Judge declines to dismiss FL ombudsman case

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Brian Lee
Brian Lee

The Florida ombudsman case against the state and long-term care provider groups can proceed, a judge decided Wednesday.

Circuit Judge James Shelfer denied motions to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Brian Lee, who is suing the state Department of Elder Affairs, the Florida Health Care Association and the Florida Assisted Living Association. He is seeking damages of more than $15,000, the Miami Herald reported.

As ombudsman, Lee had asked long-term care providers to submit ownership information. He says he was forced to resign because of it in February 2011. Among the assertions is that FALA and FHCA asked Gov. Rick Scott if the ombudsman could be someone with “closer ties to the industry.”

In addition to alleging tortuous interference by FALA and FHCA, Lee says that he was covered under the Florida Whistle-Blower Retaliation laws. The defendants, however, say that the right to free speech protects their clients and that no malfeasance occurred.

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