Court OKs proposed Eden Hill project


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This is a rendering of what the proposed Center at Eden Hill sub-acute rehabilitation facility in Dover will look like upon completion. (Submitted photo/Center at Eden Hill)

DOVER — On Tuesday, the Delaware Supreme Court upheld an earlier health board decision affirming plans for a proposed short-term rehabilitation center.

While the planned Center at Eden Hill earlier received a Certificate of Public Review from the Delaware Health Resources Board, Genesis Healthcare contested the decision in Superior Court, which upheld the decision.

On Dec. 2, Genesis Healthcare filed an appeal of Superior Court’s ruling in the Delaware Supreme Court.

Citing case law guidelines, the Supreme Court held that the appeal must be dismissed.

“The purpose of Genesis’ appeal to Superior Court and this Court is to overturn the Board’s grant of a CPR to Eden Hill,” Justices Randy Holland, Karen Valihura and Collins Seitz determined.

“Eden Hill, as the successful recipient of the CPR, is an indispensable party and its interests are substantially prejudiced by the failure of Genesis to join it as a party in the Superior Court and in this Court. …

“Now, therefore, it is hereby ordered that this appeal is dismissed, the Superior Court’s judgment is vacated, and the Board’s decision is final.”

The sub-acute rehabilitation facility plans to provide short-term care for patients discharged from a hospital and still in need of medical services until returning home.

Earlier, Genesis Healthcare said it believed enough nearby skilled care facilities already exist in Kent County, and a surplus of nursing home beds already existed, among other claims.

Superior Court ruled that “because Genesis’ interests may be adversely affected by the new facility, Genesis is an interested party and is permitted to appeal to the Superior Court,” according to Supreme Court documents.

The Delaware Health Resources Board maintained that Superior Court did not have jurisdiction since Eden Hill was not part of the appeal.

“The only appelle is the Board,” court papers read.

“Although the Board granted the CPR to Eden Hill to construct a new skilled care facility, Eden Hill was not joined by Genesis as party in either the Superior Court or in this Court.

“The Board, in its answering brief, asserts for the first time, that Eden Hill is an indispensable party and the failure to join Eden Hill as a party in the Superior Court deprived the Superior Court of jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court wrote that “The record does not reflect why Genesis did not join Eden Hill as a party in the Superior Court did not bring the absence of Eden Hill to the Superior Court’s attention.

“In Superior Court, when there is a timely motion to dismiss for failure to join an indispensable party, the Superior Court must apply its own Rules 15 and 19, in the context whether the proceeding is an appeal or writ or certiorari.”

Over 35 years ago, the Supreme Court said that it held “that all parties to the litigation who would be directly accected by a ruling on the merits of an appeal, should be made party to the appellate proceedings …”

Center at Eden Hill backers — originally 34 investors, including 24 physicians — earlier said the project will cost about $20 million to construct, and the facility would be approximately 65,000 to 70,000 square feet. It will be located to the northeast of Eden Hill Medical Center’s current facility at 200 Banning Street.

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