Eau Claire (WQOW) - A battle has been brewing for months over the construction of a new hospital and cancer center in Eau Claire.
On Thursday, Eau Claire County Judge William Gabler dismissed HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital's lawsuit against Marshfield Clinic Health System.
In response to Gabler's ruling, HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital filed a notice of appeal.
News 18 reported in March 2017 when HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital sued Marshfield Clinic when Marshfield wanted to build the facilities on land Sacred Heart said it sold to them in 1998 and 2006.
According to documents, the clinic cannot construct or provide for a hospital on the two properties near Sacred Heart. Marshfield Clinic is in the process of building a hospital and cancer center near land adjacent to the properties discussed in the lawsuit.
In 2016, Marshfield Clinic granted an easement to their partner, Marshfield Clinic Health System Hospital, which is legally a different entity. Sacred Heart's agreement was with Marshfield Clinic, not the group that is building the hospital. According to court documents, Sacred Heart had a right of refusal on the property. They claim that did not happen.
Marshfield Clinic claimed Sacred Heart never owned that contested piece of land, so Marshfield is free to use it as they wish.
In Thursday's press release, Julie Manas, the president and CEO of HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital, stated they disagree with Judge Gabler's decision but will continue to "work with passion and compassion" for their patients:
"The circuit court ruling doesn’t change what we do for the people of the Chippewa Valley and the work we do inside the walls of HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital. We’re stronger than ever. We are investing in our facilities and continue to always put patients first."
Work has been underway at the new Marshfield Clinic hospital and the facility is expected to be completed in July 2018. The Marshfield Clinic Cancer Center opened in early October.
On Thursday, Scott Polenz, the chief administrator officer for Marshfield Clinic in Eau Claire, issued a statement regarding HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital's notice of appeal:
“We have said since the day it was filed, this lawsuit was without merit. The court’s decision certainly validates our position, and allows Marshfield Clinic Health System to continue to move forward with our plans in the Chippewa Valley. We were glad to welcome our patients to our new cancer center just days ago, and look forward to our new hospital opening next summer. We remain confident the court’s decision will stand as HSHS – Sacred Heart Hospital pursues its appeal.”