Charles Cullen was the infamous serial killer-nurse who from 1993 to 2003 admitted to killing 29 patients in various hospitals in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. As a result of that case, a well-known personal injury law firm from Allentown brought an action against St. Luke’s Hospital of Lehigh Valley, a facility where Charles Cullen had worked. Their suit alleged that the hospital was responsible for the deaths of two patients, whose heirs were represented by the firm of Cohen and Feely.
Although Cullen did not name the two decedents as among the patients he had killed while a nurse at St. Luke’s, the firm nonetheless obtained certificates of merit from Dr. John Shane, who was also named in the suit along with the executors of the decedents’ estates. The complaint of St. Luke’s alleged that Dr. Shane had “blatantly ignored” the evidence and signed the certificates under the direction of the attorneys from Cohen and Feely.
The lawsuits were initiated in 2004 and were dismissed in county court, a decision upheld on appeal in 2010 in the State Superior Court.
St. Lukes contends it spent $228,116 defending one case, and $335,995 in defending the other. It wants its attorney fees and costs reimbursed and punitive damages assessed against the various defendants. In cases that a court determines are frivolous, a prevailing defendant can bring such actions to recover its out-of-pocket expenses.