margaret and peter fonda
Margaret and Peter Fonda - Photo courtesy of Ron Adar on Shutterstock

Peter Fonda’s former primary care doctor has been dropped as a defendant in a suit filed by the late “Easy Rider” star’s widow.

Dr. Alison C. Garb was sued along with four other physicians and Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica by Margaret Fonda over the actor’s 2019 death. On Jan. 6, Garb’s attorneys filed a motion asking Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Serena R. Murillo to dismiss all allegations against the physician in a hearing that was scheduled March 28.

However, Margaret Fonda’s attorneys filed court papers on Monday asking that Garb be dropped as a defendant “with prejudice,” meaning the claims against her cannot be renewed later. The court papers do not explain why Garb is no longer part of the case.

Margaret Fonda’s negligence suit was brought in August 2020. It stated that Garb had been the actor’s primary care doctor since 2008. The suit alleges that after Fonda underwent a CT scan for an aspirated object, the test revealed a spiculated nodule in the left lung which was a primary source of lung cancer that was not followed up on by Garb and the other doctors and proved fatal to the actor, who was 79 years old when he died in August 2019.

In their court papers seeking dismissal of the claims against Garb, the doctor’s attorneys offered the sworn declaration of Dr. Robert Norman, who has been board-certified in family practice since 1983 and says he has reviewed all relevant medical and legal documents in the case.

“Based on my review of the medical records, deposition transcripts, discovery responses, as well as my education, training, and experience, it is my opinion that Dr. Garb’s care and treatment Peter Fonda was within the standard of care…,” Norman says.

Garb’s medical chart of Fonda shows that when it was warranted to do so, she referred Fonda to the appropriate specialists expert consultants and relied on their advice, all within the appropriate medical care standards, Norman says.

“It is also my opinion … to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that Mr. Fonda’s death was not the result of anything Dr. Garb did or failed to do,” Norman says.

Fonda was discharged with stage 1 lung cancer, according to Garb’s attorneys’ court papers.

From a family of Hollywood stars, Peter Fonda was an actor, director and screenwriter, best known for his role in 1969’s “Easy Rider.” He also was the only son of the late Academy Award-winning Henry Fonda and was the younger brother of actress Jane Fonda.

The court papers identify Fonda’s heirs as his widow, his son, Justin Fonda, and his daughter, 58-year-old actress Bridget Fonda.

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