The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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March 12, 2014

Man seeks damages from medical facilities

CLINTON — A Clinton man is seeking damages from local health facilities and individuals for allegedly preventing him from doing his job.

In early February, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Anthony B. Schwendinger filed a civil lawsuit against Mercy Medical Center, Medical Associates, Gateway Surgery Center, Morrison Community Hospital, Mark Leding, Stephen Jewell and James Babeshoff. The petition charges these defendants with civil conspiracy to harm the plaintiff, tortious interference with a contract, tortious interference with a prospective business advantage, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and blacklisting. Schwendinger is requesting a jury trial to award compensatory damages, treble damages and other relief the court may deem just.

“As a result of defendants’ collective conduct, Schwendinger suffered, and continues to suffer, substantial damages for which defendants are liable,” stated the petition filed by Schwendinger and his attorneys.

Last week, attorneys for some of the defendants responded to the lawsuit with a motion to dismiss. This motion claims that Schwendinger’s lawsuit offers “insufficient facts for the court to reasonably infer an argument or understanding to accomplish unlawful means was reached between the defendants.” The lawyer for Medical Associates and Gateway Surgery Center argues that the lawsuit does not allege either of the facilities forced Pain Consultants to terminate its employment with Schwendinger, only request he not be assigned to them.

The motion to dismiss also said the plaintiff’s claim for defamation is legally insufficient. This motion continues that the plaintiff’s petition fails to offer specific defamatory statements in detail.

Schwendinger had served as a CRNA for Pain Consultants since February 2005, providing anesthesia services for the facilities named in the lawsuit, as well as other centers. The lawsuit alleges that Leding, Jewell and Babeshoff conspired together to get rid of Schwendinger, who the petition classifies as being loyal to Pain Consultants owner and president Dr. John Dooley. The lawsuit states that Schwendinger worked efficiently and without incident and never was a part of a malpractice claim or any disciplinary proceeding.

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