Pressure for claim against Lahey to be dropped

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  • Ewart Brown

    Ewart Brown

Eleven past and present members of the Bermuda legislature have declared their support for the Government’s claim against Lahey Clinic to be dismissed

A brief in support of the clinic’s motion for the wide-ranging civil suit to be dropped has been submitted in the Massachusetts District Court. A motion filed with the brief on Monday is in the names of former premiers Alex Scott and Ewart Brown, former United Bermuda Party leader Kim Swan, Progressive Labour Party leader David Burt and MPs Wayne Furbert, Michael Scott, Zane DeSilva, Kim Wilson and Walter Roban, as well as independent MPs Shawn Crockwell and Mark Pettingill, who are listed as amici curiae — parties not directly involved in the case but nonetheless in a position to advise the court.

“This is a case of great importance in Bermuda because the lawsuit targets a major healthcare provider in the country and a former influential leader,” the motion states.

“The amici have a shared interest in offering the court the social, historical and political context essential to a just assessment of the legal arguments offered both in support of and in opposition to the pending motion to dismiss.”

The Government filed its suit against Lahey on February 14, alleging that the hospital conspired with Dr Brown on a “wildly successful” and “unlawful” enterprise that profited both “at the expense of the Bermudian Government and people”.

The motion argues that the 11 are “uniquely situated” to offer their context, as some served in their government positions from 1998 to 2010, the relevant period for the relationship between Lahey, Dr Brown and his clinics.

The brief uses news articles to highlight the information concerning the Lahey-Brown relationship known to the public at the time, while also describing the island’s parliamentary system, the history of politics in Bermuda and the role of the Attorney-General.

“The amici’s view is that the plaintiff’s complaint is time-barred and that the lawsuit is plainly politically motivated,” the motion says.

The brief itself adds: “The reason for the plaintiff’s timing, instead, is that it is election season in Bermuda and the One Bermuda Alliance — currently in control of the government — is up for re-election and falling behind in the polls.”

The motion also notes that the arguments are relevant at the motion-to-dismiss stage because the information presented in the brief concerning the public knowledge of the Lahey-Brown relationship has bearing on whether the statute of limitations on plaintiff’s “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations” claim has expired.

The brief argues that Dr Brown’s longstanding relationship with the clinic puts the case outside the statute of limitations.

Additionally, the motion states that, while such briefs are not common at the motion-to-dismiss stage, “this is not a typical case”.

It adds: “In this case, a foreign government is suing a US healthcare provider in United States District Court with most of the conduct having occurred in Bermuda. The amici can shed light on the historical, social and political backdrop to the case and thereby assist the court in understanding the complaint’s allegations in context.”

• To read the brief and motion in full, click on the PDF files under “Related Media”

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