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Tuomey Hospital Sues Nexsen Pruet for $117 Million

Tuomey Hospital sues Nexsen Pruet in a lawsuit alleging that legal malpractice caused destruction of prominent state, locally owned hospitals. Tuomey Healthcare of Sumter was filed Tuesday in state court in Sumter County. 

Tuomey Hospital sues Nexsen Pruet for $117 million in damages for legal havoc. The claim alleged the defendant was "misleading and reckless" with advice from Columbia-headquartered Nexsen Pruet, one of the state's largest law firms, according to legal papers.

Relying on Nexsen Pruet's advice caused the hospital in 2013 to lose a federal whistleblower lawsuit that resulted in a jury finding that the hospital had defrauded the federal government over false Medicare and other claims and owed $237.4 million in fines and damages, the lawsuit said.

In response, Nexsen Pruet board chairman Leighton Lord on Tuesday released this statement: "We have not yet seen the lawsuit filed today, but Nexsen Pruet is proud to have represented Tuomey for more than 20 years.

"Like other supporters of the hospital, we were very disappointed with results of the almost decade-long dispute with the federal government. We stood by Tuomey through that dispute and we are disappointed in, and disagree with, the recently filed lawsuit. Since that suit is pending, this is all we are able to say at this time," Lord said.

The lawsuit offers a rare glimpse into the big money world of South Carolina's doctors and hospitals, where hospitals advised by lawyers are increasingly entering into agreements with doctors' practices.

The lawsuit is also unusual in that lawyers are the ones who file lawsuits against doctors and hospitals for medical malpractice. But in this case, a hospital is suing a law firm for legal malpractice.

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