NEW ORLEANS – Following nearly two years of disagreements regarding unpaid rent between East Jefferson General Hospital and its property owners, Judge Carl Barbier granted East Jefferson Medical Plaza, who has owned the land since 2008, a victory against the financially riddled hospital.
In a statement filed on March 28, Barbier, of the Eastern District Court of Louisiana, ordered the proprietors are owed nearly $435,000 from the hospital, which is said to have maintained operations in a number of suites while avoiding payment.
The ruling follows a dispute that dates back to April 2017, in which the master agreement between each party expired and the hospital ceased occupation in a select number of the suites outlined in the contract. The plaza owners notified the hospital on May 4, 2017, that unless a new contract was signed, the hospital was bound to pay rent for all the suites outlined in a specific portion of the original agreement, including those the hospital claimed it had vacated. The lessors argue the hospital not only had failed to pay full rent for the suites they had departed, but also failed to compensate the landowners for Suite 600 of the building, where they proceeded with day-to-day operations.
“The hospital has presented no evidence to contradict the rental amounts that landlord alleges it is owed, nor has it demonstrated that landlord had an obligation to mitigate losses by finding new tenants after the hospital vacated Suites 120, 310, 320, and 510,” Barbier concluded in the statement.
The case between East Jefferson General and their proprietors follows years of economic uncertainty regarding the leasing of the hospital. In August of last year, the hospital owners attempted to enter a partnership with privately financed University Healthcare System LLC, which faltered due to anxieties regarding the proposed deal.