Bozeman Heath Statement on Barnett Settlement
Contact: Lauren Brendel, M.S.
Bozeman, MT [July 3, 2021] — On Friday, May 14, 2021, Bozeman Health settled a legal complaint related to the passing of Eryon Barnett. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed in March 2018 by the mother and girlfriend of the former MSU football player, nearly two years after Mr. Barnett was most recently under our care. Our hearts go out to Mr. Barnett’s family, his son, and friends, as we know the loss of a loved one is painful, and we continue to extend our deepest sympathies.
As litigation was entering the fourth year, after careful consideration and after evaluating the continued time, resources, and costs that would be associated with ongoing litigation, we decided that in the best interest of Mr. Barnett’s family, our patients, employees, and care providers, we would extend an offer to resolve any and all claims against Bozeman Health and any other provider or employee named in the lawsuit. Accordingly, the plaintiffs agreed to settle their claims for $2 million. The plaintiffs’ attorney contends that they may consider further litigation, however by accepting the settlement, they agreed to resolve any and all claims against Bozeman Health and can no longer pursue any additional litigation related to this matter. Bozeman Health believes this resolution is in the best interest of all those involved, including providing for Mr. Barnett’s son into the future.
The settlement includes no admission of guilt and was made to end protracted litigation and to avoid putting all those involved through a long and emotional trial. There was and is no finding whatsoever that Bozeman Health or any providers or employees did anything wrong in their care of Mr. Barnett. We understand their pain and empathize with Mr. Barnett’s family, however claims of criminal conduct are inflammatory and without merit, and are a blatant attempt to discredit the good work our providers and care teams deliver every day to the communities we are proud to care for.
Bozeman Health is confident in the care given to Mr. Barnett by our physicians and providers. This was validated by external medical experts who concluded the care provided by Bozeman Health, Dr. Hoge, and Dr. Donahue was appropriate and consistent with the standard of care. Dr. Hoge and Dr. Donahue remain active and valued members of the Bozeman Health Medical Group and the Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital medical staff.
As a local, faith-based nonprofit dedicated to the care of the communities we serve, Bozeman Health is guided in all we do by our mission, vision, and values, and we continue our focus on providing expert, quality care to all.