BMC Hospital LLC has sent Hudson Regional Hospital a cease and desist letter, claiming they were defamed in their latest fight related to the Bayonne Medical Center.
“Without retraction and cessation, BMC and Surgicore stand to be damaged to the tune of millions to tens of millions of dollars, and you and your client are now on notice of these falsities, and that we have been authorized to prepare a complaint against your clients due to their utter disregard for truth, willingness to hurl untruths indiscriminately, and clearly evident desire and maliciously focused intent to interfere with our clients’ existing business relations and prospective economic advantage,” James P. Flynn, counsel for BMC hospital, wrote today.
“You and your clients may expect all previous claims to be re-ignited along with new claims based on the new lies your clients have fired off. Any additional false public statements by your clients will only further inflame the situation and increase the damages caused by your clients.”
On Friday, HRH celebrated the fact that BMC Hospital had withdrawn a lawsuit against them and issued a lengthy press release throwing haymakers over other topics including their certificate of need application with the state Department of Health and their financial disclosures.
According to Flynn, these were among a number of false claims made against his client.
He writes that “documentary evidence” to prove BMC had $75 million in assets to acquire the Bayonne Medical Center was provided to HRH in June, July, October, and November of last year.
He also contends that the NJ DOH is still processing their certificate of need and that BMC has not participated in any improper physician recruitment, and as a result, a defamation lawsuit is likely.
“Because defamation is a likely claim, and that claim and/or defenses to such will likely involve questions of your clients’ negligence, intent, reckless disregard, and/or malice,4 and the advice and understanding under which your clients proceeded, such communications are not entitled to privilege and you and other of your clients’ counsel will likely be witnesses, so be guided accordingly,” Flynn said in the letter.
On Monday afternoon, HRH spokesman Ron Simoncini said counsel on their behalf has responded that they will not be issuing any sort of retraction, welcoming anything that would produce copies of their audited financial, certificate of need application, and the management agreement between CarePoint and BMC.
“Threatening to file suit is just another attempt to shut down dissent and dialogue around a matter of significant public interest in a regulatory environment. There is no clearer example of a SLAPP-suit, or ‘strategic lawsuit against public participation,’ which is another illegal device when related to public entities such as hospitals,” he added.
“HRH, which operates in compliance with DOH rules and is the owner of the hospital property that binds CarePoint Health to a lease, can afford complete transparency. CarePoint and BMC definitively are flaunting our lease and the rules of the Department of Health. This truth is an absolute defense of our report. If CarePoint and BMC bring a suit, they must tell the truth about themselves in ways that they never have.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a comment from Hudson Regional Hospital spokesman Ron Simoncini.