Healthcare Group secures dismissal of RICO claim for a healthcare system client

Jul 30, 2014 | News

Member Stuart T. O’Neal, III and Associate Sasha E. Miller of the Healthcare and Long-Term Care Group obtained a dismissal for a healthcare system client in a claim brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The plaintiff, a former patient, filed amended complaints of conspiracy and later RICO against our client and four other defendants after not entering a settlement from an initial claim made several years prior. In the initial complaint, the plaintiff alleged causes of action for wrongful death, a survival claim, a bodily injury claim and negligent infliction of emotional distress after she gave birth to a stillborn baby.

In August 2013, the plaintiff filed her first amended complaint in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County, alleging that a conspiracy between the named defendants in her first amended complaint led to a reduction in the amount of her 2009 settlement and a delay in receiving that settlement. The plaintiff further alleged that in 2004, two of the named defendants had formed a partnership with the hospital where she had given birth, with the intent of maximizing profits by allegedly minimizing expenses and evading claims for medical malpractice. The plaintiff also alleged that the named defendants had then conspired to devalue her settlement, altered documents, tampered with witnesses, and arranged for a specific judge to take over the case. The case was later moved to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In June 2014, Judge Petrese B. Tucker, C.J. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed all claims with prejudice, stating the plaintiff lacked standing, and her allegations of conspiracy were little more than an attempt to improperly re-litigate her medical malpractice claim.

Note: The results obtained in a particular case are heavily dependent on the facts and the law specific to that case.