Last year, MODERN HEALTHCARE reported on a public controversy involving the management of Paulding (Ohio) County Hospital (Aug. 15, 1994, p. 20).
The next development in that dispute is expected to be the setting of trial schedules for two former administrators who sued the hospital in U.S. District Court in Toledo, Ohio, claiming they were wrongly fired.
Laris D. Keefer, who was chief executive officer from June 1, 1993, to July 31, 1994, was an employee of Brentwood, Tenn.-based Quorum Health Resources, which has a five-year contract to manage the rural hospital.
Keefer sued the hospital in August claiming it "made false, negative statements" in an effort to have him fired. Keefer also has sued Quorum.
William T. Herdman, whom Keefer recruited to be the hospital's human resources manager, also sued the hospital, claiming he was wrongfully fired by the hospital's board on July 8, 1994.
In their complaints, Keefer and Herdman claim they were dismissed in retaliation for firing two popular hospital employees who had violated Equal Employment Opportunity policies. The lawsuit did not specify which policies the employees allegedly violated. They each seek $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages, plus other costs.
The hospital has struck back with a $6 million counterclaim. It accuses both men of lying about Herdman's credentials and accuses Herdman of stealing hospital files.
Legal counsel for all sides declined to comment on the details of the cases.
Meanwhile, even more litigation is pending as eight citizens pursue their 13-month-old lawsuit against Quorum, the hospital, and Paulding County commissioners, who appoint the hospital's trustees (Nov. 14, 1994, p. 24).
The citizens are seeking to render void Quorum's management contract. The contract, worth more than $1 million over five years, expires in 1998. An evidentiary hearing in that case is scheduled for May, said David M. Goyings, one of the plaintiffs.