Hospital suit set for trial
By Bret Bradigan
With the decision by Superior
Court Judge Fred H. Bysshe Jr. to deny the Ojai Valley Community
Hospital's motion for summary judgment, a lawsuit against the
hospital will proceed to trial on Dec. 1.
That would make it one year since Dr. Thomas W. Bowman filed
the lawsuit against the hospital, alleging defamation of character
and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He seeks an
unspecified amount of money for general damages, punitive damages,
lost earnings and to recover the cost of the suit.
David Bender, the hospital's attorney, said the motion was dismissed
because the judge decided that there was a legitimate fact dispute
for a jury to decide. "We're very confident about the outcome
of our case in front of a jury," he said.
The issue before the judge, said Bender, was whether those statements,
made by the hospital's chief executive officer, Victoria Alexander,
were known to be false at the time they were made.
For his part, Dr. Bowman was also confident. "I'm very eager
to have the facts come out. I'm looking forward to the trial."
The hospital had sought to have the case dismissed because the
allegedly defamatory statements about Bowman had "absolute
immunity ... to any person who communicates information to any
hospital, hospital medical staff or peer review committee regarding
a physician's qualifications, fitness, character or insurability."
No attempts to settle the case before trial were scheduled, said
Bender. He expects to trial to last five to 10 days.
The Ojai Valley News
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