The Boston Herald

March 29, 1996 Friday SECOND EDITION



LENGTH: 214 words

The state’s top court has upheld the suspension of the license of a Boston psychiatrist who was involved in a celebrated child custody fight.
The Supreme Judicial Court yesterday denied the appeal of Dr. Muriel Sugarman, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, who had her license suspended and was fined $ 10,000 by the Board of Registration in Medicine in 1994.
Sugarman had been involved in the Nicole LaLonde custody case in the late 1980s. The board had charged that by releasing to the media portions of a court-ordered hospital report, Sugarman deliberately defied a court gag order.
The suspension was the result of a complaint filed against Sugarman in 1989 by Stephen LaLonde, the girl’s father. Sugarman, who was a consultant to the child’s mother, had said she had acted in the child’s best interests.
It also found that Sugarman’s actions violated the family’s privacy interests as well as her ethical obligations. The decision ends what was one of the longest running cases in state probate court history and the subject of extensive national media attention.
Although she had her license technically suspended, Sugarman will not actually have to stop practicing if she performs 100 hours of community service. She has already paid the fine.