NEW ORLEANS — A healthcare electronics firm has until May 12 to respond to a lawsuit filed in April by a Metairie medical facility over allegations that an MRI package still isn't working several years after it was installed..
Philips Healthcare, a division of Philips Electronics North America Corporation, formally was served on the case filed on April 4 in U.S. District Court for Louisiana's Eastern District by NAZ LLC, which operates a medical facility on Kingman Street in Metairie. The court set a May 12 deadline to answer.
On April 10, Magistrate Judge Janis van Meerveld recused herself from the case, which was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Karen Wells Roby.
The MRI at the NAZ facility has been offline more often than it's been online due to myriad installation and other issues since the MRI package was first installed in late 2014, according to the lawsuit. One of the more dramatic problems the MRI package has sustained includes approximately $850,000 in damage after Philips engineers caused an opening in the roof that allowed in a substantial amount of water into the facility during a rainstorm in 2015.
"As a result of this complex and lengthy process and the continued required inspections, troubleshooting, repairs, reinstallation and testing necessary before the MRI equipment could be activated safely and operated as it was intended to operate for Plaintiff’s intended purposes, the MRI equipment was not re-activated until after April 2016," the lawsuit said. "Additional modifications to the door and the room in which the MRI equipment was housed as well as additional testing, inspection and resolving of a myriad of other issues, had to be completed before the MRI could be fully engaged for clinical use."
Soon after that, NAZ employees found that a computer software and hardware package that should have been installed with the MRI had not been installed.
"Because of Philips’ failure to properly install and configure the MRI equipment and because of further structural alterations to the building necessitated by Philips’ actions, an application to the appropriate governmental agency for approval of the ambulatory surgery center cannot be initiated by [the] plaintiff to this date," the lawsuit said.
After several years of trying to get the MRI package to work, a number of defects were discovered and poorly addressed, according to the lawsuit.
"[The] defendant and its experts were aware of the potential defect and the inadequacy of this support system but failed to advise," the lawsuit said.
Allegations in the lawsuit against Philips include gross fault, breaches of contract and bad faith. While the lawsuit does not request a specific dollar amount from the court, it does list a variety of damages, including the amount paid for the MRI package, loss of business, loss of profits, repair costs and mitigation costs.
The case against Philips isn't the first time NAZ has sued an electronics company. In February 2015, NAZ filed suit in the 24th Judicial District Court against Spark Electric A/C/ Heating & Gas LLC. In that case, NAZ alleged Spark Electric's negligence lead to a fire and explosion on June 27, 2014 that caused significant property damage at the medical facility.