Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Cochran, Morris back government stance on Cox lawsuit

Two former CoxHealth employees whose wrongful dismissal lawsuit has been delayed while the federal government investigates Cox have agreed to the government's request to keep their lawsuit on hold while a second grand jury is impaneled.
In documents filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Roger Cochran and Dennis Morris said:

The representations the Government makes to the Court in its latest filing alone are sufficient in plaintiffsÂ’ eyes to support a continued stay. Based on these representations, and as plaintiffs set forth in their Suggestions in Support of their Motion to Dissolve the Stay, plaintiffstherefore wholeheartedlyy support a continued stay.

The most important thing, Cochran and Morris indicated, was that the investigation into possible wrongdoing by Cox officials continues:

Plaintiffs have told the Court and the U.S. Attorney in filings that they too consider the criminal investigation paramount to their civil litigation because of the overwhelming public policy in favor of preventing Medicare fraud. Plaintiffs will continue to cooperate with the Government and promptly respond to all requests made of them by the U.S. AttorneyÂ’s office or any other governmental entity."

In a recent filing, the government said it did not oppose any efforts by Cochran and Morris to take depositions related to their firing, when those interviews did not concern the possible Medicare fraud. In court documents, Cox officials have protested Cochran and Morris being allowed to take any depositions. In today's filing, the plaintiffs addressed that point:

Cox does not argue that it would be somehow prejudicial to Cox for plaintiffs to obtain the investigatory files or depose certain witnesses who allegedly complained about plaintiffs. All Cox does is cry that it is “unfair” for plaintiffs to get something if it does not also get something!

The federal investigation was first revealed in the June 8, 2005, Turner Report.
More about the Cox filings in the case can be found in this Springfield News-Leader article.

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