NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana credentialing service has won its nearly 3-year-old lawsuit against health care providers in Hammond but won't see much payout as a result, a federal judge ruled last week.
U.S. District Court Judge Jane Margaret Triche Milazzo, on the bench in Louisiana's Eastern District, found that Southern Credentialing Support Services is entitled to $5,000; reasonable attorneys' fees and costs; and a permanent injunction, according to her eight-page ruling issued Oct. 10.
Southern Credentialing had failed to show actual damages or that the defendants in the case, Hammond Surgical Hospital, doing business as Cypress Pointe Surgical Hospital and Hammond Surgical Hospital, experienced an increase in profit, Milazzo said in her order.
"In light of the fact that defendant's infringement was not willful and plaintiff has failed to show actual damages, this court finds that a statutory damages award in the lower range of allowable awards is appropriate," Milazzo said in her order. "Plaintiff is entitled to a statutory damages award in the amount of $2,500 per infringement, or $5,000 total."
Another defendant, Christopher Beary, was voluntarily dismissed at trial by Southern Credentialing.
Southern Credentialing filed its intellectual property lawsuit in December 2015, alleging that defendants had used its health care credentialing forms without authorization or license. Southern Credentialing claimed the defendant had used those forms for about three years, despite knowing the forms were protected by copyright.
Southern Credentialing sought an injunction to prevent defendants from using the forms, damages from unjust enrichment, punitive damages, and legal fees.
Since then, the court held that Southern Credentialing did hold valid copyrights to the forms and was entitled to judgment on its copyright claim.
"The Court noted that defendants had verbatim copied 60 and 44 percent of plaintiff's copyrighted works and published those works online," Milazzo said in her ruling.
A two-day bench trial was conducted in March to decide damages.