ALBANY — The CEO/President of Phoebe Putney Health System said Tuesday he was “shocked” by a recent post on the anti-Phoebe “Phoebe Factoids” website that stated the Supreme Court of Georgia had issued a ruling in a lawsuit Factoids administrator Will Geer had brought against the local health care system.
In a post that appeared on the Phoebe Factoids site briefly, then was taken down, Geer offered congratulations to Albany Mayor Bo Dorough, the attorney who is representing Geer in the Open Records case, for his victory in the suit. However, officials with the state Supreme Court said Monday there had been no ruling in that case.
In response to an Albany Herald email asking about the case, Jane Hanson, the public information officer for the Supreme Court of Georgia, replied, “Our court has not yet made a decision in this case.”
Phoebe Health System CEO Scott Steiner said that, when informed of the post, Phoebe attorneys contacted officials at the state Supreme Court and got the same answer Hansen gave The Herald.
“We were shocked to learn of a recent social media post claiming the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Phoebe had received a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court of Georgia,” Steiner said. “We had received no communication from the court indicating it had ruled on the limited issue under consideration. Therefore, our counsel reached out to the Clerk of the Supreme Court and was advised that the court had not, in fact, reached a decision.
“We are at a loss to explain the plaintiff’s public misrepresentation. The issue under consideration is not directly related to the underlying lawsuit, which will proceed once the Supreme Court has ruled.”
While no indication was given as to why the Factoids post had been removed from the site, its content left no room for speculation as to the outcome of the ruling on the Open Records issue.
The post read:
Mayor Bo Dorough has defeated Phoebe Putney in the Georgia Supreme Court on my behalf in the Open Records request to Phoebe Putney Health System.
While the Supreme Court ruling was never about the ultimate issue of providing the records requested, this ruling is a devastating blow to Phoebe Putney and (Dougherty County Commission chairman/attorney) Chris Cohilas’ law firm of Watson Spence. The Supreme Court overturns the Court of Appeals and remands the case back to Dougherty County trial court. It appears that Phoebe shall be responsible for payment of Mr. Dorough’s attorney fees.
The Supreme Court ruling removes many precarious legal obstacles and makes the defense by Phoebe Putney extremely difficult, in my opinion. Additional recent Georgia Supreme Court law has set the standard for providing such Open Records requests, and Phoebe knows this. They do not want to be back at the Supreme Court arguing an unfavorable fact pattern or case law.
Congratulations, Mayor Dorough. You are an excellent attorney.
Contacted Monday afternoon, Dorough said he did not talk about specifics of his clients’ cases.
“If you need to print anything from me on this, it’s that I argued the case (before the court) and submitted a supplemental brief as requested,” Dorough said. “I suggest you talk with Will about (the post) because I don’t really know anything about it.”
A message left with Geer seeking comment had not been returned by The Herald’s press time.