Bingham Memorial Hospital Files Lawsuit

Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:51am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

  BLACKFOOT, ID, Nov 27 (Marketwire) -- 
Bingham Memorial Hospital today announced that the law firm, Holland &
Hart, acting on its behalf, has filed suit to compel the release of
public records from Mr. Lee Hammett, Bingham County, and other county
agencies and county officials. The documents Bingham Memorial seeks
relate to an investigation and related actions by Planning & Zoning
Commission Chair, Lee Hammett and others on behalf of the Bingham County
Commissioners earlier this year.

    The Hospital first made a public records request several months ago.
While Bingham County did release a number of emails from County
Commissioner Ladd Carter and others in response to the public records
request, Mr. Hammett's documents were not produced. 

    As the Hospital understands the current situation, Bingham County and
Hammett are refusing to produce the Hammett documents based on the
county's current official position that Hammett was technically never
authorized in a meeting which complied with Idaho's public meetings laws
to act on behalf of the county. The Hospital believes that the county and
Hammett are not properly withholding the information and seeks a judicial
resolution to the impasse. 

    Dr. Clark Allen, member of the Board of Directors for Bingham Memorial
Hospital, speaking on behalf of Board said, "We were surprised and
disappointed that the request for records kept by Mr. Lee Hammett is
being denied by the county based on its current position that Mr. Hammett
was acting solely as a private individual when he took the actions that
we believe wrongly damaged the Hospital's reputation and caused it to
suffer significant economic damages. At the time the relevant events were
occurring, Hammett and Commissioner Ladd Carter indicated that Hammett
was acting on behalf of the county. 

    Moreover, the documents and emails that the Hospital has obtained to date
reflect that Hammett was communicating, coordinating, and meeting with
county officials. It is troubling that it was only after the Hospital's
public records request was made that the county began distancing itself
from Hammett, claiming he was not acting under its authority.

    Over the last several months, the Hospital has cooperated with all proper
requests from officials for information, convened an independent
evaluation of concerns Hammett claimed to be investigating to ensure an
objective survey of hospital procedures and processes and reported the
results of that review to the public. It is truly disappointing that Mr.
Hammett, who, to the Hospital's knowledge, has always contended that he
was acting on behalf of the county, has not produced his documents in
response to a proper public records request. 

    As the Board of Directors, we are disappointed that this course of action
was necessary as we depend on our public officials to be transparent. It
is our hope this suit will yield the information requested and we will be
able to achieve some understanding of the elements of the investigation
that caused so much needless harm to Bingham Memorial Hospital." 

    The lawsuit was filed yesterday with the Bingham County Court. 

    About Bingham Memorial Hospital 

    Bingham Memorial Hospital is a 501(c)3 non-profit critical access
hospital located in Blackfoot, Idaho. Bingham Memorial Hospital is
committed to the pursuit of excellence in our endeavor to provide a
continuum of quality, compassionate, healthcare services for residents
and visitors to east Idaho, in the most efficient and cost effective
manner possible. 

    

Media Contacts
Jennifer Webb
Coltrin & Associates (for Bingham Memorial Hospital)
212-221-1616 ext. 102
Jennifer_webb@coltrin.com 

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