By AMANDA LOVIZA VICKERY Glasgow Daily Times
T.J. Samson Community Hospital has sued the six individuals challenging the authority of its board of directors with trademark infringement, in a civil case filed in U.S. District Court Friday.
A petition for declaration of rights was filed in Barren Circuit Court earlier this month on behalf of D.T. Froedge, Wendell Honeycutt, Randall Curry, Dwayne Hatcher, Lyon Hutcherson and Curtis Peil, a group of local residents who were elected on May 25 to try to become a new board of trustees for the hospital. The election of the challenging board was conducted by six descendants of T.J. Samson’s original financial contributors. Those original contributors had voting rights in the 1920s to elect a board of trustees for the hospital. Though the hospital’s articles of incorporation changed the voting procedure in 1968, the descendants conducted an election based on the belief that those voting rights were inheritable and that the 1968 amendment to the articles of incorporation should be legally set aside. Those who were part of the election have voiced concerns that T.J. Samson is neglecting its duties as a community hospital. The Barren suit officially named the group of plaintiffs as the “Board of Trustees of T.J. Samson Community Hospital.”
While the Barren Circuit Court action is put on hold while Judge Phillip R. Patton recuses himself and another judge is found, T.J. Samson has filed the trademark infringement complaint in federal court.
“Defendants have infringed T.J. Samson’s trademark and violated the Lanham Act and Kentucky common law by falsely claiming a right to act in the name of the Board of Trustees of T.J. Samson Community Hospital and have thereby engaged in unfair competition,” hospital attorney H. Jefferson Herbert, Jr., wrote in the suit.
The group describing themselves as the new hospital board of trustees has caused “irreparable harm and injury to T.J. Samson for which T.J. Samson has no adequate remedy at law,” the federal suit said.
The hospital’s request for relief is that the defendants cease using any reference to T.J. Samson, report to the court how they are discontinuing their trademark infringement and deliver any publications or products that infringe on the trademark to the court to be destroyed.
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