Federal Court rules on long-standing lawsuits against health care system

A recent ruling by a federal Court of Appeals may signal the close to a flurry of lawsuits that have cost county residents more than $1 million over the past decade.

The United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal in the MacArthur, et. al. vs San Juan County case on July 18, 2007. The case is nearly 10 years old and stems from a host of allegations against San Juan County and the San Juan Health Service District.

In a terse and strongly worded ruling, the Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal as “frivolous”. The full wording of the ruling can be found at the San Juan Record website at sjrnews.com. [Link]

The judges appear to have lost patience with the long and drawn out process involved in a stream of court motions in the case.

The ruling states, “The district court and two panels of this court have been forced to wade through a swamp of incoherent arguments in hope of accomplishing a merits review. All of this wasted effort could have been avoided if Plaintiffs’ counsel had followed the relevant rules of procedure.”

The judges ruled that despite the problems in the arguments, they would rule on the merits of the case. They write, “... in spite of numerous violations of the appellate rules, we understand enough about the Plaintiffs’ arguments to conclude that they are meritless. Accordingly, we decline to dismiss for failure to abide by the rules of appellate procedure.”

Then the Court of Appeals rules on the merits of each aspect of the appeal, determining in each case that the appeal was “frivolous”.
sjrnews@frontiernet.net

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