Doctor settles his part of wrongful death suit

The doctor who pronounced Scientologist Lisa McPherson dead pays her estate $100,000

St. Petersburg Times/September 15, 1998
By Lucy Morgan

A Clearwater doctor who declared Scientologist Lisa McPherson dead when she arrived at a New Port Richey hospital in December 1995 has paid her estate $100,000 to settle his portion of a wrongful death suit McPherson's family filed against the Church of Scientology and others.

James Felman, the Tampa lawyer who represents Dr. David Minkoff, said two medical malpractice insurance companies paid the entire amount.

"It wasn't our idea to settle," Felman said. "But given that the insurance company is going to pay the money, it is a pittance compared to the millions and millions they were asking for."...

...Ken Dandar, the Tampa lawyer who represents the McPherson estate, declined to discuss details of the settlement. But he said he agreed to accept Minkoff's offer because the doctor's involvement in her death was based on false reports he received from others.

"He saw her after she was dead, so he couldn't cause any damage to her," Dandar said. "Dr. Minkoff was extremely nervous and anxious to settle this case."...

...In addition to the lawsuit, a criminal investigation into McPherson's death is ongoing. Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe has yet to make a decision about who, if anyone, will be prosecuted. Agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Clearwater police have recommended filing criminal charges.

McPherson has become the subject of World Wide Web sites where Scientology critics have published autopsy pictures and copies of the care notes taken by Scientologists in the days before she died. Critics also picket Scientology centers all over the world with McPherson's picture and accusations that Scientology killed her.

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