Judge dismisses Vail Health board chair from suit involving Lindsey Vonn’s physical therapist
Former CEO Doris Kirchner still in as case works its way toward trial
EAGLE — Mike Shannon is out but Doris Kirchner is still in as lawsuits involving Vail Health Hospital work their way toward trial.
Shannon, chairman of Vail Health’s board of directors, was included in a web of lawsuits surrounding Lindsay Winninger and Kirchner. Winninger is accusing Kirchner of ruining her physical therapy business by making “false” and “defamatory” statements about her.
In a hearing Wednesday, District Court Judge Russell Granger agreed to dismiss Shannon and Howard Head Executive Vice President Nicholas Brown from the case in his court. However, Judge Granger denied a request by Vail Health’s attorneys to dismiss Kirchner.
“This case has gotten incredibly complex,” Granger said during Wednesday’s hearing.
When Judge Granger inherited the case after former Judge Fred Gannett retired, he had to issue rulings on 114 motions.
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To help speed the case along, Granger appointed retired Chief District Court Judge Terry Ruckriegle to sift through the mountains of paperwork.
Federal antitrust lawsuit
Winninger, the former U.S. Women’s Ski Team physical therapist and now Lindsey Vonn’s private physical therapist, also filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Kirchner and Vail Health, claiming that Kirchner’s and the hospital’s “monopolistic” business practices killed her business, while dropping a $22.5 million windfall on the hospital in 2017.
Winninger’s federal antitrust lawsuit claims Vail Health “engaged in anticompetitive acts and conduct by defaming … Winninger and disparaging Sports Rehab’s business reputation in the Vail Valley medical community, and by … interfering with Winninger’s consulting contracts, all in an attempt to maintain Vail Health’s monopoly over physical therapy services in the Vail Valley geographic market.”
What Kirchner claims
Kirchner says Winninger’s colleague David Cimino obtained more than 3,000 patient files, and that Winninger and Cimino used those files to solicit Vail Health patients for Winninger’s new business.
That is absolutely untrue, said Winninger’s attorney, Alan Kildow. Kildow is the father of Lindsey Vonn.
A forensic audit of Winninger’s computer found that Winninger does not have those files, never did, and did not solicit any Vail Health patients, Kildow says.
Winninger says she “repeatedly requested” the hospital for evidence to support their “false statements.”
“None was given,” Winninger’s lawsuit said.
Winninger is requesting jury trials in both her Eagle County and federal court cases. She is seeking millions of dollars in damages.