On Wednesday, August 22, 2012, the New York State Department of Health (“DOH”) agreed to pay the owners of the Beechwood Nursing Home, located in Rochester, New York, $25 million dollars to settle litigation in which a federal jury had already determined that DOH officials had illegally revoked the operating license of the facility in 1999 in a retaliation against its owners, resulting in Beechwood’s closure. The jury was scheduled to decide how much to award in damages when the parties reached a settlement.
The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle filed this report on the settlement. According to that article, the presentation of provocative e-mails, written by DOH officials in the wake of Beechwood’s closure, was a key point in the case. Jurors in the case “pointed to the emails as the proof they needed of the state’s malice.” Although Beechwood’s owners sued multiple DOH officials at the outset of the litigation in 2002, five were eventually found liable for the illegal revocation of the operating license: current Health Department officials Susan Baker and Cynthia Francis, and former officials Laura Leeds, Sanford Rubin, and Sharon Carlo. These individuals will not be personally liable for the $25 million settlement; New York State will pay the award.