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De Blasio: SUNY contempt hearing set in LICH court order violation

July 23, 2013 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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State Supreme Court Justice Baynes set the date for a hearing to hold SUNY Downstate Medical Center in contempt for violating a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) keeping Long Island College Hospital (LICH) open, according to the Public Advocate’s office.

In a conference with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s legal team on Tuesday morning, Justice Baynes ordered SUNY to preserve all emails, texts and documentation regarding the hospital’s closure, and made a referral to the Brooklyn District Attorney regarding the possible illegal denial of medical care resulting from the shutdown, de Blasio’s office said in a release.

De Blasio said he would supply more details at a 5 p.m. press conference in Manhattan.

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Late Monday, Appellate Division Judge Robert Miller ordered SUNY Downstate to maintain the level of service at Long Island College Hospital (LICH) that was provided at the hospital as of 4 p.m. on Friday.

SUNY Downstate spokesperson Robert Bellafiore told the Brooklyn Eagle that Judge Miller’s ruling vacated Justice Baynes’ Friday TRO.

“Our motion to vacate the order was granted and was modified slightly. We do not have to bring ambulances back, restore residents or take any of the steps that were contained in the earlier lower court orders. Nor must we defer to the views of the LICH staff.  All we need to do is keep services as they were late Friday afternoon and that means virtually no change from the way they are today,” Bellafiore said on Monday.

Downstate has been trying to empty out the hospital in order to close it by July 29.

The Office of the Public Advocate is being represented in this lawsuit by Jim Walden of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

The Brooklyn Eagle will update this story as events unfold.

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