Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Hospital’s non-response
shows true aim of lawsuit

By David Baker
Posted Tuesday Oct. 15, 2012

You would think that if someone says you owe them money, they would be able to tell you exactly what the demanded payment was for.

But that’s not the case with Samaritan Hospital of Troy, New York and Northeast Health, Inc.

In its lawsuit, Northeast Health claims that the use of the Internet domain name on a page describing medical malpractice lawsuits filed against it has cost it money.

But in response to a legal demand to produce documents supporting that claim, the company’s lawyers say that it “seeks documents that are not relevant or material to this litigation.”

Another demand, for records documenting their claimed loss as a result of the use of a logo, was also denied, on the flimsy ground that the term ‘actual monetary loss’ was not defined.

In a document in which whole paragraphs were clearly cut and pasted in, they repeatedly claim that the demand is “…overly broad and is unduly burdensome.”  That phrase appears 14 times.  Each of 15 demands brought only an objection; they produced not a single sheet of paper.

Hey, it’s their lawsuit – the one they filed without any prior notice.   They’re the ones demanding damages.

But now it’s apparent that the real aim of this suit is an attempt to stifle free speech and the dissemination of information that is clearly in the public interest.

For years, the area’s corrupted newspapers have kept this information off their pages, while running a constant stream of advertising for Northeast Health and other providers.  Now that it’s being published elsewhere, this hospital operator is using the courts to try to shut down an independent source of publicly available allegations against it.

So now a judge will be asked to order Northeast Health to produce documents supporting its demand for damages, or to toss this claim out of court and penalize the company for its malicious lawsuit.

Meanwhile, stories about malpractice lawsuits will continue to be added to a web page.  Even an injunction stopping the use of the web name – unlikely to be granted and even less likely to be upheld on appeal, but which Northeast Health also wants – will not end the availability of information about claims of deaths and injuries alleged to have been caused by an organization that’s obsessed with its public image, but so opposed to accountability and transparency.

Twitter: @answersforlisa