810 F.3d 631 (9th Cir. 2015), 14-17050, P. Radiation Oncology, LLC v. Queen's Med. Ctr.
|Citation:||810 F.3d 631|
|Opinion Judge:||Richard C. Tallman, Circuit Judge:|
|Party Name:||PACIFIC RADIATION ONCOLOGY, LLC, a Hawai'i limited liability corporation; PRO ASSOCIATES, LLC, a Hawai'i limited liability company; JOHN LEDERER, M.D., individually and as manager of the LLC's appearing for the Pacific Radiation Oncology Physicians; LAETON PANG, M.D.; EVA BIENIEK, M.D.; VINCENT BROWN, M.D.; PAUL DEMARE, M.D.; THANH HUYNH, M.D.,...|
|Attorney:||Clare E. Connors (argued), Mark S. Davis, and Michael K. Livingston, Davis Levin Livingston, Honolulu, Hawaii, for Plaintiffs-Appellants. Jerry M. Hiatt (argued), and Mahilani E.K. Hiatt, Hiatt & Hiatt, Honoka'a, Hawaii, for Appellant-Intervenor. Paul Alston (argued), William S. Hunt, Clyde J. Wa...|
|Judge Panel:||Before: Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, Richard C. Tallman, and Milan D. Smith, Jr., Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Tallman.|
|Case Date:||December 22, 2015|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit|
PRO filed suit against QMC, alleging that QMC's adoption of a closed-facility model was a pretext to prevent PRO physicians from competing with QMC. PRO sought injunctive relief against QMC, arguing that QMC's review and use of patient records violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), 42 U.S.C. 1320d, and the Hawaii Constitution. The district court denied... (see full summary)
Argued and Submitted, Honolulu, Hawaii October 15, 2015.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. D.C. No. 1:12-cv-00064-LEK-KSC. Leslie E. Kobayashi, District Judge, Presiding.
The panel affirmed the district court's denial of injunctive relief sought by Pacific Radiation Oncology, LLC against The Queen's Medical Center.
Pacific Radiation Oncology, consisting of a group of physicians specializing in radiation oncology, sued the Queen's Medical Center alleging unfair trade practices. During discovery, Pacific Radiation Oncology sought injunctive relief against the Queen's Medical Center alleging that the Center's review and use of patient records during litigation violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, 42 U.S.C. § 1320d, and the Hawaii Constitution art. 1, § 6.
The panel held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Pacific Radiation Oncology's motion for a temporary restraining order or in the alternative for a preliminary injunction. The panel followed the Eighth Circuit and adopted the rule of Devose v. Herrington, 42 F.3d 470, 471 (8th Cir. 1994), which established that there must exist a relationship between the injury claimed in a motion for injunctive relief and the conduct alleged in the underlying complaint. The panel held that in this case there was not a sufficient nexus between Pacific Radiation Oncology's claim of injury to patients' privacy in its motion for injunctive relief and the unfair trade practice claims in its underlying complaint.
A court's equitable power lies only over the merits of the case or controversy before it. When a plaintiff seeks injunctive relief based on claims not pled in the complaint, the court does not have the authority to issue an injunction. During discovery of its unfair trade practices case, Appellant Pacific Radiation Oncology, LLC (PRO) sought injunctive relief against Appellee The Queen's Medical Center (QMC) arguing that QMC's review and use of patient records violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), 42 U.S.C. § 1320d, and the Hawaii Constitution art. 1, § 6. The district court denied the injunction because PRO's complaint did not contain a claim alleging improper review and use of confidential patient information in violation of HIPAA and the Hawaii Constitution. We affirm.
To understand the motion that is the subject of this appeal, it is necessary to describe the deterioration of a nearly forty-year professional relationship between PRO and QMC and the extended litigation that occurred as a result.
PRO consists of a group of physicians specializing in radiation oncology. PRO provided service to its patients at QMC, and at one of QMC's competitors, The Cancer Center of Hawaii (TCCH), in which some PRO members held a financial interest. But QMC is the only facility on Oahu with an operating room licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for specialized radiation services to treat cancer. During the course of their nearly forty-year relationship, PRO physicians were allowed to meet with and treat their patients at QMC in order to accommodate patient preferences in choosing the location of treatment. However, this relationship ended in 2011 when QMC decided to transition to a closed-facility model. As a result, PRO physicians could not practice at QMC at all unless they accepted exclusive employment with QMC and divested any interest they held in TCCH. PRO physicians, therefore, would no longer retain hospital privileges that allowed access to the NRC-licensed operating room...
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