221 F.3d 1160 (10th Cir. 2000), 99-1377, Munoz v St. Mary-Corwin Hospital

Docket Nº:99-1377 & 99-1391
Citation:221 F.3d 1160
Party Name:DAVID C. MUNOZ, M.D. Plaintiff-Appellant- Cross-Appellee, v. ST. MARY-CORWIN HOSPITAL; ST. MARY-CORWIN REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER OF PUEBLO, COLORADO, a Colorado nonprofit corporation; SISTERS OF CHARITY HEALTH SERVICES COLORADO, a Colorado corporation; CENTURA HEALTH CORPORATION, a Colorado corporation, Defendants-Appellees- Cross-Appellants.
Case Date:August 07, 2000
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

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221 F.3d 1160 (10th Cir. 2000)

DAVID C. MUNOZ, M.D. Plaintiff-Appellant- Cross-Appellee,


ST. MARY-CORWIN HOSPITAL; ST. MARY-CORWIN REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER OF PUEBLO, COLORADO, a Colorado nonprofit corporation; SISTERS OF CHARITY HEALTH SERVICES COLORADO, a Colorado corporation; CENTURA HEALTH CORPORATION, a Colorado corporation, Defendants-Appellees- Cross-Appellants.

Nos. 99-1377 & 99-1391

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

August 7, 2000


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Diane MacArthur Brown of Olsen & Brown, L.L.C., Niwot, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellant-Cross-Appellee.

Glenn H. Schlabs and William L. Sasz of Sherman & Howard, L.L.C., Colorado Springs, Colorado, for Defendants-Appellees-Cross-Appellants.

Before TACHA, PORFILIO, and EBEL, Circuit Judges.

TACHA, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff David C. Munoz, M.D., appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment to St. Mary-Corwin Hospital, St. Mary-Corwin Regional Medical Center of Pueblo, Colorado, Sisters of Charity Health Services Colorado, and Centura Health Corporation (defendants) on his complaint alleging that defendants illegally discriminated against him on the basis of his age and national origin. Plaintiff brought his federal claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-2000e-17. Plaintiff also asserted state law claims for breach of contract and promissory estoppel. In a cross-appeal, defendants challenge the district court's denial of their request for an award of costs. We exercise jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We affirm the district court's grant of summary judgment on behalf of defendants and reverse and remand as to defendants' appeal of the court's denial of costs.1

I. Background

In the summer of 1994, plaintiff entered a three-year residency program at St. Mary-Corwin Hospital in Pueblo, Colorado, under the direction of Dr. Charles Raye. Residents in the program received quarterly performance evaluations from the faculty. Upon starting the program, plaintiff signed an employment agreement setting out the obligations and expectations of the residents and the hospital. The agreement provided that a resident could only be terminated for cause, and set out a grievance process whereby a resident subjected to an adverse employment action would receive written notice of the action and a right to appeal the action to the Graduate Medical Education Committee (the Committee). Any appeal of an adverse employment action was to be conducted according to the program's due process policy which provided for a hearing at which the resident could present information relevant to the appeal. The resident was to receive a written decision.

Plaintiff claims that soon after he started the residency program, Dr. Raye targeted him for criticism. Following plaintiff's first evaluation, considered good, although it expressed concern with plaintiff's failure to thoroughly check out every patient and his performance of procedures without required supervision, Dr. Raye began to closely supervise plaintiff's performance. In November 1994, plaintiff performed a circumcision without faculty supervision. The procedure was not done correctly and a urologist was required to correct the circumcision. Plaintiff was directed not to perform any more unsupervised procedures. Later that day, plaintiff violated this directive and was observed doing another unsupervised circumcision.

On February 22, 1995, plaintiff was placed on probation. He did not avail himself of the program's grievance process regarding the warning for performing unsupervised procedures or the probation action. Plaintiff was ultimately terminated from the program on April 10, 1995. In Dr. Raye's memorandum to plaintiff's file regarding termination, he detailed numerous other infractions of the rules regarding patient care by plaintiff. See Appellant's App. Vol. III at 611-12. Plaintiff grieved

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his termination and was present at a hearing before the Committee. The Committee upheld plaintiff's termination.

Because some faculty members expressed concern that plaintiff's trouble with the program may have been caused by psychological problems, the committee agreed to meet to reconsider plaintiff's termination based on the outcome of a voluntary psychiatric evaluation. Plaintiff was told that he may or may not be included in this second meeting. Following consideration of the plaintiff's psychiatric evaluation, the committee met without plaintiff in attendance and affirmed its decision to terminate him from the residency program.

Plaintiff appealed the Committee's termination decision to the hospital's acting CEO, Dr. William Turman. Following a meeting with plaintiff and consideration of all the information he had been given regarding plaintiff's performance in the program, Dr. Turman denied plaintiff's appeal, finding that it would be "inappropriate for [plaintiff] to continue in the Residency." Id. at 667.

Plaintiff brought this action in federal court alleging that his termination was based on age and national origin discrimination. Plaintiff also asserted state law claims for breach of contract, alleging that his termination was without cause and violated due process--and promissory estoppel, claiming he reasonably relied on defendants' affirmative action policy. The district court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment on all of plaintiff's claims.

On appeal, plaintiff contends that the district court erred in (1) granting defendants summary judgment on his breach of contract and estoppel claims; (2) granting defendants summary judgment on his claims of age and national origin discrimination; (3) striking plaintiff's expert rebuttal witness; and (4) denying plaintiff's motion to compel discovery. We will address each of these in turn.

II. Discussion - No. 99-1377

A. Standard of Review

We review the district court's grant of summary judgment de novo, applying the same legal standard as the court below. Bullington v. United Air Lines, Inc., 186 F.3d 1301, 1313 (10th Cir. 1999). Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In applying this standard, we examine the factual record and draw reasonable inferences therefrom in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Bullington, 186 F.3d at 1313. As the moving parties, defendants shoulder "the initial burden to show that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Thomas v. IBM, 48 F.3d 478, 484 (10th Cir. 1995) (further quotation omitted). If defendants meet this burden, it falls to plaintiff to "identify specific facts that show the existence of a genuine issue of material fact." Id. "The party opposing the motion must present sufficient evidence in specific, factual form for a jury to return a verdict in that party's favor." Id. (further quotation omitted).

B. Breach of Contract and Promissory Estoppel Claims

Plaintiff asserted state law breach of contract claims alleging defendants...

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