EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSDR. JOHN KING
from Eyewitness News Online
Ex-Putnam Doctor No Show For Civil Hearing; Case Moves Forward
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: John Tincher
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Feb. 17, 2012 10:08 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 17, 2012 10:20 PM EST
Winfield , Putnam County , West Virginia
A former Putnam County doctor hit with more than 100 medical malpractice lawsuits didn't show for a civil hearing on Friday.
It's the latest in a nearly decade long case against him that the judge wants resolved as soon as possible.
"The public opinion is that I am viewed as some sort of monster here," said Dr. John King by phone at the hearing. He said he was simply unable to make the 11 hour drive to Putnam County.
"I'm bankrupt. I have no job. I have no medical license. I have no employment et cetera, et cetera, et cetera," he explained to the court.
Doctor Richard Lindsay and his son, Richard Lindsay II of Tabor, Lindsay and Associates, are representing some 22 plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit against Dr. King. King racked up 124 medical malpractice lawsuits during the seven months he was an osteopathic surgeon at the former Putnam General Hospital.
"According to how we view it, he's taken every oppportunity to not make himself available to answer for the negligence that he committed, allegedly committed, prior to this hearing," explained Lindsay II.
Lindsay told Judge Phillip Stowers they sent several requests for an admission from Dr. King that he was negligent in the care of patients, and was responsible for their injuries, but King never responded. That prompted the judge to find him liable of that negligence, paving the way for potential damages to be awarded to the plaintiffs.
"These people have a right to have their final day in court," said Judge Stowers.
During the hearing, Dr. King expressed concern that he wouldn't get a fair trial because of extensive media coverage, should the cases ever be heard by a jury.
"I take offense to that, Dr. King, that you think for some reason that I would be prejudice or biased against you in some way. I've never met you. I've never talked to these plaintiffs, except for the settlement of some of the cases," Judge Stowers told King while he was on the phone during the hearing.
"What I'm not going to tolerate is any further delays or any further resolution in these matters. These cases need to be taken care of," said the judge.
On March 15th, there will be another hearing to set a schedule for damage hearings for the plaintiffs.
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