Mount Carmel parent company wants Husel’s lawsuit over legal defense fees dismissed

William Husel appears in court during a pre-trial hearing - July 18, 2019 (WBNS-10TV)
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COLUMBUS (WBNS) – Attorneys for Mount Carmel Health System’s parent company, Trinity Health, want a federal lawsuit filed by Dr. William Husel to be dismissed.

Husel, a former Mount Carmel physician, sued his former employer and its insurance wing, Trinity Assurance, back in August claiming that the hospital’s insurance policy should cover the cost of Husel’s criminal defense fees.

He faces 25 counts of murder – accused of giving his patients too much fentanyl. His attorneys have said he was providing comfort care to dying patients in their final moments of life.

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Civil attorneys representing the patients' families and prosecutors have alleged that Husel ordered inappropriate doses which were then given to critical care patients - hastened their deaths.

Husel has pleaded not guilty and faces a June 2020 trial on the murder charges.

The critical care intensivist was fired by the hospital in December of 2018 after an internal investigation. His medical license was suspended the next month.

Mount Carmel Health System has paid out more than $13 million in settlements to the families of the patients.

While Trinity Health’s insurer has footed the bill to help cover the cost of 30 wrongful death lawsuits that were filed against the Mount Carmel Health System, Husel sued in August of 2019 – claiming because the alleged acts happened during his term of employment, Trinity’s insurance should cover the costs of his legal defense fees.

In court documents filed in Michigan this week, attorneys for Trinity Health and its insurance wing, Trinity Assurance, called on a judge to toss out Husel’s law.

“Determining whether TAL owes an obligation to indemnify defense costs associated with the Murder Indictments thus turns on whether the Primary Policy covers murder. It does not,” attorneys for Trinity wrote.

The filing went on to state: “(Husel’s) entire complaint is premised on the flawed legal conclusion that his professional liability insurance (“Integrated Risk Policy” or “Policy” attached as Exhibit 2 to Plaintiff’s Complaint) requires Defendants to advance defense costs in Plaintiff’s criminal prosecution for 25 counts of murder—it does not.”

A response to Trinity’s filing is due in March. A hearing was scheduled on the matter for May 21.