An executive at a Chicago-based medical society has brought a lawsuit against a South Barrington man he accused of defaming him in an email to colleagues, sparking an investigation by his employer the executive said damaged his reputation, despite an alleged attempt by the other man to claim the email was actually the work of someone who hacked his email account.
On Jan. 29, plaintiff Barry Eisenberg, of Chicago, filed a complaint against Arvind Goyal, of South Barrington, in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging Goyal of libel and slander.
Eisenberg, who is represented in the action by attorney John C. Ellis, of Ellis Legal, of Chicago, was described in the complaint as “employed at a medical society that represents physicians and health care professionals” and as “a voluntary board member, without compensation, for an organization of individuals in the healthcare field that collaborate for the purpose of improving the public’s health.”
According to online records, Eisenberg was employed as the executive director of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and as a member of the board of directors of the American Association of Medical Society Executives. He also was listed as an officer of the Institute of Medicine in Chicago.
The complaint identified Goyal only as a resident of South Barrington. State records and online profiles list Arvind Goyal, a physician with a practice in Rolling Meadows, as the medical director for Illinois Medicaid at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Additional online records indicate this Goyal also serves as president of the board of governors at the Institute of Medicine.
According to the complaint, on Feb. 15, 2015, an email allegedly containing “several defamatory statements” was sent from Goyal’s account to “business colleagues” of Eisenberg’s. The complaint said the email said Eisenberg had “accepted another high level job a few years ago at another association,” which the email said had caused Eisenberg to reduce the amount of time he was dedicating to his current employer and to become less available to attend to the needs of his coworkers and his current employer, leaving others to attend to various duties and hurting “worker morale” among his coworkers.
“Goyal knew that each of these statements were false or misleading at the time he made them,” Eisenberg wrote in his complaint. Yet, Eisenberg said, Goyal allegedly “proceeded to encourage the recipients … to further spread the defamatory comments” and allegedly urged the organization to launch an investigation and “take appropriate action.”
However, about 90 minutes later, another email came from the same account, purporting again to be from Goyal, claiming “AOL and Gmail have been hacked” and the email, while sent in his name, did not “initiate” with him.
The second email allegedly further asserted AOL and Gmail were investigating the matter and would require Goyal to “use a pin code to send or receive further emails.”
Eisenberg’s complaint alleged a subsequent investigation confirmed Goyal “authored the defamatory statements.”
However, Eisenberg alleged the emails prompted his employer to investigate him.
The complaint did not specify if Eisenberg’s job was ever in danger, but Eisenberg alleged “the investigation and corresponding scrutiny caused embarrassment … and damaged his reputation,” and “forced (him) to spend time and resources complying with the requests of the investigation.”
The complaint includes counts of defamation per se and pro quod, and of false light invasion of privacy.
Eisenberg’s complaint requested the court award unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and issue an injunction prohibiting Goyal from ever again “stating or otherwise publishing such false and misleading fact about” Eisenberg.