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While doctors in New York may not be able to use the public health law to sue individuals who report them in bad faith, they can bring defamation claims instead. Photo: Amr Alfiky/AP Photo: Amr Alfiky/AP

A New York judge ordered an insurance carrier for an former doctor at the center of one of the largest mass tort litigations in the state’s history to pony up nearly $17 million to help pay judgments adding up to about $22 million already paid by other carriers.

Even so, the $39 million is well short of the $141 million awarded by an arbitrator last year to 250 former patients of Spyros Panos, who has already served one stretch in federal prison for health care fraud and on Friday pleaded guilty to more charges, including wire fraud, health care fraud and aggravated identity theft in New York’s Southern District. 

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