Mercy says Cooper lawsuit ‘vague and ambiguous’

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 85 views 

Attorneys Mercy Fort Smith say a lawsuit from Fort Smith-based Cooper Clinic is to “vague and ambiguous” and will need a “more definite statement” before providing a response.

The attorneys with Fayetteville-based Kutak Rock also asked the court to dismiss the Cooper Clinic lawsuit filed Aug. 2.

In the 17-page complaint filed in Sebastian County Circuit Court, Cooper Clinic officials allege that Mercy and its parent company used their economic power to recruit 15 physicians away from Cooper and to the Mercy Clinic between Oct. 31, 2010 and Aug. 1, 2013. The Cooper lawsuit includes the St. Louis-based Sisters of Mercy of Health System as a defendant.

The physicians who left Cooper Clinic are (in order of departure): Ivelesse Dupree; Merle McClain; Tony Flippin; Douglas Buckley; John Smith; Garreth Carrick; Lane Wilson; David Hunton; Kurt Mehl; Donald Shows; Chris Coleman; Greg Pineau; Robert Nowlin; Jennifer Burks; and John Werner.

Cooper’s complaint also includes Drs. Burks, Nowlin, Shows and Werner as defendants.

Cooper’s lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages under six counts: Breach of Contract; Tortious Interference; Violation of Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act; Unjust Enrichment; Civil Conspiracy; and Breach of Contract-Compensation Reimbursement.

In a five-page response filed Wednesday (Sept. 4), the attorneys for Mercy said Arkansas law requires a plaintiff to

“Cooper’s claim for tortious interference, as pled, is vague and ambiguous, and until Cooper offers clarification regarding its allegations, the defendants cannot reasonably be required to frame a responsive pleading,” noted the Mercy response.

The motion to dismiss was also filed Thursday, with Mercy that it “generally and specifically denies all allegations in Cooper’s Complaint …”

Physicians sued by Cooper also responded in responses filed Wednesday. The physicians – represented by Mark Moll, with Jones, Jackson & Moll, and Barry Neal – asked the court to dismiss the Cooper lawsuit and require Cooper to pay for legal fees.

The Fayetteville law office of Tulsa-based Conner & Winters law firm is representing Cooper Clinic.

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