We see that you have javascript disabled. Please enable javascript and refresh the page to continue reading local news. If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact the customer support team at 1-833-248-7801.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Grand Forks fight over clinic name spills into court

The clinic's lawyers said that the chief doctor at the clinic, Dr. Khaled Rabadi, had already been asked by a patient if his clinic was part of Sanford — and raised the possibility that similar names might cause logistical problems transferring medical records and patients.

FSA Court gavel 11-13-18
We are part of The Trust Project.

Sanford Health is facing a lawsuit over the name of its new clinic in Grand Forks — from a small, independent medical group that claims Sanford has taken its name.

Grand Forks Clinic is a collection of providers — from podiatry to nephrology to dermatology — that has served the community for years. It has two locations: one on 44th Avenue South, and an expanding location along South Washington.

And now, its lawyers say, it has to contend with Sanford, which opened its new facility this summer and is operating under nearly precisely the same name.

"Without seeking permission from (Grand Forks Clinic)….Sanford began calling its new location 'Sanford Health Grand Forks Clinic' and 'Grand Forks Clinic,'" the clinic's lawyers wrote in court documents. "…Sanford must know that it might capitalize on consumer confusion with Grand Forks Clinic, which it undoubtedly knows is its neighbor and competitor."

The clinic's lawyers said that the chief doctor at the clinic, Dr. Khaled Rabadi, had already been asked by a patient if his clinic was part of Sanford — and raised the possibility that similar names might cause logistical problems transferring medical records and patients.

ADVERTISEMENT

In a complaint filed earlier this month, lawyers for Grand Forks Clinic are asking a court to bar Sanford from using a highly similar name, plus any damages determined at trial.

The lawsuit was filed several weeks ago, just as Rabadi posted his frustrations with Sanford Health on social media, explaining that Grand Forks Clinic had already asked Sanford to change its new clinic's name in recent weeks.

“With your support, our clinic will continue to thrive,” Rabadi wrote on Facebook. “We will defend our clinic and we will defend our name. We will work harder than ever to care for you and our community.”

At the time, a Sanford official explained that the health giant's clinics are often named after their communities, like "Sanford Health Detroit Lakes Clinic." In court documents, lawyers for both medical groups have sparred over exceptions to that rule — which Sanford said occurs in communities where it has multiple locations.

Grand Forks Clinic has a state-registered trade name dating back to 2018. But Jim Silrum, North Dakota’s deputy secretary of state, said earlier this month that it’s a combination of two extremely common components — “Grand Forks” and “Clinic.” So while his office wouldn’t issue an identical business name, it would approve “Sanford Health Grand Forks Clinic” or “Sanford Grand Forks Clinic.”

RELATED: A Grand Forks doctor says he’ll defend his clinic’s name. But is it unique enough?

In court documents, Sanford’s legal team said they rejected the Grand Forks Clinic’s claims.

“The name Grand Forks Clinic is generic, not unique and not protectable under North Dakota law,” Sanford’s legal team wrote. “...plaintiff is not entitled to the exclusive use of the words or phrase Grand Forks Clinic.”

ADVERTISEMENT

A hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 17.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSNEWSMD
What to read next
His change of plea hearing is scheduled for Oct. 10.
During the event, attendees enjoyed yard games and music in downtown's Town Square, the site of several improvements.
When Jay Clark and Tammy Soma Clark began Rochester's Apples R Us in 2009 they only had 300 trees planted, now in 2022, they have over 12,500 with plans to plant a third orchard section by 2024.
The induction ceremony begins at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2 at the Red River High School Theater, with a dessert reception to follow.