Judge dis­misses Grady law­suit against county

The Covington News - - Front page - AM­BER PITTMAN apittman@cov­news.com

A law­suit filed against New­ton County by Grady Health­care Sys­tems of At­lanta seek­ing more than $87,000 for in med­i­cal cost re­im­burse­ment was dis­missed by a judge July 27, be­cause the hospi­tal failed to pro­vide proper notice to the county.

New­ton County Su­pe­rior Court Judge Ken Wynne ruled against Grady’s re­quest for $87,356.89, which was the value of the treat­ment ren­dered by Grady Health­care to Johnny Work­man, a man ar­rested in New­ton County in 2009 for ve­hic­u­lar homi­cide and DUI. Ac­cord­ing to pa­per­work filed in the New­ton County Clerk of Court’s of­fice, Wynne said the hospi­tal failed to meet pro­ce­dural re­quire­ments set forth by law.

When deputies from the New­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice orig­i­nally turned up at the scene of the ac­ci­dent in 2009, they trans­ported Work­man to Grady Memo­rial Hospi­tal for treat­ment of his in­juries.

Sev­eral days af­ter be­ing re­leased from the hospi­tal, Work­man was then booked into the New­ton County De­ten­tion Cen­ter.

While Grady ar­gued that Work­man was in the cus­tody of New­ton County at the time, which would mean the county was re­spon­si­ble for his med­i­cal bills un­der law, the county main­tained that Work­man had yet to be ar­rested, so any bills ac­crued for med­i­cal treat­ment would go to him, not New­ton County.

How­ever, none of that mat­tered in the end, since Wynne ruled the hospi­tal failed to meet the pro­ce­dure re­quired by law. Ge­or­gia law states that a claim against a county will be barred un­less pre­sented in writ­ing within 12 months. The claim must also in­clude the na­ture of and the amount of dam­ages claimed. Since Grady did not give notice of the claim for more than a year af­ter the ren­der­ing of ser­vices, its claim was dis­missed.

As for Work­man, he pleaded guilty in Fe­bru­ary 2010 and was sen­tenced to 15 years in prison, with the first 10 years to be served be­fore be­ing el­i­gi­ble for pa­role. He is cur­rently in River­bend Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity in Milledgeville.

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