574 F.3d 414 (7th Cir. 2009), 08-1966, Botvinick v. Rush University Medical Center
|Citation:||574 F.3d 414|
|Opinion Judge:||TINDER, Circuit Judge.|
|Party Name:||Bradley BOTVINICK, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. RUSH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER, et al., Defendants-Appellees.|
|Attorney:||Brian A. Schroeder, Attorney (argued), David A. Novoselsky, Attorney, Novoselsky Law Offices, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellant. Thomas E. Johnson, Attorney (argued), Johnson, Jones, Snelling, Gilbert & Davis, Chicago, IL, for Defendants-Appellees.|
|Judge Panel:||Before BAUER, SYKES, and TINDER, Circuit Judges.|
|Case Date:||July 24, 2009|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit|
Argued April 6, 2009.
After Bradley Botvinick completed his residency in anesthesiology at Rush University Medical Center ("Rush"), he obtained employment with Anesthesiology Associates of Dunedin ("AAD"), a Florida doctors' association. Botvinick lost that job, however, when the hospital where AAD doctors practice denied Botvinick's application for clinical privileges. Believing that Rush sabotaged his application by feeding the hospital false, petty information about his reputation, Botvinick sued Rush and several of its doctors for tortious interference with his expectation of employment. The district court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment, concluding that Botvinick lacked evidence that the defendants interfered with his application for privileges. We agree with the district court that Botvinick failed to create a genuine issue of material fact on his tortious interference claim and, accordingly, affirm.
Botvinick was a resident in Rush's anesthesiology department from 2004 to 2005. Although Botvinck's clinical skills were solid, his professional reputation came under fire amid a departmental scandal involving sex, lies, and possibly identity theft. In December 2004, Dr. Heather Nath, an attending physician at Rush, received an uninvited delivery of sexually explicit items from the " Lover's Lane" company. Nath, unamused by this sophomoric prank, complained to the department head and decided to do a little investigating of her own. Nath's first clue as to the prankster's identity was the Lover's Lane delivery invoice, which conspicuously identified " Brad Botvinick" as the purchaser.
Botvinick countered with evidence that he was framed. Rush's data processing department had tracked down the computer used to place the Lover's Lane order, and Botvinick claimed that he was nowhere near that computer, or even in the same building, at the time of the order. Botvinick deduced that the real culprit stole his credit card and used it to go on a Lover's Lane online spending spree. Rush apparently either accepted this explanation or simply dropped the matter, as Rush never took formal disciplinary action against Botvinick in connection with this sex-toy scandal.
Near the end of his residency, Botvinick entered into an employment contract with AAD, an association of doctors who practice at two Florida hospitals connected to Morton Plant Mease Health Care ("Morton"). Since AAD doctors work at Morton, Botvinck's employment at AAD depended on receiving clinical privileges to practice at Morton. In April 2005, Morton gave Botvinick temporary privileges in connection with his new job at AAD, and Botvinick began Morton's application process for permanent privileges. Among the references that Botvinick provided to Morton's credential committee were Drs. David Rothenberg and Kenneth Tuman, attending physicians at Rush. Botvinick assumed that Morton, in turn, sent Rothenberg and Tuman evaluation forms to complete. Dr. Anthony Ivankovich, Botvinick's supervisor at Rush, also sent Morton
a letter regarding Botvinick's qualifications.
After completing Rush's residency program in June 2005, Botvinick was set to move out to Florida for his job with AAD. Morton's credential committee, however, would soon upset Botvinick's career plans. On August 1, Botvinick received a phone call from Dr. Bruce Fagan, the head of AAD's anesthesiology department, who said that Morton had received negative evaluations on Botvinick. The next day, Botvinick received another phone call from Dr. Bernard Macik, a member of Morton's credential committee, who also referred to negative evaluations and informed Botvinick that Morton was suspending his temporary privileges. Botvinick testified that he assumed that these negative evaluations came from Rothenberg and Tuman, although he acknowledged that Macik did not identify the source of the negative information.
At that point, Botvinick's prospects for privileges at Morton were looking grim, but Morton had not yet completed its evaluation. Dr. Richard Shea, also a member of Morton's credential committee, requested to speak with Ivankovich...
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