While we wait I just thought I would update this blog post with respect to where we are with regards to the University’s attempts to get the Dr. Kearney lawsuit dismissed, and then maybe just revisit some other stuff simply to keep the fires burning.
There appears to be a misconception by some out there with respect to this recusal of Judge Reynolds in the Dr. Kearney case. In the comment section of the previous post Glum appeared to infer that the recusal of Judge Reynolds in the University’s "3rd attempt" to get the case dismissed is some legal ploy by Dr. Kearney’s attorney to prolong this whole thing. In actuality, Judge Reynolds heard the entire University motion for dismissal of the case on Tuesday, March 20. Rather than rule on the motion at the end of oral arguments, “Judge Reynolds” announced that he had a conflict of interest because his wife worked at the Gill Heart Institute. In other words “he recused himself”. The plaintiff’s motion for his removal from the bench on this case is “mandated by Kentucky Statute”.
The case now has a new judge. The honorable Ernesto Scorsone has been assigned to the bench. Further court proceedings will be delayed until Judge Scorsone has familiarized himself with the case. It is perhaps no surprise that Judge Scorsone received both his bachelor’s degree and his law degree from the University of Kentucky (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernesto_Scorsone), but I suspect it is almost impossible to find a circuit court judge in Fayette County who isn’t in some way associated with the University. Having said that, Judge Scorsone’s resume does present him as a liberal thinker and a defender of civil rights, so I like his history with respect to what we are dealing with here.
With regard to the other stuff, I believe I included this in my earlier summary of the Dr. Kearney case, but thought this letter from Dr. Kearney’s attorney, Mr. Pafunda, to the Hospital attorney, Mr. Cliff Iler, might be worth revisiting. This letter, submitted by Dr. Kearney’s attorney Mr. Pafunda and delivered to the Hospital attorney Mr. Iler on November 3, 2014, was written in response to the University’s threat to ‘take the deal or we will destroy you’re your career’. This threat was made to Dr. Kearney by the University’s General Council, Mr. Thro, in the presence of both Mr. Iler and Mr. Pafunda. The letter nicely states the concerns that Dr. Kearney’s attorney had with respect to not only the treatment Dr. Kearney was receiving, but perhaps more importantly, the timing of this treatment and its relationship to the retaliation issues.
November 3, 2014
Mr. Clifton Iler Hospital Counsel
Re: Paul A. Kearney, MD, D.Sci, MS, FACS
Professor of Surgery
University of Kentucky College of Medicine
I write to advise that Dr. Kearney rejects your recent offer. I also write to advise that the offer merits no “in kind” reply. Rather, it is obvious that the most recent complaints regarding Dr. Kearney, upon which this “action” is grounded, not only lack basis in fact but constitute a contrived effort to maliciously document Dr. Kearney’s personnel file with allegations of wrongful conduct, unsupported by the University’s own investigation(s) for the sole purpose of removing Dr. Kearney (a senior member of the Faculty Council and Chairman of the Department of Surgery Practice Plan Committee) from his position in “retaliation” for his public disclosure of Dr. Karpf’s impropriety i.e. attempting to gain control of KMSF practice plan funding contrary to University regulations.
Also disturbing is the timing of the September 4th and 5th complaints, solicited and fabricated by the University, to cover its retaliation against Dr. Kearney, for publically disclosing Dr. Karpf’s purposeful disregard for University regulations in an effort to secure control of the KMSF funds.
The following is undisputed:
1. During a faculty council meeting Dr. Karpf threatened to terminate Dr. Kearney after he disclosed to the counsel Dr. Karpf’s lawless effort to misappropriate KMSF funds in direct violation of University regulations. The “threat” was made in the presence of the faculty council members and Bill Thro, University General Counsel.
2. Shortly thereafter a student is alleged to complain that Dr. Kearney included a discriminatory remark during a lecture. A review of the circumstance revealed that no other student complained. Rather, those in attendance rewarded Dr. Kearney’s lecture with a vigorous ovation at its conclusion. Review of the lecture recording confirmed that the “complaint” was unfounded. This current “action” is in part grounded on that “meritless” claim.
3. On September 5, 2014 a patient, James Wilson, complained about Dr. Kearney. The complaint did not involve patient care or treatment but rather Dr. Kearney’s abrasive remarks made in course of inserting a feeding tube in a severely injured hepatitis B and C positive young man when the patient attempted to bite a resident physician who was assisting Dr. Kearney. The patient was safely and successfully treated. This current action is in part grounded on that “meritless” claim.
4. Dr. Kearney by agreement was placed on administrative leave to permit an investigation of the James Wilson event to proceed. Dr. Kearney agreed to the temporary administrative leave to insure independence of the investigation and to protect the University from potential criticism from the patient that the findings might be influenced by Dr. Kearney’s presence in the department. The investigation is concluded. No disciplinary action or charge has followed.
5. A “few” days later Dr. Karpf contacted Greg Goodman and tells Mr. Goodman that Dr. Kearney struck a nurse. Dr. Kearney’s personnel file confirms that there was an allegation lodged at one time. However, that the University’s investigation determined the allegation was unfounded and that no disciplinary action followed. The more disturbing aspect of this event is Dr. Karpf’s conduct in sharing the contents of Dr. Kearney’s confidential personnel file with someone outside the University - “particularly” because the shared information was unsubstantiated.
6. The University’s recent effort to manufacture a “fictitious” paper trail comprised of solicited claims and allegations of improper behavior lacking factual validity is nothing more than a “veiled” effort by the University to cover its retaliation against Dr. Kearney because of his disclosure of Dr. Karpf’s attempt to assume control of KMSF funds in violation of University regulations.
In reply we demand that Dr. Kearney be immediately returned to work without change of job status, title or compensation, that his personnel file be purged of any record of false and misleading contents, and that the University be restrained from further action designed to damage, alter or impact Dr. Kearney’s employment relationship with the University and/or his reputation.
I post this letter because I think it presents some of the foundation material for Dr. Kearney’s retaliation claim as well as a valid basis for allowing these court proceedings to continue. Beyond what was covered in the letter we have also seen the many attempts by the University to either hinder the investigations into these matters (e.g. open records lawsuits, missing recordings of the MSEC trial, confiscation of Dr. Kearney’s personal items, monitoring of Dr. Kearney’s emails, banning Dr. Kearney from the University campus, etc.) as well as the clear denial of due process in administering this injustice (e.g. denial of representation in the MSEC trails, the use of KMSF employees in the conduction of the MSEC trials, the use of unsigned and possibly fabricated data in the development of this case against Dr. Kearney, etc.). Cumulatively these support the contention that the hospital and the University administration are willing to spend an exorbitant amount of time and money to discredit this highly respected trauma surgeon. Finally, keep in mind the justification for all of these expensive and extreme disciplinary actions taken by the University and hospital administrators is a claim of a behavior problem that they have not only "endorsed" but also "rewarded" for over 25 years. If this doesn’t give you pause to question the real motivations behind this vendetta, than I can only guess you either hate Dr. Kearney or you work for the administration.