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Posts tagged: St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center

Idaho justices order hospital to pay $52M in lawsuit

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision Tuesday ordering a Boise hospital to pay more than $52 million for violating a contract it had with an MRI company. The decision is the latest development in St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center's lawsuit, involving one of the largest awards to come out of Idaho district courts.

The hospital had appealed the multimillion-dollar verdict returned in 2011. MRI Associates, which operates MRI Center of Idaho and MRI Mobile, first partnered with St. Alphonsus in 1985 in an attempt to make magnetic resonance imaging and other diagnostic tests more accessible. The partnership was supposed to last until 2015, but the hospital created its own outpatient MRI facility in 1998. Six years later, the hospital announced it was dissolving the partnership with MRI Associates to use its own facility. “In this case, the wrongful conduct was in the nature of usurping a partnership opportunity to open a facility in Meridian, which then competed against MRI Mobile,” the justices wrote in the ruling.

Eventually, both sides filed suit. A jury awarded MRI Associates more than $63.5 million in 2007, saying it lost potential profits because of the breach in the contract. A judge later reduced the award to $36 million. Two years later, the Idaho Supreme Court sent the case back for a retrial, where a new jury awarded MRI Associates more than $52 million. “This case involved many years of litigation, including a prior favorable ruling by the Idaho Supreme Court,” hospital spokesman Josh Schlaich said in a prepared statement. “We respect the work of the court, but are disappointed with this ruling.” Meanwhile, the law firm representing MRI Associates released a statement praising the court's decision, touting it as a win in a “David-versus-Goliath legal battle” that pitted a small business against a multimillion-dollar medical center.

Ada County jury orders St. Al’s hospital to pay $52M in MRI firm dispute

St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center has been ordered to pay $52 million to an MRI company for violating a partnership agreement it had with the firm and forming a competing company, the Associated Press reports. The jury verdict, handed down Monday, is one of Idaho's biggest ever; earlier, another jury awarded MRI Associates $63.5 million in damages in 2007; a judge later reduced that award to $36 million, and in 2009 the Idaho Supreme Court sent it back for a new trial, which started Sept. 6 and lasted eight weeks. A St. Alphonsus spokeswoman said the hospital again plans to appeal; click below for a full report from the AP.

Wade Woodward, one of the attorneys with the Boise firm of Banducci Woodard Schwartzman, which represented MRI Associates, said, “Two separate juries have unanimously found that St. Al's acted badly by intentionally competing with its partners while it was in the partnership.” His firm characterized the case as a “David vs. Goliath legal battle, pitting a small business against an enterprise-level regional medical center with revenues of $450 million in 2009 and a parent company, Trinity Health, that boasted assets of more than $8 billion at the end of that year.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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