A motion has been filed in a US District Court that lists 11 past and present MPs who support the dismissal of the Bermuda Government’s case against Lahey Clinic.
The brief, submitted on Monday in the Massachusetts District Court, names former Premiers Alex Scott and Dr Ewart Brown, Progressive Labour Party (PLP) Leader David Burt, Zane DeSilva, Michael Scott, Kim Wilson, Walter Roban, Wayne Furbert, Kim Swan, and Independent MPs Shawn Crockwell and Mark Pettingill.
Together they are listed as parties not directly involved in the case but in a position to advise the court, commonly referred to in legal terms as amici curiae.
It is the latest move by Lahey Clinic against the lawsuit filed by the Bermuda Government in February. That lawsuit claims the US medical facility conspired with Dr Brown in a profit making scheme “at the expense of the Government and the people of Bermuda”.
Lead counsel for the defence stated: “This is a case of great importance in Bermuda because the lawsuit targets a major healthcare provider in the country and a former influential leader.”
It was noted that the 11 MPs are “uniquely situated” to offer their input in the “social, historical and political context” because some of them served in government positions from 1998 to 2010 – “the relevant period in terms of the relationship between Lahey, Dr Brown and his clinics”.
It was also stated that “the plaintiff’s complaint is time-barred and that the lawsuit plainly politically motivated”.
Lahey’s legal team said: “The reason for the plaintiff’s timing, instead, is that it is election season in Bermuda and the One Bermuda Alliance – currently in control of the government – is up for re-election and falling behind in the polls.”
The motion also argues that the case falls “outside the statute of limitations”. On that note they said: “The Attorney General of Bermuda’s decision to bring this meritless lawsuit in the United States seven years after any relevant conduct is politically driven. With the general election in Bermuda scheduled to be called by March 2018 and held by May 2018, the Attorney General brought this high-profile suit in a foreign court and has promoted it in Bermuda and elsewhere through the use of a hired public relations firm.
“This suit targeted at a hospital that has provided much needed healthcare expertise in the country since the late 1990s, and implicating Dr Brown, a former Premier from a competing political party, is plainly politically inspired. It is an overreaching and inappropriate effort to introduce extraterritorial statutes, like the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and RICO, into local political disagreements in order to influence what is expected to be a hotly-contested Bermudian general election.
“Beyond the four corners of this particular lawsuit and beyond Bermuda, the Amici also have a global and diplomatic interest in ensuring that the United States’ courts are not improperly interjected into foreign and localized political disputes. Specifically, newly-elected government members, whether it be in Bermuda or elsewhere, should not have the ability to manipulate the civil RICO statute of limitations in order to attack conduct outside of the statute of limitations by claiming that the widely-known conduct is new to them personally.”
The case, filed by Attorney General Trevor Moniz continues.