Friday, February 29, 2008

Foundation more like a business than a charity

The University of Virginia Health Services Foundation does not have charitable immunity, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled unanimously today.

“HSF operates like a profitable commercial business with extensive revenue and assets. That portion of HSF’s services providing quality medical care to medically indigent patients is commendable,” Justice Donald W. Lemons wrote for the court in University of Virginia Health Services Foundation v. Morris. “However, when an organization is operated ‘in a manner calculated to produce a profit or gain,’ it is not entitled to charitable immunity.”

Judges in Norfolk and Portsmouth had granted charitable immunity to the HSF’s counterpart at the Eastern Virginia Medical Schools, but circuit judges sitting in Charlottesville Circuit Court had split on the issue with Judge Edward L. Hogshire of Charlottesville and H. Thomas Padrick Jr. of Virginia Beach, sitting by designation, finding it not to be charity, and Judge Randy I. Bellows of Fairfax, also sitting by designation, ruling that it is.

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