Law Suit Recommendation Paper
Running head: LAW SUIT RECOMMENDATION PAPER
LAW SUIT RECOMMENDATION PAPER 5
Law Suit Recommendation Paper
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Law Suit Recommendation Paper
The hospital has four legal options to deal with the possible litigation from the physician. There were possible grounds for both the physician and the hospital to face off in court, initiate arbitration, and engage in mediation talks that would solve the problem, or structure a settlement to compensate the physician for his troubles. The grounds upon which the physician will be suing for damages are clear. There are several possible grounds the physician can base his litigation on: breach of contract; interference with business relationships; lost earnings; emotional distress during the proceedings; defamation and anti-trust violations; and discrimination. Certain legal doctrines provide those involved in these determinations with limited immunity from some of the claims. Refusing to take necessary actions also exposes the medical staff and the hospital to liability; thus, inaction does not avoid liability.
Many hospitals require all applicants to sign a waiver protecting those involved from liability. Several courts have upheld these waivers while others have declined to enforce them. An analysis of the pros and cons of the options will shed light on which course of action the hospital should take through a recommendation.
Defending the Suit in Court
This is the most expensive choice due to the fact that it involves paying the hospitals attorneys to launch a credible defence that will protect it from paying damages to the physician. It will depend on the claim(s) that the physician will be basing his suit on. There are several possible claims the physician can make.
Breach of contract: Considering that the physicians contract with the hospital was not yet over, termination can amount to breach of contract. This can result in an assessment of monetary damages for the breach. Depending on the bylaws of the state the hospital operates in, some courts consider the bylaws as such a contract, permitting a breach of contract claim for violation of the bylaws.
Interference with business relationships: The physician could claim that the actions of the hospital tortuously interfered with his relationship with patients, other physicians, hospitals, and others.
Defamation: The physician can sue the hospital for a wrongful injury of his reputation. The claim of the hospital that the department needed to go in a new direction requires further explanation because it is apparent that the physician must have been part of the wrong direction the department had taken.
Antitrust: The physician may decide to challenge the actions of the hospital on the grounds that they restraint trade and attempt to monopolize the health sector. He may give reasons such as (1) if he wins the case, treble damages can be obtained, (2) suits are very expensive to litigate, so the hospital may be willing to compromise, (3) the suit can be tried in a federal court, and (4) state laws that protect physicians from contract termination do not apply.
The hospital can sustain an argument stating that merely denying or terminating privileges or professional service contracts does not constitute tortious interference.
If the physician sues for defamation, the possible defence is qualified privilege, which means that there is no liability for certain privileged communications, even if they injure anothers reputation as long as the communication did not have any suggestion of malice.
The hospital will be obliged to provide accurate information that will not be seen as a deliberate concealing of material facts.
The only possible claim that is favourable to the hospital is interference of relationships. Unfortunately, it appears that it is only one of the many claims the physician is likely to file in court.
Arbitraition can serve as one of the ways to avoid a costly, as well as lengthy, litigation process. The Supreme Court in the US ruled in 2001 that the Federal Arbitration Act applies to employment claims that involve interstate claims. The hospital will, therefore, appoint a neutral arbitrator, who cannot be a person from the list of individuals proposed by the hospital.
The process is less costly because the hospital will have a chance to settle the issue without involving the lengthy process of interpreting the state and federal laws on health care contracting.
The hospital carries the greatest burden on the cost of arbitration. Otherwise, arbitration will be ruled unenforceable by courts if they place a heavy cost burden on the physician. The enforceability of arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism is subject to several factors. For instance, the Supreme Court set a precedent in 2001 in the case AT & T Mobility LLC v. Conception, which allowed lower courts to maintain the enforceability of the arbitration agreements in legal contracts such as this.
If arbitration requirements violate the rights of employees (physicians) in any way, they risk being unenforceable because the hospital is expected to protect labor rights.
The hospital can as well allow the physician to mediate with it through an agent such as a labor organization. The labor organization, in this case, must be recognized as the exclusive bargaining agent for the physician.
Mediation can help avoid a tedious and costly litigation.
The process of mediation is solely dependent on whether the physician was subscribed to any labor organization.
The option can also be as long and costly as court litigation because it involves lengthy discussions.
The hospital may decide to compensate the physician of the damages in full upon an out-of-court agreement.
It is the easiest way out of a possible dispute that would cost the hospital dearly.
It is premature to settle since the physician would win the suit based on all the claims he had stated in the application.
Considering that the hospital serviced the physician with a notice, all the possible claims in the lawsuit could be quashed. Litigation could be the best option as long as the hospital is cognizant of state laws on professional contracting. However, if the state laws are not in its favor, the hospital can consider having an out-of-court settlement plan.