Health system wins suit against ex-employee
After a year-long battle, a health system has successfully emerged from litigation that was set in motion by a former employee.
Wyoming-based Metro Health said today Laura Staskiewicz has admitted misconduct and agreed to a $1-million judgment in favor of Metro Health Hospital.
The Kent County Circuit Court approved the judgment against her.
Lawsuit and countersuit
In April 2015, Staskiewicz filed a lawsuit accusing Metro Health and President and CEO Michael Faas of illegal and unethical conduct in connection with the potential sale of Metro Health to Community Health Systems, an out-of-state for-profit company.
Metro Health said it “defended itself and Faas aggressively,” and Staskiewicz eventually “gave up and voluntarily dismissed” all of her allegations against the organization and Faas.
Metro Health said it did not pay any money to Staskiewicz to give up her claims.
Afterward, Metro Health countersued Staskiewicz for damages caused by her release of “confidential and misleading information” about the organization.
Faas said while the ordeal was painful to go through, he's glad he and the hospital had their day in court and prevailed.
“A lot of time, a lot of effort and, unfortunately, a lot of money was spent to defend ourselves, but I really appreciate the board, medical staff and leadership team not letting someone who makes these frivolous claims and tries to go public and embarrass us get away with it,” he said.
Faas acknowledged that oftentimes, organizations will settle claims like this in an effort to save themselves time and money, but he believes it’s important to stand up to false claims.
“You want to make sure that people understand this is not okay, and we aren’t going to let people do this randomly, and I think more corporations need to take this perspective,” he said. “If you decide you are going to do this, you are going to pay the price for it. You can’t just make things up and attack individuals and organizations just because you don’t agree with something.”
He also said Staskiewicz’s very public approach in her initial lawsuit required an equally public defense.
“The best way to do this is to defend it and then at the end, come out publicly when you are victorious,” he said.
Faas said he's glad to move forward and that he and the hospital can now resume their full attention on the future.
Metro Health said the Staskiewicz judgment is the second seven-figure judgment awarded to Metro Health against former employees in the last several years.
Both million-dollar judgments awarded Metro Health damages incurred in defending itself from false claims.