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Posted: August 11, 2012 7:02 p.m.

Judge dismisses lawsuit against county

A lawsuit filed against Newton County by Grady Healthcare Systems of Atlanta seeking more than $87,000 for in medical cost reimbursement was dismissed by a judge July 27, because the hospital failed to provide proper notice to the county.

Newton County Superior Court Judge Ken Wynne ruled against Grady's request for $87,356.89, which was the value of the treatment rendered by Grady Healthcare to Johnny Workman, a man arrested in Newton County in 2009 for vehicular homicide and DUI. According to paperwork filed in the Newton County Clerk of Court's office, Wynne said the hospital failed to meet procedural requirements set forth by law.

When deputies from the Newton County Sheriff's Office originally turned up at the scene of the accident in 2009, they transported Workman to Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Several days after being released from the hospital, Workman was then booked into the Newton County Detention Center.

While Grady argued that Workman was in the custody of Newton County at the time, which would mean the county was responsible for his medical bills under law, the county maintained that Workman had yet to be arrested, so any bills accrued for medical treatment would go to him, not Newton County.

However, none of that mattered in the end, since Wynne ruled the hospital failed to meet the procedure required by law. Georgia law states that a claim against a county will be barred unless presented in writing within 12 months. The claim must also include the nature of and the amount of damages claimed. Since Grady did not give notice of the claim for more than a year after the rendering of services, its claim was dismissed.

As for Workman, he pleaded guilty in February 2010 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with the first 10 years to be served before being eligible for parole. He is currently in Riverbend Correctional Facility in Milledgeville.

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