Notable Rulings in Arrowood LLP Case Recognized in “The Most Important Opinions of 2022”


Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly has selected two separate decisions related to an Arrowood LLP case for inclusion in its list of “The Most Important Opinions of 2022.”

The case, Zappala v. Steward Health Care System, LLC, et al., concerns Dr. Stephen Zappala who has brought state whistleblower, defamation and Chapter 93A claims against the health care system. Arrowood LLP attorneys Lisa G. Arrowood, William F. McGonigle and Sarah E. A. Sousa are counsel to Dr. Zappala.

One of the case’s two consequential rulings chosen for “The Most Important Opinions of 2022” pertains to peer review privilege. In the first Massachusetts state court decision of its kind, a Suffolk Superior Court judge ruled that the peer review privilege does not bar the admissibility of materials from an internal disciplinary proceeding against Dr. Zappala who is suing the health care system for retaliation.

In a separate decision in the case, a Suffolk Superior Court judge ruled that a defamation claim based on Steward’s report to the Board of Registration of Medicine that Dr. Zappala abandoned a patient should not be dismissed pursuant to the anti-SLAPP statute (G.L.c. 231, §59H), as the doctor’s primary purpose was not to chill Steward’s exercise of its right to make reports to the board, but to seek redress for his own personal grievances.

“The Most Important Opinions of 2022” is a special section recognizing the most notable opinions published in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly during that year. See the list and read the two opinions related to the Zappala case here.