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Judge decides former UPMC executive should testify in Shick case

| Friday, June 27, 2014, 2:27 p.m.

Lawyers can question a departing UPMC executive about her disputed visit with the victims of a shooting spree at the Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic, an Allegheny County judge ruled Friday.

At stake is whether the medical system can offset the cost of treating its employees wounded in the shooting by taking part of their settlement with the gunman's estate.

Two of the victims claim that Elizabeth Concordia, a UPMC executive vice president, promised that the health care giant would cover their bills. Concordia denies meeting with them.

UPMC sought to block her deposition, but Judge R. Stanton Wettick ruled that lawyers for the victims can question her, said Mark Homyak, lawyer for Kathryn Leight, 66, of Shaler, a Western Psych receptionist wounded in the shooting.

He could not be reached for comment.

UPMC spokeswoman Gloria Kreps declined to comment. William Gagliardino, the lawyer for Jeremy Byers, 37, of Swissvale, a security guard wounded in the shooting, could not be reached.

John Shick, 30, of Oakland killed a therapist and wounded four others at Western Psych on March 8, 2012, before police shot and killed him. His estate consists of a $500,000 insurance policy.

Judges Wettick and Lawrence O'Toole have approved a settlement that would divide $500,000 from Shick's insurance policy among the victims.

UPMC contends that it should receive a share of the payment to cover the medical care it provided to its employees.

Leight and Byers claim in affidavits that Concordia visited them in the hospital and said UPMC would cover their medical bills.

Concordia says in an affidavit that she didn't visit them.

“Accordingly, I did not make any statements or promises to Mrs. Leight or Mr. Byers related to their medical bills, benefits and wages,” she said.

The University of Colorado Health System in Aurora, Colo., in April picked Concordia to become its chief executive officer. She starts in that position in September.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Total Trib Media. Contact him at 412-325-4301 at bbowling@tribweb.com.

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