Jury: St. Luke’s Hospital’s Lawsuit Against Patients’ Families Was Unfounded
A jury ruled that St. Luke’s Hospital’s lawsuit against the families of two patients who died when serial killer Charles Cullen worked at the facility was not necessary.
LEHIGH COUNTY, Pa. – A jury found that St. Luke’s University Hospital should not have sued the families of two patients who died at the medical facility when a serial killer worked at the facility.
Charles Cullen admitted to killing at least 29 people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
In 2004, family members of Regina Miller and Marilyn Hall filed malpractice lawsuits against St. Luke’s, claiming that Cullen murdered the women during his tenure at the hospital between 2000 and 2002. The two patients were not included in Cullen’s list of admitted victims, Lehigh Valley Live reports.
When the families’ suits were dismissed in 2009 and an appeals court upheld the ruling in 2010, St. Luke’s then sued the families and their attorneys under the Dragonetti Act, claiming that the families sued the hospital despite having no direct knowledge or evidence that Cullen played a role in the deaths.
The Dragonetti Act allows defendants to countersue following unsuccessful litigation if they can prove the original plaintiff’s suit was frivolous.
St. Luke’s sought to recover more than $560,000 in legal fees and at least $50,000 in punitive damages; however, the case was dismissed last fall. The families then sued St. Luke’s for the second time over the Dragonetti lawsuit.
A jury determined that St. Luke’s should not have sued the families; there were no financial orders as part of the verdict.
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