The doctors, longtime professors at Yale's medical school -- Arthur Rosenfield, Morton Burrell and Robert Smith -- complained to administrators that the cost-cutting measures were putting patients at Yale-New Haven Medical Center at risk. They took their complaints all the way to Yale President Richard Levin.
The doctors sued in January 2000, arguing that Yale had violated their freedom of speech rights and their academic freedom by retaliating against them. At trial, Yale portrayed the doctors as disgruntled employees worried about protecting their turf and maintaining a comfortable workload. Yale claimed the doctors used patient care as a cover to air their private grievances.
Ultimately, the jury decided in the doctors' favor, finding that Yale retaliated against the doctors for speaking out against procedures they believed were compromising quality care. The jury awarded $3,848,000 to Rosenfield, $1,395,000 to Burrell, and $259,000 to Smith. The jury also awarded punitive damages to cover trial costs, although Judge Carl Schuman will decide on the amount later. Lawyer fees are estimated at between $1.5 million and $2 million.