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Why is Hopkins liable in the Levy case? [Letter]

Can anybody explain why Johns Hopkins is liable for any of the reprehensible actions of Dr. Nikita Levy ("Attorney says Hopkins was informed of improper exams before investigation," Sept. 26)? Why is Johns Hopkins Medicine agreeing to pay anything to the victims of Dr. Levy's serious transgressions? Was Johns Hopkins in any way responsible for the harm that was caused to Dr. Levy's victims? In all of the reporting on this case I have never heard one thing that would indicate Dr. Levy's actions were allowed or caused or in any way made possible by Johns Hopkins. On the contrary, everything I have read has clearly stated that Johns Hopkins' policies, practices and procedures were exemplary and up to any standards of the profession.

The only explanation for Johns Hopkins willingness to settle for the huge sum of $190 million is that the legal system has come to this point, where any wealthy entity (person or corporation) is being held to a strict liability standard. In other words, "deep pockets" can always be forced to pay out, by the threat of going in front of a judicial system that will not risk denying any victim some recompense. Why didn't Johns Hopkins' lawyers simply deny any and all liability and refuse to pay anything? Why wouldn't the courts have thrown out immediately any suit against Johns Hopkins? What is wrong with our society that would allow this case to proceed to this point?

Judge Sylvester Cox called the settlement "fair and reasonable." How is the settlement fair to Johns Hopkins if it did nothing wrong?

Strictly speaking, I don't have any problem with Johns Hopkins providing a monetary payment to Dr. Levy's victims, as long as it is freely made from a spirit of generosity and sympathy, or even to earn good will for its future business interests. But I think it's pretty sad that Johns Hopkins is being forced to pay a huge money settlement by the threat of being found liable for something it had no responsibility for.

Stewart Lyons, Lutherville

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