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Lee Memorial Health System files suit against BP, citing loss of revenue
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Lee Memorial Health System files suit against BP, citing loss of revenue

Lee Memorial Health System has filed a lawsuit against BP and others involved in the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, claiming the loss of tourists led to a loss of revenue at the system's hospitals.

Mary Briggs, Lee Memorial Health System spokeswoman, said attorneys for the health system submitted a claim to BP's claims facility, with 90 days given to resolve the matter before a lawsuit was filed.

"BP has made no indication it intends to make an offer to resolve our claim," Briggs said.

Lee Memorial is now seeking a jury trial, according to the lawsuit. Briggs wouldn't comment on how much the hospital system claims to have lost, and the lawsuit states punitive damages would be determined at trial.

The lawsuit states "due to the released hydrocarbons and their contamination of the Gulf of Mexico, Plaintiff suffered a decrease in revenues. Accordingly, Plaintiff suffered economic damages, including, but not limited to, lost inpatient charges and fees, lost outpatient charges and fees, lost deductibles, lost Medicare revenues, lost Medicaid revenues, lost patient revenues, and other lost revenues," and goes on to state that LMHS will continue to suffer such losses in the future.

Lee Memorial had profits of $49.7 million in fiscal year 2008-09, $37.5 million in 2009-10 and $29 million in 2010-11. The fiscal year goes from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

Last week, Lee and Collier counties announced they had filed suit against BP, and, like Lee Memorial, also included Halliburton.
Other local plaintiffs include Sanibel, and two businesses: a now-shuttered events rental company and a clam farming operation.

The moves to file the suits were likely in response to the statute of limitations, which expired Saturday - the day when the rig exploded three years ago. Lee Memorial filed its lawsuit April 22, while Lee and Collier filed Friday.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced April 23 that she's seeking more than $5.4 billion in damages on behalf of the state. Bondi told reporters she offered to settle the state's claim but never got a response from BP. She filed the state's complaint Saturday.

BP Spokesman Scott Dean said BP had no comment on the hospital's lawsuit.

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