Lahey lawsuit bill ‘could reach $4m’

  • House speech: Michael Scott (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The cost of the Bermuda Government’s lawsuit against American-based medical group Lahey could reach $4 million, a former attorney-general has warned.

Progressive Labour Party MP Michael Scott, a lawyer with legal practice Browne, Scott, told Parliament on Friday that costs had already topped $3 million.

He was speaking after Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, announced that the lawsuit, which alleged that Lahey conspired with Ewart Brown, a former premier, to defraud the island of millions of dollars in healthcare charges, had been dismissed by a United States judge.

Ms Simmons, who signalled the Government would not pursue the case any further, said that although the cost of the case had not been assessed, it had run up a bill of “well over $1 million”.

But Mr Scott said: “I have taken time to research and ask questions of my colleagues as to what we have paid to a law firm called Cooley LLP.”

He added that Trevor Moniz, then One Bermuda Alliance Attorney-General, approved more than $3 million for the Boston law firm.

Mr Scott said: “It is bound to reach $4 million. How much could we have done with $4 million?”

He added that the dismissal confirmed the view that the case was “a strategically and politically motivated suit aimed at harming black leadership in this country in general, and in particular aimed at harming the Progressive Labour Party pre the General Election”.

During Friday’s motion to adjourn, Moniz, the Shadow Attorney-General, was kicked out of the House of Assembly amid a row over the files connected to the case as the dismissal on technical grounds of the Government’s legal action against the Boston clinic in a US court dominated proceedings.

Zane DeSilva, a PLP backbencher, said the lawsuit was a “personal, racist vendetta against Dr Brown”.

He added that the OBA had an “endless pocket of money for witch-hunts” and that “today, we saw where a lot of that money went — down the drain”.

PLP backbencher Derrick Burgess said: “These guys really want to kill this man. That’s the objective of it. This country needs to leave Dr Ewart Brown alone. He’s done a lot for this country.”

Jamahl Simmons, economic development and tourism minister, added that the people of Bermuda had to pay for this “cockamamie revenge scheme”.

Shadow government reform minister Michael Dunkley, who was the Premier at the time the case was filed, said he would not “run from decisions or actions that were taken”.

He added: “As the Premier at the time, I’m willing to take all the flak from members on that side and the people of Bermuda for decisions we made.

“But, Mr Speaker, I can assure you, that we made decisions which at the time we thought in the best interest of moving this country forward.”

OBA MP Patricia Gordon-Pamplin added: “I take responsibility for actions for which I am responsible. Because I take responsibility, I don’t just read one excerpt from something and assume that it is the whole.

“If we get to a stage in which there is full disclosure, and that disclosure dictates something that would indicate that I have made a decision collectively with my colleagues which was wrong, I am woman enough to stand and say so.”

But David Burt, the Premier, said: “The former government could not find it within them to put the country’s interests ahead of their own narrow political self-interests.”

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