JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) — A motion has been filed to dismiss a lawsuit previously filed in April against Ballad Health and its volunteer board members.
That federal lawsuit, filed April 12, claims a conflict of interest and possible anti-trust law violation because certain members of the Ballad Health Board of Directors also sit on the Board of Trustees for ETSU.
The lawsuit singles out Philanthropist Scott Niswonger and Eastman Executive David Golden, who serve on both boards. The lawsuit specifically questions ETSU President Brian Noland’s role as both Ballad Board Member and head of the university, which runs ETSU Physicians.
Ballad Health issued a statement, which reads:
“Today, lawyers for Ballad Health filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against Ballad Health and its volunteer board members. Not only have Ballad Health’s board members acted with total integrity at all times, they are each owed our gratitude for the hundreds of hours they spend, without pay, committed to our community, our education and health care systems. The motion to dismiss clearly demonstrates that the claims made by the plaintiffs are without merit.”
Frank Santore, attorney for the plaintiffs, says Ballad’s motion was expected. He also told News Channel 11 he believes the health system violated “local rule 83,” a rule in federal district court that states neither a lawyer nor litigant can comment publicly on the merit of a case.
By adding this line “The motion to dismiss clearly demonstrates that the claims made by the plaintiffs are without merit” in their statement, lawyers for the Ballad board may have broken that rule, Santore claims.