Trial date set for wrongful dismissal lawsuit for ex-CEO of London hospital

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A lawsuit over unfair dismissal of the former chief executive of the London Health Sciences Centre, who was thrown out of hospital following revelations he had traveled abroad during the pandemic, is before the court.

Publication date:

November 21, 20229 hours ago2 minutes read Paul Woods, the former chief executive of the London Health Sciences Centre, made $557,718 in 2021. Woods was fired after 11 days of the year. (Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press)

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A lawsuit over unfair dismissal of the former chief executive of the London Health Sciences Centre, who was thrown out of hospital following revelations he had traveled abroad during the pandemic, is before the court.

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A trial date for Paul Woods’ lawsuit against his former employer has been set for May 29, 2023.

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Woods, represented by Toronto-based attorney Michael Wright, has not requested a jury trial.

Former LHSC President and Chief Executive Officer is seeking $3.5 million in damages from LHSC, including $1.4 million in compensatory damages, $1 million for alleged damage to reputation and $1 million in punitive damages alleged by Awarded to courts to punish suspects or deter similar behavior in the future.

A pre-trial conference is scheduled for January 31, 2023.

On January 8, 2021, LHSC announced that Woods, a former Michigan hospital executive who is a US permanent resident, had traveled to the US five times in 2020 to visit family. At that time, the federal government had blocked most cross-border travel and urgently advised against non-essential travel abroad to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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The hospital board initially supported Woods’ continued leadership of LHSC, but changed positions days later. Woods filed a wrongful termination lawsuit days after he was fired from his post on January 10, 2021.

In his lawsuit, Woods alleges his travels to the United States were approved by former CEO Amy Walby, who resigned shortly after Woods filed his wrongful termination lawsuit.

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The allegation also criticizes the LHSC board’s statement announcing Woods’ termination, claiming it “created the impression that Dr. Woods wasn’t open and honest with the board,” thereby putting him in the “same negative light” as some politicians who went on holiday abroad despite health advice.

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In its defense statement, LHSC alleges that senior hospital officials have repeatedly raised concerns about Woods’ trip. It is also claimed Woods erroneously said his trip was approved by the chief executive when he encountered the objections.

LHSC’s defense statement alleges that hospital staff and public outrage over Woods’ US trip was a catalyst for his resignation and that his actions have “lost his moral authority to run the hospital.”

Wood’s response to LHSC’s defense statement claims he “modeled the highest standards of public health guidance that he required of the hospital’s staff and patients” and that his journey to reunite with his family and his attempts were “nothing contradictory or hypocritical.” . to “ensure the health and safety of the entire hospital community. “

Woods’ complaint, defense statement and response to the LHSC’s defense contain allegations that have not yet been tested in court.

Woods, who was terminated by the LHSC board without reason, earned about $569,000 in 2021, Ontario public sector salary disclosures show.

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