A law firm representing the University of Louisville in its ongoing dispute with the eight neurosurgeons who joined the Norton Neurological Institute sent a letter to Norton lawyers yesterday alleging that Dr. Christopher Shields and his team may have broken the law by negotiating their deal with Norton.
They’re demanding that the surgeons negotiate a new deal to extend the surgeons’ service to U of L while the school works to recruit replacements.
Apparently it’s much more time-consuming to recruit high-paid surgeons than basketball coaches.
The letter, from Boehl, Stopher and Graves attorneys Edward Stopher and Kent Wicker, claims that the May 12 date the surgeons agreed to continue their work at U of L was insufficient time to recruit replacements, because it “may take months, not weeks, to recruit and hire these new physicians.”
The five-page letter addresses Shields’ involvement with Norton, claiming that Shields broke state laws by negotiating with Norton. From the letter:
By secretly assisting in the organization and development of the Norton Neuroscience Institute for Norton Health Care and soliciting other members of his practice group to join the effort, he may very well have breached his fiduciary duty.
The letter charges that Norton interfered with the contractual relationship between the doctors and U of L, saying the surgeons collectively agreed to work more closely with U of L in 2008 in exchange for $1 million per year through 2010. But it claims that six months after signing the deal, the surgeons signed their deal for full-time employment with Norton.
If the surgeons don’t agree to continue their work at U of L beyond May 12, U of L officials fear it could put the school is “serious jeopardy” and result in trauma patients being diverted to hospitals in other states.