Banducci Woodard Schwartzman announces that district court delivers big setback for St. Al's in $52 million lawsuit
BOISE, Idaho, May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- An Ada County judge has denied a motion for a new trial made by St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, the losing defendant in a $52 million lawsuit by MRI Associates. In an order issued late last week, Fourth Judicial District Judge Mike Wetherell also rejected the hospital's request for judgment in their favor notwithstanding the jury's verdict against it.
The order is the latest in a landmark legal battle between the two parties that began in 2004. Two separate juries have found St. Alphonsus liable for establishing and supporting a competitor of MRI Associates while still a partner in MRI Associates and interfering with the relationships between MRI Associates and the physicians who had previously referred their patients to MRI Associates for magnetic-resonance-imaging scans.
Last October, a 12-person jury in Ada County unanimously found in favor of MRI Associates on all its claims against St. Alphonsus. They awarded the plaintiff $52 million in damages. In 2007, the jury in the first trial awarded MRI Associates $63.5 million in damages, but this amount was reduced to $36 million and the case was overturned by the Idaho Supreme Court in 2009 and sent back for retrial.
According to the plaintiffs' attorneys, the district court's decision is a major setback for the hospital. "It's a big loss for St. Al's," says Wade Woodard, a principal at Banducci Woodard Schwartzman PLLC, who with his partner, Tom Banducci, represented MRI Associates at both trials. "The judge confirmed MRI Associates proved its damages, that their damages were conservative, and that St. Al's legal nitpicks about the latest jury trial were insignificant compared to the overwhelming evidence against St. Al's."
The lawsuit continues to be a David-versus-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. In similar fashion, the case pits BWS Law Group, a Boise-based litigation law firm with seven attorneys, against one of the world's largest practices, Jones Day, which boasts more than 2,500 attorneys in at least 35 offices in 17 countries around the globe.
Woodard says last week's ruling leaves St. Alphonsus with two choices: settle out of court with his client or file an appeal with the state supreme court -- "their court of last resort." He believes St. Alphonsus is unlikely to settle, and he says the hospital has until June 6 to appeal.
MRI Associates operates the MRI Center of Idaho examination facilities in Boise, Nampa and Caldwell, as well as Ontario, Ore. Founded in 1985 as a collaborative partnership among a group of hospitals, progressive physicians and radiologists, the group also operates its MRI Mobile fleet that brings state-of-the-art magnetic-resonance technology to medical centers throughout the Northwest that otherwise might not be able to offer such high-quality MR imaging. Visit www.mricenterofidaho.com for more information.
Banducci Woodard Schwartzman PLLC is a commercial litigation law firm founded in Boise in 2007. BWS has extensive experience managing and trying complex civil cases in the State of Idaho, the Pacific Northwest and throughout the United States, and its attorneys are licensed to practice in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Texas and the District of Columbia. Visit www.bwslawgroup.com for more information.
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