Turks file suit against Somervell County Hospital District, Reynolds

Travis M. Smith -- @travis5mith tsmith@theglenrosereporter.com

The Somervell County Hospital District and Ray Reynolds, the district’s chief executive officer, have officially been notified of a pending lawsuit. According to official court documents, the lawsuit was filed by John E. Schulman of The Schulman Law Firm in Dallas on behalf of Dr. Albert J. and Shelley Turk on Aug. 6, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas – Waco Division.

The plaintiff’s claim that the hospital district and Reynolds, on his own and in his official capacity as CEO, violated their constitutional right to free speech, their right to due process, and violated the Texas Open Meetings Act.

In an official statement issued following a special session on Aug. 13, the Somervell County Hospital District acknowledged that it had received a formal notification from the Turks’ lawyer “after 5 p.m. on Aug. 7,” and that it had first become aware of the possible suit earlier the same morning after reading about it on an online media outlet.

“The suit alleges violations of the Turks’ constitutional rights and seeks damages from the Somervell County Hospital District,” the district said in its statement. “The hospital district’s attorneys have advised the district that the suit is without merit, and the district and Mr. Reynolds will respond accordingly.

“The entire staff at Glen Rose Medical Center is dedicated to providing the best possible care for the residents of the Glen Rose area and will continue to do so. Despite the allegations in his lawsuit, Dr. Turk continues to be affiliated with Glen Rose Medical Center and will continue to be treated respectfully by the district’s hard-working staff. Glen Rose Medical Center has received the Gold Seal of Accreditation from The Joint Commission, confirming the work of its dedicated staff to meeting a high standard in the hospital.”

After speaking with their lawyers, the Turks' issued their own written statement in response to the hospital district's. 

"We believe that our litigation presents an important principle of concern to the community. That is, when people bring up safety concerns to protect patients and other employees at our community hospital, they should not be retaliated against. Our lawsuit is based, to a very large extent, upon written official documents, videotape, and witness statements. The general statement made in the press release that our lawsuit is, "without merit" will prove to be incorrect."