Melissa Rivers Files Multimillion Dollar Lawsuit Against NYC Clinic, Doctors Who Performed Surgery on Joan Rivers — Get All the Details

Joan and Melissa Rivers
Melissa Rivers files lawsuit against clinic and doctors who performed on Joan Rivers prior to her death D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

UPDATE: Melissa Rivers tells Us Weekly in a statement: "Filing this lawsuit was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make.  What ultimately guided me was my unwavering belief that no family should ever have to go through what my mother, Cooper and I have been through.  The level of medical mismanagement, incompetency, disrespect and outrageous behavior is shocking and frankly, almost incomprehensible.  Not only did my mother deserve better, every patient deserves better.  It is my goal to make sure that this kind of horrific medical treatment never happens to anyone again."

Her lawyers Jeffrey Bloom and Ben Rubinowitz also tell Us: "We take our obligation seriously to properly and thoroughly investigate any case before we ever bring a lawsuit.  With this in mind, we have fully investigated the facts underlying the deaths of Joan Rivers. To put it mildly, we are not just disappointed by the acts and omissions leading to the death of Joan Rivers, but we are outraged by the lack of care and concern for Ms. Rivers on the part of her treating physicians and the endoscopy center where the treatment was rendered. In filing this lawsuit on behalf of Melissa and Cooper we have two goals: first, to ensure that they receive the justice they deserve and second, to make certain that the many medical deficiencies that lead to Joan Rivers’ death are never repeated by any outpatient surgery center."

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Melissa Rivers has finally filed a lawsuit against the clinic, Yorkville Endoscopy, and the doctors who negligently performed surgery on Joan Rivers prior to her September 2014 death. According to court documents obtained by TMZ and The New York Daily News, Rivers claims gross medical malpractice, alleging that the doctors didn't think to perform a tracheotomy on the comedienne, who stopped breathing after an unplanned biopsy was performed.

"The level of medical mismanagement, incompetency, disrespect and outrageous behavior is shocking and frankly, almost incomprehensible," Melissa wrote in the lawsuit. “Not only did my mother deserve better, every patient deserves better." 

The Fashion Police producer is also suing her late mom’s personal doctor, Gwen Korovin. According to the documents, Korovin should not have been permitted in the room where the procedure was being performed but jumped in and announced, "I'll go first."

The lawsuit also claims that another doctor, as previously reported, took photos of an unconscious Joan on a cellphone.

“Had doctors acted as physicians for Joan Rivers instead of groupies, Joan Rivers would have been doing Fashion Police last week,” Melissa’s lawyer, Jeffrey Bloom, told the New York Daily News, who was first to report the lawsuit. 

This past October, the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office concluded the late star died at the age of 81 following the doctors performing an unplanned throat biopsy which caused her to stop breathing.

"OCME [Office of the Chief Medical Examiner] has completed its investigation," the statement from spokeswoman Julie Bolcer read. "The cause of Ms. Rivers’ death is anoxic encephalopathy due to hypoxic arrest during laryngoscopy and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy with propofol sedation for evaluation of voice changes and gastroesophageal reflux disease. The manner of death is therapeutic complication. The classification of a death as a therapeutic complication means that the death resulted from a predictable complication of medical therapy."

Rivers was then hospitalized and placed in an induced coma for seven days. She died at age 81 on Sept. 4.

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