The pending sale of Hardin Memorial Health to Baptist Healthcare Systems has hit another snag.
Dr. Larry Hall, a retired physician and former chief medical officer of HMH, filed a Petition for Rehearing last week with the Kentucky Court of Appeals, which rendered a 3-0 decision in September agreeing the May 2018 sale was valid.
The Court of Appeals concurred with an Oct. 4, 2018, decision by Hardin Circuit Judge Kelly Easton finding Hardin County followed the law in negotiating the $361.4 million sale of HMH assets to its management partner of more than 20 years.
According to the 11-page Court of Appeals ruling, the challenge filed by Hall “lacked standing” to stop the pending sale of the property and he “failed to comply with the procedural requirements underlying an action to enforce provisions” of the state’s Open Meetings Act.
The Court of Appeals announced its decision Sept. 20.
Hall filed the Petition for Rehearing on Oct. 8. According to the document, the petition was brought on the grounds “that the court has misconceived the issues presented on the appeal or the law applicable thereto.”
Hall’s attorney, James T. Kelley, said they did not ask in their brief for any injunction ordering the county to do anything. They asked for the sale of the county-owned hospital to be set aside as being in violation of KRS 67.0802(3), KRS 67.080 and KRS 45A.365.
“We never asked for any injunction in our brief to the Court of Appeals. We asked for the Court of Appeals to make a decision on whether or not Fiscal Court violated the law in the matter in which they sold property to Baptist Health,” he said.
The petition also addressed the Open Meetings Act, stating the appellant (Hall) recognized the statutory process was not followed, but under KRS 61.848(5) argued the lower court abused its discretion by not setting aside the sale for violations of the act.
“Wherefore the appellant asks for a rehearing for the Court to address these issues that were raised on the appeal but were not decided in this Court’s opinion,” the petition stated.
Kelley said they are asking for a new hearing and “for them to decide on the issues decided in the brief and not some issue that was not argued to the Court of Appeals.”
According to Kelley, the appellee (Hardin County) has 20 days from the date he filed the Petition for Rehearing to form a response. He said it then will be taken to the Court of Appeals for them to make a decision to give another hearing or re-affirm its decision.
County Attorney Jenny Oldham said the petition process most likely will take four months or so.
“Significantly, it will delay things,” she said.