HCA fights CNN's subpoena in defamation suit

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare is refusing to comply with an "over-broad subpoena" issued by CNN seeking information on a former company executive, according to the Nashville Post.

CNN is seeking the information in a defamation lawsuit brought against the news network by David Carbone, the former CEO of St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., which is part of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare. Mr. Carbone worked at HCA prior to leading St. Mary's Medical Center, according to the report.

The lawsuit alleges CNN ran a defamatory report about Mr. Carbone in 2015 that resulted in him losing his job. The story, "Secret deaths: CNN finds high surgical death rate for children at a Florida hospital," allegedly misrepresented St. Mary's Medical Center's mortality rate for pediatric open-heart surgeries. After the report ran, public backlash forced the hospital to shut down its pediatric cardiothoracic surgery program. Mr. Carbone resigned as CEO of St. Mary's Medical Center and filed the lawsuit after the program closed.

HCA is not a party to the defamation lawsuit, but CNN is requesting records related to Mr. Carbone's time with the company. HCA is asking the court for a protective order to avoid the cost of complying with the request.

"Despite months of negotiations, CNN takes the position that it is HCA's burden to shoulder the costs of compliance with its over-broad subpoena," HCA lawyers wrote in a court memo, according to the Nashville Post. "HCA has respectfully moved the court for the protection the law affords subpoenaed third parties who find themselves in a position neither deserved nor justifiable."

Access the full Nashville Post article here.

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