David Yates Feb. 15, 2012, 9:00am
Fox 4 has taken special exception to the lack of specifics in a defamation suit brought by the owners of Renaissance Hospital in Groves.
As previously reported, S&E Healthcare Groves Operations filed a defamation suit against Fox 4 and its website, setxhomepage.com, on Dec. 12 in Jefferson County District Court, alleging the media outlets targeted the company with "adverse publicity."
In its suit, Renaissance accuses the Fox station of airing and posting several stories that continue "to defame and libel" the company, but fails to cite the specific libelous content.
On Jan. 17 Fox 4 answered the suit, taking special exception to the fact that the plaintiff's suit failed to specify which statements were false and defamatory.
According to a courthouse official, a hearing on the matter of special exceptions was slated to be held Wednesday, Feb. 15, but was cancelled by the defense. It has not been reset.
Court records also show that on Feb. 13 Renaissance filed a motion to dismiss without prejudice.
As of Feb. 15, there are no rulings on file regarding either party's motions.
Over the past few months, Fox 4 has reported that Renaissance employees have been unable to cash their paychecks, allegedly because hospital owners lacked sufficient funds in their bank account. The stories have included interviews with former employees that were shown on the air and posted on the station's website.
"Many of these statements are false, and are defamatory," the suit states. "As a proximate result of the torts committed by these defendants ... plaintiff has sustained ... loss of revenue, loss of business, loss of good will and loss of reputation."
Renaissance is suing for punitive and actual damages.
Beaumont attorney John Morgan represents the company.
Houston attorney Patricia Hair of the Phelps Dunbar law firm represents the defendants.
Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, is assigned to the case.
Case No. A191-455