Steward Health Care must pay $10.2M to scientist who lost her lab

Steward Health Care must pay $10.2 million to a scientist who lost her lab after a series of actions taken by the Dallas-based hospital operator, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled April 28.

The ruling ends a yearslong legal dispute between Steward Health Care and Lynn Hlatky, PhD. 

Dr. Hlatky sued Steward Health Care in February 2014, alleging the company breached her employment contract and caused the destruction of her cancer research lab on the campus of Steward's St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Boston.

According to Dr. Hlatky's complaint, a year after signing an employment contract with Steward in 2012, the for-profit hospital operator transferred her lab to Genesys Research Institute, a nonprofit biotechnology firm in Boston that was facing serious financial issues. In 2014, Genesys closed Dr. Hlatky's lab and filed for bankruptcy. 

During the bankruptcy process, Dr. Hlatky's lab was liquidated, biologic research materials were destroyed and her equipment was sold.

Dr. Hlatky signed her employment contract "believing that it would assure her a degree of security and stability for her research samples, team and funding," the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling states. "The transition to Genesys proved disastrous for Hlatky's laboratory.

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