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Lawsuit against Washington Co. hospital dismissed

| Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 6:30 p.m.

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit that claimed Monongahela Valley Hospital in Washington County failed to protect a 14-year-old girl from a 2009 sexual assault while she was in the hospital's custody.

The girl's parents failed to find an attorney to represent them, the judge said.

The Chesapeake, Va., couple was represented by attorneys when they filed the lawsuit in August 2011, but withdrew a year later, saying in court documents that they and their clients couldn't agree on how to proceed. The hospital, in court documents, has denied liability for the assault.

U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon said in her order that she informed the girl's mother at an August 2012 status conference that she couldn't proceed without an attorney because federal courts don't allow parents to represent their children in court unless the parents are also attorneys. The mother failed to respond to several messages left by Bissoon's staff, the judge said.

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