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Surgeon sues St. Charles chiropractor alleging defamation

Published: Thursday, July 31, 2014 10:09 p.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, July 31, 2014 10:29 p.m. CST

ST. CHARLES – A Bartlett orthopedic surgeon is suing a St. Charles chiropractor and his practice, alleging the chiropractor defamed him by calling him a “butcher” and alleging the surgeon would do unnecessary surgery, according to court papers filed in DuPage County recently.

According to the lawsuit, Dr. Howard Freedberg is accusing Pat Calcagno, founder and CEO of Olympia Chiropractic and Physical Therapy in St. Charles, of defaming him in a conversation with a boy at a St. Francis High School football event last August. The boy was 16 at the time.

The teen was scheduled to undergo surgery with Freedberg for a sports injury and was using crutches at the event, according to the lawsuit.

Calcagno approached the teen to ask why he was on crutches and to press for details as to the type of surgery he was going to have and by whom, according to the suit.

“Calcagno told him that Dr. Freedberg was ‘a butcher’ and that he should get a second opinion before being operated on by ‘the butcher.’ [Calcagno] further stated to [the teen] that the only reason that Dr. Freedberg wanted to perform surgery on him was that Dr. Freedberg was going through a difficult divorce and that he needed the money,” according to the complaint.

The teen – identified in court papers as John Doe – was surprised by Calcagno’s comments and replied that Freedberg was well-known in his field, to which Calcagno replied that he was not well-regarded. And that “Dr. Freedberg ‘takes pictures with famous people but isn’t recognized in his field,’ ” the complaint states.

Calcagno told the teen he did not need surgery “and that he should instead be treated at Olympia if he wanted to return to the football field sooner,” according to the complaint.

Freedberg found out about the conversation after the teen told his parents and they told the surgeon, the complaint states.

Freedberg is asking for damages of more than $50,000, plus legal fees and a jury trial. The next court date is Aug. 12 in Wheaton.

Freeberg attorney Lance Northcutt said he tried to reach out to Calgano for an explanation and retraction before filing suit, but the chiropractor never responded to their calls.

“Dr. Freedberg has built an outstanding reputation as a physician and surgeon,” Northcutt said. “And this [was] false and blatantly damaging commentary to a prospective patient about to go undergo surgery.”

Northcutt said the teen boy went ahead with the scheduled surgery and is doing fine.

Calcagno did not return messages seeking comment.

Olympia Chiropractic also has offices in Bartlett, Park Ridge and Sycamore and two offices in Elmhurst.

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