Cleveland Clinic hit with $400M lawsuit over Lakewood Hospital closure

A group of community activists in Lakewood, Ohio, have filed a lawsuit against Cleveland Clinic in an attempt to get the system to continue leasing Lakewood Hospital through 2026 instead of closing it and opening a family health center and emergency department in its place, according to a Crain's Cleveland Business report.

The lawsuit is pending in Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court and seeks damages in an amount no less than $400 million and includes claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud, among others.

In January, Lakewood Hospital Association, Lakewood Hospital Foundation and Cleveland Clinic announced plans to close the city-owned hospital. After the hospital is closed in 2016, the city will sell the land the hospital sits on to Cleveland Clinic and the Clinic will build a $34 million family health center and emergency department in its place, according to the report.

The community activists allege Cleveland Clinic took deliberate action to drive Lakewood Hospital into the ground so it could break its lease and convince city officials an inpatient hospital was not needed in Lakewood.

However, Cleveland Clinic denies those allegations. "Our commitment to the Lakewood community remains strong and we have continued to honor and follow the contract to operate the hospital for the City of Lakewood," Cleveland Clinic said in a statement provided to Crain's. "We hope this litigation does not compromise the thoughtful process that is underway, so Lakewood residents can receive high-quality, healthcare that meets their needs well into the future."

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