The Knuckleheads of the Day award
Today's winner is the Palm Beach County Health Care District and Dr. Jeffrey Davis, its former director. They get the award for the following.
WEST PALM BEACH — The Palm Beach County Health Care District was ordered on Tuesday to pay $692,000 in a verdict by a jury that found it had defamed a Lake Worth paramedic and conspired to hurt his fledgling business.Defamation is such an efficient use of Palm Beach County tax money. How much was spent on legal fees too for the lawsuit? Of course taxpayers are the ones who take the hit for this stupidity. The Palm Beach County Health Care District and Dr. Jeffrey Davis, its former director are today's Knuckleheads of the Day.
Coming at the conclusion of a roughly two-week trial, the verdict was a victory for Ted Young, who in 2000 found himself fighting false accusations perpetuated by district officials that he had tried to collect money for services his company, Professional Medical Education Inc., never performed.
The specious allegations gave him a black mark with an agency that certifies paramedic training schools, costing him a $110,000 contract with Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue, one with the city of Greenacres and others as well, said his attorney Isidro Garcia.
All because of, as Garcia put it, "petty bureaucratic abuse of power."
The jury found that Dr. Jeffrey Davis, then medical director of the tax-funded district, told Basic Trauma Life Support of Florida that Young had engaged in fraudulent billing practices.
The false report, which temporarily cost Young's company its all-important certification, was part of a conspiracy, jurors found. Further, they said, the report was defamatory.
Davis was trying to help friends who were competing with Young for contracts to provide training for paramedics and EMTs, Garcia said.
Neither attorneys for the Health Care District nor district officials were available for comment. Garcia said he expects them to appeal.
Because the district rejected a settlement offer that was far less than the amount the jury awarded, he said he will ask a judge to order the district to pay Young's attorney's fees.
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