Ang v. Hospital Corp. of America, 1-379A96

CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana
Citation395 N.E.2d 441,182 Ind.App. 381
Docket NumberNo. 1-379A96,1-379A96
PartiesDr. K. T. ANG, Appellant (Plaintiff Below), v. HOSPITAL CORPORATION OF AMERICA d/b/a Terre Haute Regional Hospital and Regional Radiologists, Inc., Appellees (Defendants Below).
Decision Date11 October 1979

Page 441

395 N.E.2d 441
182 Ind.App. 381
Dr. K. T. ANG, Appellant (Plaintiff Below),
Hospital and Regional Radiologists, Inc.,
Appellees (Defendants Below).
No. 1-379A96.
Court of Appeals of Indiana, First District.
Oct. 11, 1979.

[182 Ind.App. 382]

Page 442

Stephen L. Trueblood, Bolin & Trueblood, Terre Haute, for appellant.

Gus Sacopulos, Sacopulos, Crawford and Johnson, Terre Haute, James L. Peterson, Ice, Miller, Donadio & Ryan, Indianapolis, Arnold H. Brames, Terre Haute, for appellees.


Dr. K. T. Ang (Dr. Ang) appeals from the granting of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, Hospital Corporation of America (Hospital) and Dr. McCormick, 1 on Dr. Ang's claim of breach of contract and tortious interference of contractual relations. We reverse and remand for trial.

The facts are that Dr. Ang began practice on the staff of St. Anthony's Hospital in the radiology department on January 24, 1972. His only contractual relationship, however, was with the then-director, Dr. Hogan. Dr. Ang was first an associate, and then a partner, of Dr. Hogan. Dr. Hogan, in turn, did have a contractual relationship with the hospital. The relationship between the hospital and the doctors was not that of employer and employees, but rather the doctors would perform the type of services or speciality needed at the hospital as cases required. The hospital did not bill the patients or guarantee income or workload; rather this task was left to Drs. Hogan and Ang.

[182 Ind.App. 383] This arrangement continued until July 1, 1975, when the Hospital took over St. Anthony's Hospital. The Hospital decided a new director was needed to revitalize the radiology department and began the search for one. Dr. Hogan and Dr. Ang were informed of this development. Dr. Hogan resigned on May 17, 1976, and Dr. Ang was left doing most of the work with the assistance of a semi-retired doctor. No written contract was entered into between the Hospital and Dr. Ang. The working relationship was left as it had been under Dr. Hogan's tenure.

Realizing that a new director was to come in, Dr. Ang sought to protect himself by entering into a "Notification of Termination Agreement" with the hospital. This agreement provided that either party wanting to terminate Dr. Ang's "services" would have to give 90 days written notice to the other. This document was signed by Dr. Ang and the Hospital administrator on

Page 443

March 25, 1976. 2 Otherwise the working relationship was left status quo.

On August 8 or 9, Dr. McCormick began duty as the new director. His understanding was that he would have full and complete control. It was only upon starting his practice that he found out about the Dr. Ang termination agreement. Dr. McCormick and Dr. Ang did negotiate as to whether Dr. Ang could join the Dr. McCormick "team", but they could not reach an agreement. Notice of termination was given Dr. Ang by the Hospital administrator on August 9, 1976.

[182 Ind.App. 384] Dr. Ang contends that Dr. McCormick and the hospital administration "conspired" to decrease his workload and thus decrease his income during this 90 day period. Dr. Ang further contends that these actions were a breach of his understanding of the agreement reached between the hospital and himself, and that Dr. McCormick's actions constituted tortious interference with this contractual relationship.

After deposing Dr. Ang, Dr. McCormick, and the Hospital administrator, the defendants moved for and were granted summary judgment with the trial court finding that there were no contractual relationships between Dr. Ang and the defendants, and no conspiracy to deprive Dr. Ang of work.

The sole issue in this case is whether summary judgment is...

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