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Court rules in clinic dispute involving St. Dominic, HMA

CANTON — The Mississippi Supreme Court has granted a motion from St. Dominic Health Systems to dismiss its appeal of a judge’s order that it did not have a binding contract to buy an outpatient surgery clinic in Canton.

The dismissal order was made public by the court late last week.

St. Dominic had argued that a Madison County judge acted hastily in ruling that its letter of intent did not obligate Madison Ambulatory Surgery Center to be bought by the hospital.

St. Dominic said it had agreed in the letter to a sale price of $800,000. Although the center was no longer in operation, St. Dominic would obtain the certificate of need for running an outpatient surgery center.

St. Dominic sued when MASC’s owner put it back on the market 57 days after the letter was signed because the sale was not completed within 30 days. The owner decided to sell to Health Management Associates, a St. Dominic competitor.

A Madison County judge ruled the letter of intent did not bind MASC to sell to St. Dominic.

St. Dominic said that the letter of intent amounted to a contract and that the only way to examine the intent of those who signed that contract is to hold a trial.

MASC attorneys argued the letter lacked definite terms to be legally thought of as a contract.

MASC argued the letter of intent guaranteed only that the two companies would continue negotiating later, not a sale.

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