Judge rejects motion to prevent HRH CEO from speaking out against CarePoint, his ex-employer

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A judge ruled against a motion that sought to prevent Hudson Regional Hospital President/CEO Dr. Nizar Kifaieh from speaking out against his former employe, CarePoint Health, as the two entities continue to fight over who will take over the Bayonne Medical Center.

Hudson Regional Hospital President and CEO Dr. Nizar Kifaieh. Screenshot via Zoom.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“As the owner of the Bayonne Medical Center property whose lease governs who may provide services there, we will continue to be heard on this matter in every forum available – in the courts, before the Department of Health, and directly to the public,” HRH said in a statement.

“Today’s decision properly recognizes that free speech protects the public interest and reinforces our determination to not be intimidated into silence by the threat of litigation.”

The Secaucus-based facility also said this was the fourth consecutive motion in a row where either CarePoint or related entities lost in efforts to prevent them from speaking out against them.

The motion seeking temporary restraints sough to prevent Kifaieh, who worked in senior roles at CarePoint between about June 2012 and September 2017, from making disparaging remarks about them as part of their separation agreement.

However, Hudson County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Jablonsky denied the motion for a temporary restraining order, remanding the matter back to the law division (the motion was heard in the chancery division).

“I am thankful that justice prevailed and I will be able to continue to perform my duties in full, which includes participating in a robust dialogue about the state of healthcare in Hudson County,” Kifaieh said.

“Trying to silence my CEO insults every person in Hudson County. We are committed to this fight to rescue Bayonne Medical Center,” added HRH Chair Yan Moshe.

CarePoint declined to comment on Jablonski’s ruling.

HRH has been at odds with CarePoint and BMC Hospital LLC, another potential hospital operator in Bayonne, since July of last year, trading frequent punches along the way.

As both sides await movement from the New Jersey Department of Health, more trips to court appear likely due to other pending litigation and BMC sending HRH a cease and desist letter last month.

That move came after they felt HRH’s celebratory statements after BMC withdrew a lawsuit against them crossed several lines.