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Former Cancer Center Director Amends D-H Lawsuit



Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Lebanon — A former director of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center filed an amended lawsuit against Dartmouth-Hitchcock last week.

The lawsuit, which Mark Israel initially filed in October, alleges that Dartmouth-Hitchcock fired him in an act of illegal retaliation after he objected to the diversion of $6 million raised for cancer research and other services.

Israel, in his suit, alleges that D-H officials redirected donated money — including $1.6 million raised through Norris Cotton’s signature fundraising event, The Prouty — away from research to operating expenses.

In a November court filing, D-H argued — and Grafton County Superior Court Judge Lawrence A. MacLeod Jr. later agreed — that a “lucrative transition agreement” prevents Israel from using the courtroom as a venue to resolve the dispute.

In his April ruling, MacLeod granted the hospital system’s request to move the case to arbitration.

In last week’s amended filing, dated May 30, Israel’s attorney Geoffrey Vitt, of Norwich, argued that D-H was not a party to the transition agreement, which was signed by Israel and Duane Compton — then interim, now dean of Geisel School of Medicine — so the arbitration clause should not apply. Vitt maintains that Dartmouth College, which employs Israel, and Israel were the only parties to the transition agreement.

“DH was not involved in the negotiation of the Transition Agreement, and so far as Dr. Israel knew, DH was not even aware of his negotiations with Dartmouth College,” Vitt wrote in the filing.

In a phone call last week, Vitt said he hoped the judge would allow the case to proceed to trial.