° empty

Parties in NRMC lawsuit to meet this week

NATCHEZ — Natchez Regional Medical Center’s $46 million lawsuit against its former management company will move forward this week as the Nov. 30 trial date approaches.

The parties — NRMC and Quorum Health Services of Brentwood, Tenn. — are scheduled to be in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi Tuesday for the trying of pre-trial motions.

A settlement conference is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

NRMC’s board attorney, Walter Brown, said many of the pre-trial motions that will be heard Tuesday concern what testimony will be heard at trial.

The settlement conference is scheduled but there is not a guarantee any kind of settlement will occur, Brown said, stating that scheduled settlement conferences are a regular part of pre-trial scheduling.

“Having that scheduled requires both parties to be present but it does not require anyone to propose anything,” he said.

“It is not an anticipation of anything happening, but the closer you get to trial, that is always an option if the sides decide they want to negotiate.”

If the matter is not settled, it will go to trial, with jury selection and opening statements on Nov. 30 and testimony beginning Dec. 3.

The hospital filed the lawsuit in December 2009, alleging that Quorum mismanaged the hospital, which resulted in NRMC’s February 2009 bankruptcy filing.

From 1992 until 2008, Quorum managed the financial and operational services at the hospital, and the suit alleges that the management company and the two managers it hired for the hospital — former Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Wesselman and former Chief Financial Officer Michael Anderson — misrepresented the hospital’s financial situation, which ultimately resulted in the bankruptcy.

NRMC made its final payment to creditors in the bankruptcy action in September.