McGary v. Williamsport Reg’l Med. Ctr. — May 2018 (Summary)


McGary v. Williamsport Reg’l Med. Ctr.
No. 4:12-CV-01742 (M.D. Pa. May 22, 2018)

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania granted a hospital’s motion for summary judgment against a cardiothoracic surgeon who sued after the hospital denied her application for privileges for failing to meet threshold eligibility criteria.  The surgeon had only performed 37 heart surgeries and 15 lung surgeries in the previous year when the hospital’s eligibility criteria required 100 and 100.  The surgeon alleged that the hospital violated antitrust laws, was in breach of contract, and conspired in restraint of trade.

In granting the hospital’s motion for summary judgment, the court held that a hospital and its medical staff were a “single economic entity for purposes of antitrust analysis” and, therefore, were not capable of conspiring under Section 1 of the Sherman Act and rejected the surgeon’s claim that the threshold eligibility criteria was evidence of the hospital’s intent to monopolize under Section 2 of the Sherman Act.  The court also rejected the surgeon’s argument that the hospital breached a third-party beneficiary agreement. The surgeon argued that the hospital’s bylaws created a contract between the hospital and its medical staff to review the surgeon’s application “in accordance with the terms of that contract.” The court stated, however, that the hospital did properly review the application, and that no state court decision had ever recognized an application for staff privileges as a third-party beneficiary to an agreement with medical staff bylaws.