Serial-killer nurse Charles Cullen faces civil trial next week in Lehigh County Court
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
By MICHAEL BUCK
ALLENTOWN | Jury selection is expected to begin Monday for a civil trial in which eight families are suing serial-killer nurse Charles Cullen for wrongful death and other damages, court records say.
The jury will determine what amount, if any, Cullen owes to the families suing him.
Cullen preyed on critically ill patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey hospitals during a 16-year nursing career. He pleaded guilty to 29 murders and is serving life sentences in New Jersey for those crimes.
According to court records:
St. Luke’s Hospital was initially named as a defendant in the lawsuits, but Lehigh County Judge Edward Reibman dismissed the claims in June because an expert witness could not conclude with certainty the patients were killed by Cullen.
In his opinion, Reibman cited that Cullen has neither admitted to killing any of the people in these cases, nor has he specifically denied the allegations.
Cullen has not responded to the complaints brought against him and has declined to be interviewed as part of a court-ordered deposition.
Mark Altemose and Kelly Rambo, lawyers for the victims’ families, filed an appeal in July to the Pennsylvania Superior Court to overturn the dismissal of the claims against the hospital. Their appeal was quashed in October.
While the claims against the hospital were dismissed, claims against Cullen were left standing.
In these cases, jury selection is to take place Monday, with the trial scheduled to begin Tuesday. The trial is expected to last about three days and will include testimony from David Fowler, a forensic pathologist and victims’ family members.