Pierce County was awarded a $1.56 million judgment in a countersuit against a medical technology company that had sued the county over nonpayment.
A jury last week found in favor of the county, awarding it the judgment in the county’s counterclaim against ConMed after the county claimed the company failed to provide quality medical care for the Pierce County jail.
“Conmed was inadequate in fulfilling its contract — hoping that government wasn’t paying attention,” Dan Hamilton, deputy prosecuting attorney, stated in a press release. “Well, Pierce County and the Sheriff’s Department were paying attention. We won’t let any company pad its profits by shirking its duties.”
The case stemmed from a 2014 contract with ConMed to provide medical care to inmates at the Pierce County Correction and Detention Center. The Corrections Bureau of the Sheriff’s Department reportedly became concerned with ConMed’s alleged understaffing of medical personnel at the jail and the “resulting effect it had on the quality of care the company provided,” according to the release.
The county continued fulfilling its financial obligations under the contract for 14 months after being assured the care would approve, but the care allegedly did not improve, and the county began withholding payments to the company to compel it to perform under the contract, according to the release. The county terminated the contract with the company in August 2015, after the company allegedly failed to improve after four months.
ConMed eventually sued Pierce County for withholding payment for four months. The county filed a counterclaim arguing the company failed to live up to its requirements under the contract for the 14 months that the county paid it. Jurors last week agreed.
“I think jurors could see that the Sheriff’s Department provided strong oversight every step of the way,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kristal Cowger said in a statement. “The sheriff’s staff saw that ConMed wasn’t living up to its promises, they knew it wasn’t right, and they didn’t let it go. The Sheriff’s Department stuck up for quality inmate care and for the taxpayers.”