Letters to the Editor: Marshall County Health Department

The Marshall County Board of Health’s most important roles are to promote wellness in Marshall County and protect the health of its citizens. We are proud that our county is considered one of the healthiest counties in the Commonwealth of Kentucky as recently recognized by U.S. News.

Recently, there have been allegations regarding the construction of the current Marshall County Health Department building in context of the upcoming election for Marshall County Attorney. The Marshall County Board of Health does not endorse candidates for any political office. However, we do feel a statement is necessary to ensure that the record is straight. The facts concerning current and past litigation regarding issues of construction of the new building are a matter of public record:

1. Neither Jason Darnall nor anyone else from the Marshall County Attorney’s Office negotiated the contract that has been referenced in social media. Any allegation to the contrary is not true.

2. After design and construction issues were discovered, the Marshall County Attorney’s office was asked to assist and to pursue litigation. That office did so at a savings to the taxpayers of approximately $100,000.00, given what outside counsel would have cost to retain for six plus years of complex litigation.

3. The Marshall County Attorney’s Office successfully negotiated a settlement with the architect’s insurer in the amount of $225,000.00, when it appeared likely that this insurer would avoid liability altogether if the issue of coverage was litigated fully in court. The alternative to this settlement would have been an uncollectible judgment against the architect personally, which would have certainly been bankrupted, leaving the health board with nothing.

4. Recently, a jury verdict in excess of $35,000.00 was obtained at trial against the contractor, and this verdict is currently under appeal. The Marshall County Attorney’s Office continues to represent us to protect this judgment.

5. The notion that Jason Darnall or anyone else from the Marshall County Attorney’s Office is in any way to blame for the losses incurred by the health board is simply not true, and is based on a misunderstanding and mischaracterization of what actually took place. As stated previously, because of the work of the Marshall County Attorney’s Office, the health board actually saved substantial sums of money.

The Marshall County Board of Health clearly hoped for better outcomes after exhausting all legal avenues to obtain restitution due to architectural and construction shortfalls. The board has been very satisfied with the legal representation provided by the Marshall County Attorney’s office as they continue to seek proper restitution for these architectural and construction shortfalls.

Dr. Joe Ellis