Clinch v. Heartland Health — Sept. 2005 (Summary)


Clinch v. Heartland Health
No. WD 64853 (Mo. Ct. App. Sept. 13, 2005)

A medical director sued a fellow surgeon for tortious interference with his business relationship, alleging that the surgeon complained about his proficiency which caused him to lose his position as medical director at a hospital. The medical director also sued the hospital claiming antitrust violations based upon the fact that by the time his covenant not to compete had expired, the hospital had entered into an exclusive contract for cardiac services and he could no longer practice there. The trial court had dismissed the claims but the Missouri Court of Appeals reversed, finding that a question of fact remained as to the surgeon’s motives for interfering with the medical director’s contract with the hospital. The medical director presented sufficient evidence from which a reasonable juror could conclude that the hospital would not have terminated his contract but for the surgeon’s presentation of productivity statistics regarding complication and infection rates to the administration. However, the court upheld the dismissal of antitrust claims filed against the hospital, holding that the medical director lacked standing to pursue a claim based on the hospital’s entering into an exclusive contract with other cardiac surgeons.