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Doctor Files Lawsuit Against Don Imus
Monday July 11, 2005 5:58pm
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NEW YORK (AP) - A doctor who once took care of sick children at Don Imus' New Mexico ranch has sued the tart-tongued broadcasting personality for slander, claiming he made false derogatory comments about him on his "Imus in the Morning" radio show. Dr. Howard Allen Pearson, a pediatric cancer and blood specialist, says in court papers that on at least four days last year, the tart-tongued shock jock said Pearson "was one of the worst doctors in the world and did not care if children suffered."

Pearson's lawsuit, filed in Manhattan's State Supreme Court on Friday, says Imus apparently became upset because he misunderstood the physician's response to a call around 7:40 a.m. on July 13, 2004, that a child at the ranch was in pain.

Imus invites children who have been ill to visit his ranch in groups of 10 for one of eight summer sessions and one in the spring to have the American cowboy experience. Pearson left the main house and began the 4 1/2-minute, quarter-mile walk to the infirmary, court papers say. Because the nurse had said there was no emergency, he declined a ride offered by Imus' wife, Deirdre Coleman Imus.

The doctor says he arrived at the infirmary at 7:45 a.m., gave the child pain medicine, and she resumed normal activities. About 45 minutes later, court papers say, Imus pulled up in his truck, jumped out and began yelling and cursing at Pearson.

Imus, "ashen, shaking and unstable," and armed with a gun and a knife, screamed at Pearson for about 10 minutes, calling him "an arrogant (expletive) doctor who doesn't mind letting a child suffer," court papers say.

Imus repeated his comments about Pearson on his radio show on July 14, 15, and 16, and on Nov. 4, 2004, court papers allege, causing the doctor "distress, shock, humiliation and economic loss."

Reached by telephone at his 4,000-acre ranch near Ribera, N.M., in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, Imus confirmed and repeated his disparaging comments about Pearson. He said, "It's disgraceful that he filed this lawsuit."

Imus said Pearson was called to treat "a 16-year-old girl from Afghanistan who had been up all night in abject agony and pain. The place was a quarter mile away and he refused to get in the truck. He said he wanted to walk down there."

"He's about 80 years old, and the way he walks, who knows how long it would take him to get there?" the shock jock said. 'I thought it was just the most outrageous and repulsive behavior in a doctor. It's disgraceful."

Pearson's court papers say that because of Imus'"patently slanderous aspersions," colleagues at Yale Medical School and Yale-New Haven Hospital questioned him at points for months about what had happened to cause Imus to attack him.

Pearson's lawsuit names Imus, NBC, MSNBC and Westwood One Inc. as defendants. It asks unspecified damages for defamation and slander, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The lawsuit also accuses Imus of civil assault for "threatening" Pearson and "screaming uncontrollably" at him while armed with a knife and a revolver.

Jeremy Gaines, spokesman for NBC and MSNBC, said he had no comment on the lawsuit.

Westwood One could not be reached for comment.

Pearson's lawyer did not return calls for comment.


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Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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