Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Letter released

Media silence on lawsuits:
why it hurts the public

By David Baker
Posted Thursday March 29, 2012

In July of 2011, I wrote a letter to George R. Hearst III, the publisher of the Times Union, and James K. Reed, CEO of Northeast Health, Inc. making the case that keeping details of lawsuits alleging medical negligence out of the media is against the public interest. I received no response.

Unknown to me, on the same day that letter was mailed Northeast Health, Inc. filed a lawsuit against me.

But having filed it, the lawyers didn’t take the next step and serve it on me.

Six weeks later, during a search for lawsuits against the company I found it and later served a counterclaim, forcing the company to proceed with its allegations and defend my claim.

Here, in its entirety and made public for the first time is the letter which apparently caused the management of Northeast Health to want to abandon its lawsuit against me. It is item #5 here:


Monday, March 26, 2012

Facebook update

Online ad brings
many to web page

On Sunday at 1 p.m. an ad began appearing on the Facebook page of people living in seven Zip Codes on either side of the Hudson River. Clicking on the ad brought up the web page

In the first nine hours, more people viewed that page than had seen it an any prior week. And as of this writing Monday evening, the visitors are still coming.

An interesting statistic has emerged from the data on this campaign: Only one third of the visitors have clicked on the ad. The rest came to the site direct.

It means people are talking about the web page. Those who who clicked the ad were then letting other people know about it.

The current ad was a second attempt to promote the page. A first one last week produced very little response and was soon canceled. Then a new one was created and it worked.

The next step is to run the current ad again, this time targeting the rest of the Capital District. An exact date has not been set but it will be in the next week or so.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Objection, your Honor

Hospital wants to keep judge

who worked for its lawyers

By David Baker
Posted Saturday, March 17, 2012

A lawyer for Samaritan Hospital has filed an objection to a request that the judge assigned to a lawsuit filed by the hospital remove himself from the case.

The motion for recusal asks acting state Supreme Court Justice Andrew G. Ceresia to step aside because he worked for five years for the law firm that represented Samaritan Hospital in the 2005 lawsuit against the hospital over the death of Lisa Baker.

In the current lawsuit, the hospital claims that its reputation is being damaged by the use of the Internet domain name ‘northeast health’ on a Web page that points to stories about medical-malpractice lawsuits that have not been reported by newspapers, and by the placement on the site of a logo. A counterclaim to the suit seeks damages for the alleged withholding of medical records during the first lawsuit – when the hospital was represented by the judge’s former employer.

A decision on whether to step aside is made in this instance solely by the judge, who is expected to consider not only his ability to be fair, but also whether remaining on the case would create an appearance of partiality.

In their affidavit, Samaritan’s lawyers claim that the motion for recusal was deliberately delayed until after the judge had become familiar with the case. But while the reason they claim for the timing of the request is mere speculation, it would also mean that Ceresia would have had an opportunity to recuse himself. He hasn't done so.

Now he has to make a choice and state it in writing. If he decides to stay, every ruling he makes that favors the hospital will be viewed in the light of his past employment, which could be cited in an appeal.

And even if he steps aside, the hospital is now on permanent public record as wanting to keep a judge who worked for a firm whose actions on behalf of the hospital are now an issue in the current litigation.

Read the hospital's affidavit at this link:


NEXT: Why fighting all malpractice lawsuits and suppressing news about them is against the public interest


Thursday, March 15, 2012


Abraham appeal set

By David Baker
Posted Thursday, March 15 2012

An appeal of a conviction for insurance fraud lodged by a former doctor who was allegedly negligent credentialed by Samaritan Hospital is set to be heard.

Akiva Abraham is appealing his conviction stemming from a fire that destroyed a nightclub building he owned in Saratoga Springs.

Abraham lost his medical license in 2005. A lawsuit filed in 2006 accuses Samaritan Hospital of negligently granting him privileges to practice, and allowing him to perform a surgery he was not authorized by the hospital to do and without the permission of the patient.

A trial judge ruled that the hospital is not liable for Abraham's actions, but that the negligent credentialing claim against it can go to trial.

Oral argument on Abraham's appeal against the insurance fraud conviction is scheduled for Tuesday, March 20 at 1:30 p.m. The court session will be at Albany Law School.

Read the 'negligent credentialing' story HERE


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Recusal motion filed

Judge in hospital's lawsuit
is asked to remove himself

By David Baker
Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A formal request has been made for the judge in Samaritan Hospital’s lawsuit against a web page listing medical negligence lawsuits to remove himself after it was discovered that the judge previously was employed at the law firm that defended the hospital in Lisa Baker’s wrongful-death claim.

The judge, Andrew G. Ceresia, was assigned to Samaritan’s lawsuit last month. But between 2000 and 2005 he worked at Carter, Conboy, Case, Blackmore, Maloney & Laird, where he represented insurance companies and in at least one case defended St. Mary’s Hospital in Troy in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

A motion asking Ceresia to recuse himself was filed this week.

The management of Samaritan and its parent company, Northeast Health, Inc., filed a lawsuit last year against the web page. They are seeking an injunction and money damages for ‘reputational damage’ they allege has been caused by the site’s Internet domain name, ‘northeast health claims,’ and the use on the site of a logo.

The lawsuit was filed in July but then not served. In September an answer was served activating the claim, along with a counterclaim for medical records allegedly withheld by Ceresia’s former employer during the earlier wrongful-death lawsuit against the hospital.

Meanwhile, a motion filed by the hospital last month asks Ceresia to throw out the counterclaims. The judge must now decide whether to remove himself from the case or continue to preside over a claim involving the actions of his former employer.



No sunshine here;
just hollow boasts

It’s Sunshine Week, when a focus is put on the public’s right to information and once again the deluded editor of the Times Union is boasting about his paper’s untiring efforts to pry facts out of reluctant officials.

But the disturbing reality at the TU is that readily available information is routinely kept out of the paper because publishing it would cost advertising revenue.

So for more than a decade stories about lawsuits alleging preventable deaths and serious injuries in hospitals – many of which have eventually ended with a settlement – have been ignored.

Getting that information is as easy as walking into a county clerk’s office and searching a database. (In Rensselaer and Saratoga counties you can print copies right from a computer. Albany County apparently is in no rush to join the digital age; its lawsuit records are still on paper). But for a newspaper management more interested in profit than its fundamental obligation to inform, hollow boasts are all that its readers are going to get.

See what's been withheld from you:

Thursday, March 01, 2012