A change of venue has been granted in the city of Clinton’s legal malpractice claim against the attorney who represented them in the E-M-S billing lawsuit.
The trial will now be held in ScottCounty and is still scheduled for early October.
The city filed the claim against attorney Mike Walker who represented the city and helped reach a settlement in the Medicare/Medicaid billing lawsuit for the city to repay the federal government 4 and a half million dollars over ten years.
The whistleblower lawsuit against the city was filed by a former firefighter, Timothy Schultheis, claiming the department had improperly billed Medicare and Medicaid for ambulance services.
Walker sought the change of venue in the case to move it out of ClintonCounty,.
After motions were filed and a hearing held this week, Judge Nancy Tabor ruled the trial should be moved.
In her ruling, the judge wrote that media coverage has been extensive and continues. Judge Tabor continued that it’s clear from the tone and words used in the articles that the writers place blame on the defendant and it is clear from the on-line and internet comments and chatter that many in the general public believe so as well. The ruling continued that clearly the citizens are angry they are paying increased taxes and angry a portion of the increase is due the settlement where the defendant-Walker-represented the city. Tabor continued that it is also clear citizens would like someone else to have to pay the settlement.
Tabor’s conclusion stated –under the circumstances and pervasive negative news media coverage of the case and underlying case, that a fair and impartial jury panel would be difficult to seat in ClintonCounty. She also wrote that moving the trial less than 50 miles would not overly burden the plaintiff.
The records of the closed sessions of the council for legal strategy discussions with Walker are also the subject of a lawsuit filed by the A-C-L-U on behalf of a group of Clinton citizens trying make those records public and those records are also a part of the city’s legal action.