163 F.3d 119 (2nd Cir. 1998), 96-9261, Greenwood v. New York, Office of Mental Health

Docket Nº:96-9261.
Citation:163 F.3d 119
Party Name:Albert GREENWOOD, M.D., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. The State OF NEW YORK, Office of Mental Health; Manhattan Psychiatric Center; Gabrial Koz, M.D.; Michael H. Ford, M.D.; Yves Chenier, M.D.; Miodrag Ristich, M.D.; Willy Mautner, M.D.; Kenneth Kahaner, M.D.; and Ruby Cohen Pasini, C.S.W., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:December 11, 1998
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 119

163 F.3d 119 (2nd Cir. 1998)

Albert GREENWOOD, M.D., Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

The State OF NEW YORK, Office of Mental Health; Manhattan

Psychiatric Center; Gabrial Koz, M.D.; Michael H. Ford,

M.D.; Yves Chenier, M.D.; Miodrag Ristich, M.D.; Willy

Mautner, M.D.; Kenneth Kahaner, M.D.; and Ruby Cohen

Pasini, C.S.W., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 96-9261.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

December 11, 1998

Argued Nov. 16, 1998.

Page 120

John M. McLaughlin, Auburndale, NY, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Thomas B. Litsky, Assistant Attorney General of New York, Albany, N.Y. (Dennis Vacco, Attorney General of New York, John W. McConnell, Deputy Solicitor General, Michael Belohlavek, Assistant Attorney General, on the brief), for Defendants-Appellees.

Before: CALABRESI, SACK, and SOTOMAYOR, Circuit Judges.

CALABRESI, Circuit Judge:

Plaintiff-appellant Albert Greenwood appeals from a judgment dated August 29, 1996 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Loretta A. Preska, District Judge ). The district court granted summary judgment to the defendant-appellee state officials in Greenwood's suit brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; it did so on the ground that the officials had qualified immunity. 1 We disagree with the court's conclusion that Greenwood's property right in his clinical staff privileges was not

Page 121

clearly established and that the state officials were therefore entitled to qualified immunity on Greenwood's property claim. We agree with the district court, however, that the state officials had qualified immunity with respect to Greenwood's liberty claim. Accordingly, we affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand for further proceedings.

BACKGROUND

Greenwood is a licensed psychiatrist. In 1977, he began working on the staff of the New York State Office of Mental Health ("OMH") in the OMH's Manhattan Psychiatric Clinic ("MPC"). In 1978, Greenwood received a permanent appointment at the MPC with the title of Psychiatrist II. As part of his MPC position, Greenwood obtained full clinical staff privileges.

The staff organization at the MPC to which Greenwood belonged was governed by the MPC By-laws, Rules and Regulations of the Medical Staff ("By-laws"). The By-laws and the Policy and Procedure Manual promulgated pursuant to them provided that staff members had a "right to due process ... where specific clinical privileges have been denied, disallowed, restricted or suspended."

Greenwood alleges that the defendant-appellee state officials ("MPC doctors"), all of whom were doctors at the MPC, conspired to destroy his career because of their unhappiness with his prior performance as president of the MPC staff. In November and December 1981, the MPC doctors began an investigation into four patient deaths that had occurred in Greenwood's ward. As a result of this investigation, which Greenwood contends was a sham, the MPC doctors concluded that Greenwood had been grossly negligent in his care of the four patients in question. The doctors recommended that Greenwood's clinical staff privileges be revoked and that he be demoted. Thereafter, Greenwood claims, the MPC doctors disseminated defamatory information about his medical skills to other hospitals and law enforcement personnel.

The recommendations of the MPC doctors were adopted by defendant-appellee Gabriel Koz, the MPC Director at the time, without any administrative hearing or notice to Greenwood. Koz also denied Greenwood's administrative appeal of these decisions on January 19, 1982. The MPC then moved to terminate Greenwood for cause, and over the next six years an arbitrator held hearings on the issue.

In 1988, the arbitrator concluded that--although Greenwood had been negligent in some cases--there was not just cause to fire him from the MPC. Moreover, the arbitrator found that the investigation of Greenwood was in bad faith, as "MPC's facility management was operating as a renegade .... [in] pursuing a personal vendetta against Dr. Greenwood." As a result of this ruling, Greenwood was reinstated to the MPC staff in 1989, but without the clinical privileges that he had previously enjoyed. Greenwood...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP