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County Commission Votes to Settle with Erlanger

Posted on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm

The Grundy County Commission met Monday, April 7 at a special meeting concerning the Grundy County vs. Erlanger court case.

The case, a civil suit originally filed by Erlanger Medical Center, involved money owed the hospital and focused on two separate events.

In the first event, Grundy County Sheriff’s officers served a violation of probation warrant to an individual on June 12, 2012. While serving the warrant the individual charged at the officers with a knife and was shot.

The individual was transferred to Erlanger Medical Center where he incurred extensive medical bills totaling over $115,000. The county was billed for and paid these medical expenses.

In the second event, a pretrial detainee at the Grundy County Jail escaped and was missing from October 12, 2012 to October 29, 2012.

On October 12, 2012 the Sheriff’s office received a tip confirming the escapee’s whereabouts. Upon arriving at the location the suspect attempted to flee and fired shots at the officers. An officer returned fire and the escapee was shot. He was transported to Erlanger Medical Center and also incurred large medical bills in excess of $156,00, for which Grundy County was billed.

The county determined it should not pay the bill from second event and Erlanger Medical Center filed suit. In return, Grundy County filed to collect the money they had paid from the first event, recognizing they should not have been responsible for that individual’s medical bills.

Grundy County Attorney Bill Rieder and Grundy County Mayor Lonnie Cleek recently sat in mediation with Erlanger.

Rieder presented the resulting proposal, an offer to pay a final settlement of $24,000, to the commission Monday. This amount reflects credit given to the county for the first payment and other reductions agreed to during mediation.

The County Commission’s finance committee endorsed the proposal and it was put before the entire commission, which voted to approve the amount.

Rieder says that the $24,000 settlement is a good deal for the county. If a settlement had not been reached the case would have gone to court with the county facing over $120,000 in medical bills owed to Erlanger.

Rieder also stated that no officer misconduct was involved in either incident. “The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigated both incidents and all officers were cleared,” he said.