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Judge rules patient can sue Duke University Medical System over surgery

Raleigh News & Observer, August 15, 2008

A man on disability since surgeons may have operated on him with instruments coated in hydraulic fluid will be able to sue Duke University Medical System after a judge ruled that the $14,000 price tag to bring the grievance before a panel of private arbitrators is too costly. The ruling could be repeated in other courtrooms around the state, and it echoes a decision by the North Carolina Supreme Court earlier this year that found mandatory arbitration agreements can make it too pricey for consumers to pursue their disputes. The ruling could also help create a more favorable legal climate for an untold number of the 3,648 patients who may have been operated on in late 2004 with contaminated instruments at two Duke hospitals.