E. Ratcliffe Anderson Jr., the former American Medical Association top executive fired after filing a $5 million defamation lawsuit against the AMA, has accused the doctors' group of systematically destroying a wide range of documents relevant to his case. In an amended version of the initial complaint filed nearly two years ago in Cook County Circuit Court, Chicago, Anderson's lawyers claimed that top AMA officials deliberately destroyed e-mails, logbooks and other documents in the months before and after he filed his lawsuit. The complaint alleges that one unidentified member of the AMA board testified in a sworn deposition that "he had recently destroyed all AMA documents that came into his possession between 1985 and 2001." The complaint said those documents filled five file cabinets. The AMA released a one-paragraph statement from board Chairman J. Edward Hill that the new allegations "have no basis whatsoever in fact" and that the AMA "remains confident that all claims in the case will be resolved in (its) favor."
Anderson, a retired three-star general and the former surgeon general of the U.S. Air Force, was the AMA's executive vice president from June 1998 until he was fired in June 2001 after filing suit against the doctors' group and three of its top officials. Anderson contends he met resistance from AMA officials after "blowing the whistle" about alleged unscrupulous business dealings. -- by Michael Romano