41st District House Representative John Mark Windle is being sued by the CEO of Rennova Health Systems.
Seamus Lagan is seeking $100,000 in damages after Windle called him an “Irish gangster” and a “thief” through media outlets following the closure of Jamestown Regional Medical Center (JRMC).
Windle said Tuesday the lawsuit won’t prevent him from fighting for Fentress County residents who are left without a hospital.
“The people of Fentress County and rural Tennessee deserve a well-run hospital filled with great doctors and nurses that provide world-class healthcare,” Windle said. “We’ve had that in Fentress County for 60 years and I’m not going to stop fighting for that… People don’t like it when you speak truth to power.”
Windle’s original comments came shortly after Rennova temporarily closed JRMC effective June 13. The closure came 24 hours after the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) cut the hospital from its program.
A Rennova spokesperson released a statement on Lagan’s behalf Tuesday regarding the lawsuit. According to the statement, Lagan is confident the court system will rule in his favor.
“Mr. Lagan regrets having to expend the time and resources associated with pursuing action against Mr. Windle,” the spokesperson wrote. “However, in light of Mr. Windle’s recent statements to the press regarding Mr. Lagan personally, and the negative impact Mr. Windle’s statements have had on Mr. Lagan’s reputation, Mr. Lagan was compelled to request appropriate relief from the court system. Mr. Lagan is confident that the district court will adjudicate his case justly and upon a fair and accurate review of the facts.”
Lagan said in the lawsuit that Windle continued to make “knowingly false statements” regarding Rennova and Lagan’s reputation.
Lagan also states that claims of him mismanaging JRMC are not true as he was never employed in a direct executive capacity at the hospital.
According to the lawsuit, Lagan has “suffered immense and immeasurable reputational harm” as a result of Windle’s comments. The lawsuit does note that Windle’s statements were not made to any government officials nor while he performed legislative duties.
Lagan is listed as a citizen of Northern Ireland and currently resides in the Bahamas.