Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging Cleveland Clinic's closure of 108-year-old hospital

Ayla Ellison (Twitter) - Print  | 

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a group of community activists in Lakewood, Ohio, against Cleveland Clinic over its closure of Lakewood Hospital in 2016.

After Cleveland Clinic announced plans in January 2015 to close 108-year-old Lakewood Hospital, five local residents sued Cleveland Clinic Foundation. The residents were seeking a court order requiring Cleveland Clinic to continue leasing Lakewood Hospital through 2026 instead of closing it and opening a family health center and emergency department in its place.

The plaintiffs also accused the city of wrongdoing, claiming the city failed to represent residents' best interests when officials reached an agreement with Cleveland Clinic in December 2015 to close Lakewood Hospital.

Judge John P. O'Donnell dismissed the lawsuit July 11, stating the plaintiffs didn't have the right to sue, as any harm caused by the closure of the hospital would be to the city as a whole and not to individual taxpayers. The judge also said it couldn't enforce the order the plaintiffs were seeking.

"Such an order would be impossible to enforce because it could never contain an unambiguous statement of what is, and is not, in the city's interest," Mr. O'Donnell wrote in the opinion, according to cleveland.com.

The plaintiffs plan to appeal the court's ruling.

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