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American Academy of Emergency Medicine

PhyCor Moves To Uncover Physicians' Online Identities

According to a report in the May 24/31, 1999 issue of American Medical News, PhyCor, a physician practice management company headquartered in Nashville, TN, seeking to prove libel or potential insider trading, has subpoenaed several Internet service providers to identify anonymous authors of negative postings.

PhyCor's actions came to light after physicians and other posters on the Yahoo! message board received notification from their Internet service providers informing them that their identities had been revealed in response to subpoenas issued as a part of PhyCor's complaint.

Allegations of libel-especially from a company whose success depends on its reputation among physicians-has sparked reactions ranging from defiance to skepticism. Whether PhyCor sought the posters' identities because it believes they have unfairly defamed the company or for other reasons is open to conjecture. Neither PhyCor nor its legal counsel, Nashville-based Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, would comment on the case for the article.