on the woman, which Levine said isn’t true.
“When I called his office [to gripe], they were immediately aggressive and said I had come in complaining of pelvic pain,” which required the ultrasound, Levine told the New York Post, stating she never complained of pelvic pain as claimed. “I was so disgusted, I wrote a review on several sites, including Yelp, ZocDoc and Health Grades.”
“Very poor and crooked business practice,” Levine stated in her review of the business. “I suspect that this doctor gives unnecessary procedure [sic] to a lot of people and then charges the insurance sky high prices and no one knows the difference. Everything about my one and only visit here has caused me emotional distress and panic, and now they want me to cough up an extra $500 for services I didn’t even need?”
A couple of weeks after posting the review, Levine received an email from Song’s lawyers stating that she was being sued. The $1 million lawsuit “accuses Levine of false postings and online harassment,” according to the New York Post.
The woman said to date, the battle has cost her nearly $20,000 in court costs.
CrimeOnline spoke with Levine, who said the lawsuit is now entering the “discovery period.”
“I have spent a little over a month trying to get him to settle,” Levine said, adding that “he won’t do it…He says I owe him money for damages despite everything he has done.”
In addition to the defamation suit, Levine claims that Song violated her HIPPA rights by posting her private information on a public court site. While the woman said she had “posted his misleading test using the un-redacted option which kept it private,” she said Song “posted everything else publicly without permission or following any procedure whatsoever.”
“Well, he filed an amended complaint accusing me of further defamation in claiming that he violated my HIPPA rights by making [her medical record] and bills available on New York’s e-file court system,” Levine said. “He didn’t have permission from me and he didn’t have permission from the court to post it there…it was up for days and anyone could have seen it.”
Levine said she then “finally got the judge to get it sealed,” meaning the personal information is no longer available to the public.
Levine has started a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to help her with legal expenses.
“Coming forward is hard for me to do,” the GoFundMe page reads. “I never thought I would post this Go Fund Me, but I simply can not afford the cost of defense.”
“I want this Go Fund Me to symbolize that people are entitled to their first amendment rights and should not be punished for taking advantage of that right. Exercising your first amendment right should not invalidate a patient’s right to privacy.”
Levine said 10% of GoFundMe donations will be donated to the “Electronic Frontier Foundation,” an organization that “defends the right to free speech on the internet.” Additionally, she said 10% would also be donated to the American Medical Woman’s Association.
At the time of publishing, the fund had raised $458.
The doctor has received a slew of negative Yelp reviews since the story was made public.
CrimeOnline reached out to Dr. Song, who did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.