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DOVER — One of the victims of the hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital has
filed a lawsuit against a Nebraska company he believes hired the suspect in the

In a five-count lawsuit filed on Sunday, the patient and his
attorney accused Triage Staffing, Inc., of negligence in connection with the
viral outbreak.

According to the lawsuit, Triage, of Omaha, Neb., hires
health care workers known as “travelers” and places them to work at hospitals
around the United States on a contract basis for short periods — often
approximately 13 weeks.

David M. Kwiatkowski, the suspect in the
hepatitis C outbreak, has been employed as a traveling medical technician in at
least eight states since 2007. Federal investigators are continuing to probe his
background to compile a full employment history.

Kwiatkowski was hired by
Exeter Hospital as a traveling technician in April 2011. He was then hired to
work in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization laboratory as a full-time
employee later in the year.

Prosecutors say Kwiatkowski spread the liver
disease to Exeter Hospital patients in the course of abusing stolen hospital
narcotics. Kwiatkowski allegedly stole syringes of the anesthesia drug fentanyl,
injected himself, then allowed syringes contaminated with his blood to be reused
on patients.

Kwiatkowski tested positive for hepatitis C as early as June
2010, according to federal investigators.

Boston medical malpractice
attorney Domenic Paolini, of the firm Paolini and Haley, is representing the
Seabrook man who filed suit against Triage this week. According to their
complaint, Triage was the company that employed Kwiatkowski when he was first
hired in Exeter.

Triage has not returned calls seeking comment since
Friday, July 20.

Paolini and his client, Robert Fowler, claim Triage
neglected a duty to protect members of the public from Kwiatkowski, given his
“likelihood of causing harm.” Triage also failed to conduct a reasonable
investigation that could have found Mr. Kwiatkowski’s likelihood of causing harm
to Fowler, the complaint states.

The lawsuit consists of five counts,
including negligent hiring, negligent retention, negligent supervision and
negligent entrustment. Triage is also being sued for purportedly making
“intentional misrepresentations” about Kwiatkowski’s qualifications and
employment records.

Fowler is suing for compensatory and punitive
damages, interest, costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees.

“Triage failed to
exercise reasonable care when it hired Mr. Kwiatkowski in view of all of the
circumstances surrounding the job,” the complaint states.

Paolini will be
filing suits for four more patients this week, according to information provided
by The Patients Speak, a nonprofit patient advocacy group formed by Paolini and
others last month. Paolini also intends to file a series of lawsuits against
Kwiatkowski himself, according to the group.

At a news conference in
Concord last week, U.S. Attorney John Kacavas announced Kwiatkowski is facing
charges of obtaining controlled substances by fraud and tampering with a
consumer product.

According to federal investigators, several Exeter
Hospital employees had concerns about Kwiatkowski’s behavior before his arrest
this month. At various times, employees reported that Kwiatkowski appeared to be
“on something” at work, had bloodshot eyes, sweated profusely and acted

More than 100 patients affected by the hepatitis C scare —
including those who have tested both positive and negative — have filed lawsuits
against Exeter Hospital in connection with the health scare.

patients who tested positive are being represented by attorney Michael P.
Rainboth, of the Portsmouth firm Coughlin, Rainboth, Murphy & Lown. Last
week, Rainboth said his clients were “shocked and upset” that Exeter Hospital
continued to employ Kwiatkowski “despite numerous warning signs and complaints
by employees of suspicious behavior of Mr. Kwiatkowski.”

In a prepared
statement, Rainboth said the hospital “failed to take prompt action when it
should have known that Mr. Kwiatkowski was unfit to provide medical care to the
patients at Exeter Hospital.”

Rainboth said one of his clients recalls
waking from a procedure to see Kwiatkowski “standing over him with his face
gleaming with sweat and an odd smile,” according to Rainboth.

In his
lawsuit against Triage, Paolini focused on evidence investigators have collected
from Paolini’s previous employers.

Among that evidence is the discovery
that Kwiatkowski was allegedly involved in another case of so-called “drug
diversion” — the theft of hospital narcotics — in 2008.

According to
court documents, a hospital employer in another state said Kwiatkowski was
spotted stealing a syringe of fentanyl from an operating room. Prosecutors say
he was seen lifting his shirt and putting the syringe down his

Kwiatkowski was searched after the procedure, and allegedly found
to be carrying three empty syringes labeled as fentanyl. Prosecutors say a drug
test administered after the 2008 incident detected fentanyl and opiates in his

Witnesses have also painted a picture of Kwiatkowski as a man who
often fabricated stories about himself: In one case, he claimed erroneously to
have played baseball at the University of Michigan. In another instance, a
witness said Kwiatkowski claimed his fiancée had died under tragic

According to the affidavit, a former supervisor told
police Kwiatkowski was fired for lying on his time sheets.

people also reported Kwiatkowski claimed to have cancer; investigators have
found no evidence to support the claim.

On at least two occasions,
needles were found inside a restroom at a hospital where Kwiatkowski was working
while he was on duty, another former supervisor told police.

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