No settlement made in Natchez Regional lawsuit

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NATCHEZ — They met in court Tuesday, but Natchez Regional Medical Center and its former management company did not settle.

That means the $46 million lawsuit NRMC filed against Quorum Health Services of Brentwood, Tenn., in December 2009 is set to go to trial Nov. 30.

Tuesday, the two parties were in court for pre-trial motions and a scheduled settlement conference, but at the end of the day no settlement was reached.

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NRMC board attorney Walter Brown had previously said that no settlement was guaranteed from the conference Tuesday, characterizing such meetings as standard procedure in the lead up to trial.

“We met for several hours (Tuesday), but we did not reach any conclusion,” Brown said. “It could arise again, and if it does we will certainly be willing to talk about it, but at this point we are ready to go to trial.”

The settlement conference was in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge John Roper, and after its conclusion Quorum was instructed — along with its insurance company — to contact the court by Nov. 2 about the potential of settlement.

In the minute entry filed following Tuesday’s proceedings, another settlement conference was tentatively scheduled for Nov. 7, provided the court determines Quorum’s proposed settlement to be “viable.”

The lawsuit was filed in December 2009 with the allegation that Quorum and the two managers it had hired to run the hospital — former Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Wesselman and former Chief Financial Officer Michael Anderson — had mismanaged its affairs, resulting in the hospital’s February 2009 bankruptcy. One of the suits allegations is that the hospital’s financial situation was misrepresented until bankruptcy became inevitable.

Quorum managed the hospital from 1992 until 2008.