A UPMC executive vice president will have to be deposed after all.
Attorneys for the health care giant asked a Common Pleas court judge to quash a motion to have Elizabeth Concordia deposed by attorneys representing two of the victims from the March 8, 2012, shooting at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.
On Friday, Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr. denied the motion, and the deposition is expected to be conducted within 20 days.
According to plaintiffs Kathryn Leight and Jeremy Byers, Ms. Concordia visited them in their hospital rooms shortly after the incident and told them they didn't need to worry about anything and that their medical bills would be taken care of.
But last month, they received a letter from UPMC's worker's compensation arm saying that it planned to collect more than $200,000 in medical charges from each of them out of any settlement money they receive from a $500,000 renter‘s insurance policy held by the shooter, John Shick. That policy is expected to be divided among eight plaintiffs injured in the attack.
The plaintiffs believe that money shouldn’t be touched because of the promise they allege was made by Ms. Concordia.
However, in an affidavit filed with the court last week, she swore that such a conversation never occurred.
"On March 8, 2012, and thereafter, I did not visit with or speak to Kathryn Leight or Jeremy Byers while they were being treated at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside,“ the affidavit said. ”Accordingly, I did not make any statements or promises to Mrs. Leight or Mr. Byers related to their medical bills, benefits and wages."
Mark Homyak, the attorney representing Ms. Leight, said during the hearing Friday that the affidavit was "very carefully worded."
He also told the judge he has affidavits from Ms. Leight, her sister, and another from Mr. Byers saying the opposite of Ms. Concordia.
"The information you have is inconsistent with what's in her affidavit?" Judge Wettick asked Mr. Homyak.
"She swore to it that this meeting didn't take place," said UPMC attorney George P. Kachulis.
"They swore to something different," Judge Wettick responded. “That's why we take depositions.“
Paula Reed Ward: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter @PaulaReedWard.