BREAKING: Anesthesiologist Cleared of Fault in Med Mal Trial Over "Dancing Doctor" Video

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Jul 31, 2023 4:15:06 PM

Atlanta, GA— Jurors Monday cleared a Georgia anesthesiologist of liability for his participation in a viral music video made by Atlanta’s so-called “Dancing Doctor” during surgery on a patient. Rideau v. Pinkney, 19EV006990. 

The Fulton County (Georgia) State Court jury deliberated across two days before concluding Dr. Roland Pinkney bore no responsibility for the emotional trauma Latoya Rideau claims she suffered from a music video made when she was under anesthesia during a 2017 operation. 

During that procedure, in which Dr. Windell Boutte was the surgeon, Pinkney danced, gestured, and appeared to sing along to music for a video titled “Cut It,” which was later widely published to social media to promote Boutte's practice. 

Boutte, known as the “Dancing Doctor for making dozens of similar viral videos in which she danced and sang, had her license suspended over her conduct and faced multiple civil suits that were ultimately resolved. 

Monday’s verdict apportioned 100 percent of fault to Boutte, who was not a defendant at trial, and awarded $0 in damages to Rideau. 

Trial against Pinkney turned in large part on whether his behavior in the video fell within applicable Georgia tort law governing medical professionals’ care of their patients. 

During Friday’s closings, Rideau’s attorney, Hornsby Law Group's Chloe Dallaire, told jurors Pinkney’s conduct during the surgery was intertwined with the care he provided to Rideau and that expert testimony proved that his participation in the video, by singing and dancing, breached that standard. 

“Dr. Pinkney violated the standard of care. The standard to uphold his… patient’s dignity, to respect her, to not degrade her,” Dallaire said. “The only person that disagrees is Dr. Pinkney.”

But the defense pushed back on that contention, noting that Pinkney met the standard of care with regard to overseeing the procedure's anesthesia, and contending that his behavior for the video did not fall within the tort statute. On Friday, Hall Booth Smith’s Terrell Benton III told jurors that, although Pinkney’s conduct may have been unprofessional, it did not constitute medical care as contemplated by applicable Georgia tort law. 

“[Pinkney has] been the first one to tell you that it was not his best day, that it was unprofessional,” Benton said. “But… behavior and conduct in the [operating room] is not the same as medical standard-of-care.”

UPDATE: Post-verdict comments from the attorneys 

After the verdict, Benton told CVN that, beyond the viral video itself, Pinkney’s own testimony was pivotal at trial. “There’s no doubt about it that Dr. Pinkney’s testimony was going to either win the case or perhaps lose the case for himself, and I thought he made an excellent witness,” Benton said, noting Pinkney testified that he regretted his behavior in the video. “But he stressed the fact that he had been told the patient consented. He stressed... you couldn’t see the patient’s face in the video. And he stressed that he had no role in the release of the video.”

Benton also complimented the jury, noting its diligence in working through an unusual case. “They really did what we want jurors to do, which is spend a lot of time going over the evidence and applying it to Georgia law to decide a verdict.”

And in a statement after the verdict, Rideau's attorney, the Witt Law Group's Susan Witt said that, while the jury's damages decision was disappointing, its message concerning Pinkney's conduct in the verdict and afterward, was  clear. "We are pleased the jury found a verdict in favor of Plaintiff Latoya Rideau. And while we do not feel the damages award was reflective of the damages actually experienced by Ms. Rideau as a result of Dr. Pinkney, we respected and appreciated the jury’s clear message to Dr. Pinkney following the verdict that his participation in, and behavior portrayed in that video, as a physician in this community, was unacceptable and warranted their admonishment to him personally."

Witt added that an agreement entered before the verdict would ultimately dispose of this case, and that other cases against Pinkney were pending. "As the parties had a pre-verdict agreement as to the final resolution of this matter, we are pleased that Ms. Rideau has obtained her justice after a long and brave fight to hold this physician accountable," Witt's statement read. "We look forward to the two more upcoming trials we have against Dr. Pinkney regarding the provision of his anesthesia care to two more patients he treated during his years he worked alongside Dr. Windell Davis- Boutte."

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include comments from the attorneys after the verdict. 

Email Arlin Crisco at

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Topics: Medical Malpractice, Georgia, Rideau v. Pinkney