Odom v. Fairbanks Memorial Hosp., No. S-8007.

CourtSupreme Court of Alaska (US)
Writing for the CourtCOMPTON, Justice.
Citation999 P.2d 123
PartiesDavid M. ODOM, M.D., Appellant, v. FAIRBANKS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, Lutheran Health Systems, Inc., Western Health Network, Inc., James H. Gingerich, Susan McLane, Linda Smith, Ronald L. Bliss, Hoi P. Lee, M.D., Steve E. Mancill, M.D., Jerry A. Perisho, M.D., Randall K. McGregor, M.D., Lawrence W. Stinson, Jr., M.D., Anesthesia Associates, Inc., William F. Stoddard, M.D., Danny R. Robinette, M.D., Appellees.
Decision Date17 March 2000
Docket NumberNo. S-8007.

999 P.2d 123

David M. ODOM, M.D., Appellant,
v.
FAIRBANKS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, Lutheran Health Systems, Inc., Western Health Network, Inc., James H. Gingerich, Susan McLane, Linda Smith, Ronald L. Bliss, Hoi P. Lee, M.D., Steve E. Mancill, M.D., Jerry A. Perisho, M.D., Randall K. McGregor, M.D., Lawrence W. Stinson, Jr., M.D., Anesthesia Associates, Inc., William F. Stoddard, M.D., Danny R. Robinette, M.D., Appellees

No. S-8007.

Supreme Court of Alaska.

March 17, 2000.


999 P.2d 126
David M. Odom, M.D., pro se, Fairbanks, and James Forbes, James Forbes, P.C., Anchorage, for Appellant

Howard A. Lazar, Delaney, Wiles, Hayes, Gerety & Ellis, Inc., Anchorage, and David L. White, White, Cummings & Longino, P.C., Phoenix, Arizona, for Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, Lutheran Health Systems, Inc., Western Health Network, Inc., James H. Gingerich, Susan McLane, Linda Smith, and Danny R. Robinette, M.D., Appellees.

Leroy J. Barker, Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh, Anchorage, for Ronald L. Bliss, Hoi P. Lee, M.D., Steve E. Mancill, M.D., Jerry A. Perisho, M.D., Randall K. McGregor, M.D., Lawrence W. Stinson, Jr., M.D., Anesthesia Associates, Inc., and William F. Stoddard, M.D., Appellees.

999 P.2d 127
Before MATTHEWS, Chief Justice, COMPTON, FABE, and BRYNER, Justices

OPINION

COMPTON, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

David M. Odom sued Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and various health care providers, asserting eleven separate claims for relief. All of Odom's claims were dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. He seeks reversal on eight of the dismissed claims. We reverse the superior court's order dismissing those eight claims.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

David M. Odom is a licensed physician. He was employed by Fairbanks Memorial Hospital (FMH) as an anesthesiologist from 1988 until his staff privileges were terminated in 1994. FMH is the only full service civilian hospital in Fairbanks. Anesthesiologists employed by FMH enter into an agreement (Anesthesiologist Agreement) with FMH which provides that each party to the Anesthesiologist Agreement will get a pro-rated share of the anesthesia practice at FMH.

In December 1992 Odom informed FMH administrators of his intention to establish an outpatient surgery center. It was Odom's announcement of his plans to open the Fairbanks Surgery Center (FSC), in potential competition with FMH, that Odom argues precipitated the events that resulted in the termination of his staff privileges.

In October 1993 Odom refused to work with nurse anesthetist Kay Wilson. FMH suspended Odom's staff privileges for twenty-four hours and his rights under the Anesthesiologist Agreement were terminated. Unable to exercise rights under the Anesthesiologist Agreement, Odom could get an anesthesiology assignment only if specifically requested by a patient or surgeon. His pro-rated share of the anesthesia work was distributed to the remaining five anesthesiologists. In December 1993 Odom's rights under the Anesthesiologist Agreement were reinstated.

FMH continued to conduct an investigation into quality assurance issues surrounding Odom's medical practices that were raised by other anesthesiologists. A Special Investigative Committee (SIC) was formed to investigate these issues. Upon FMH's request for an opinion as to what should be done in regard to Odom's staff privileges, the American Medico-Legal Foundation (AMLF) recommended that Odom attend "extensive [Continuing Medical Education] or ... repeat a period of anesthesia residency training." SIC, however, recommended that FMH suspend Odom's staff privileges.

In June 1994 the FMH Executive Committee recommended to its Governing Board that Odom's staff privileges be suspended until the earliest of one of the following occurred:

1. The request to the Governing Body that [Odom's] privileges be terminated is finally resolved; or
2. The Executive Committee approves a written proposal from [Odom] that [his] privileges be exercised only when [he is] accompanied by and supervised by an anesthesiologist with appropriate qualifications; or
3. [Odom] attend[s] further residency training or other proctored form of additional training which results in recommendations which satisfy the Executive Committee that [he has] identified and corrected the problems which have resulted in the substandard level of care reflected by the attached documents.

On August 22, 1994, Odom entered a formal evaluation/retraining program at Loma Linda University Medical Center. On September 10, while he was still in the retraining program, the Governing Board accepted the Executive Committee's recommendation to terminate Odom's medical staff membership and clinical privileges. Odom was informed of his termination on September 27. In compliance with 42 U.S.C. § 11133, FMH reported to a national reporting system that Odom's staff privileges had been terminated. The reasons given for Odom's termination were "Incompetence/Malpractice/Negligence." Persons who are the subjects of such a report are allowed to comment on the

999 P.2d 128
report; Odom did so. In his response, Odom alleged that the quality assurance investigation was a result of his announced intention to compete with FMH and that the information provided in the report was knowingly false

Upon Odom's completion of the program at Loma Linda, he reapplied for staff privileges at FMH and was denied.

Odom, pro se, brought suit against FMH, Lutheran Health System; Western Health Network; Former FMH Administrator James H. Gingerich; FMH Assistant Administrator Susan McLane; FMH Quality Assurance Manager Linda Smith; FMH attorney Ronald Bliss; medical doctors Hoi P. Lee, Steve E. Mancill, Jerry A. Perisho, Lawrence W. Stinson and William F. Stoddard; Anesthesia Associates, Inc.;1 and former Chief of the FMH Surgery Department, Danny R. Robinette (collectively FMH). Odom alleged eleven claims for relief: (1) unreasonable restraint of trade; (2) group boycott; (3) attempted monopolization; (4) defamation; (5) breach of contract; (6) unfair trade practices; (7) tortious interference with prospective economic advantages; (8) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (9) denial of due process and equal protection; (10) claim for declaratory relief; and (11) permanent injunction.

The superior court granted FMH's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Alaska Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), dismissing all of Odom's claims. It awarded FMH attorney's fees and costs in the amount of $7,220.30. It awarded the doctors and Anesthesia Associates, Inc. attorney's fees and costs in the amount of $5,520.00. Odom appeals the ruling as to eight of the eleven claims. Odom also appeals the superior court's order granting attorney's fees.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

An order dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim is reviewed de novo. See Kollodge v. State, 757 P.2d 1024, 1026 n. 4 (Alaska 1988). For a complaint to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint need only allege a set of facts "consistent with and appropriate to some enforceable cause of action." Linck v. Barokas & Martin, 667 P.2d 171, 173 (Alaska 1983). A complaint should be deemed sufficient, and a motion to dismiss denied, if "evidence may be introduced that will sustain a grant of relief to the plaintiff." Id. Because complaints should be liberally construed, "[m]otions to dismiss are viewed with disfavor and should rarely be granted." Kollodge, 757 P.2d at 1026.

B. The Superior Court Improperly Dismissed All of Odom's Claims Alleging That FMH Violated Alaska's Antitrust Statute, AS 45.50562-.596.

Odom alleges that FMH violated two separate provisions of Alaska's antitrust act, AS 45.50.562 and AS 45.50.564. He raises three claims: (1) unreasonable restraint of trade,2 (2) group boycott,3 and (3) unlawful monopoly.4 We look to federal precedent when analyzing an antitrust claim. See West v. Whitney-Fidalgo Seafoods, Inc., 628 P.2d 10, 14 (Alaska 1981) ("The legislature intended that Alaska courts would look to Sherman Act cases in construing the [antitrust] Act."). Claims brought under AS 45.50.562 are also referred to as Sherman Act § 1 claims; claims under AS 45.50.564 have been termed Sherman Act § 2 claims.

1. Odom alleged injury to competition overall, as is necessary for Odom to have standing to sue FMH for antitrust violations.

For a private litigant seeking treble damages to have standing, "[a] plaintiff must

999 P.2d 129
show not only the fact of injury from the alleged violation, but that the injury alleged is `of the type the antitrust laws were intended to prevent and that flows from that which makes defendants' acts unlawful.'" KOS v. Alyeska Pipeline Serv. Co., 676 P.2d 1069, 1073-74 (Alaska 1983) (quoting Brunswick Corp. v. Pueblo Bowl-O-Mat, Inc., 429 U.S. 477, 479, 97 S.Ct. 690, 50 L.Ed.2d 701 (1977)). Furthermore, the "plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant's conduct was intended to or did have some anticompetitive effect beyond his own loss of business or the market's loss of a competitor." KOS, 676 P.2d at 1074 (quoting California Computer Prods., Inc. v. International Bus. Machs. Corp., 613 F.2d 727, 732 (9th Cir.1979)).

Paragraphs 7 and 135 of Odom's complaint allege facts sufficient to establish standing to sue under Alaska's antitrust statute.5

In a similar case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that a doctor proved injury to competition and had standing to sue for having his medical staff privileges terminated. See Pinhas v. Summit Health, Ltd., 880 F.2d 1108 (9th Cir.1989). The doctor alleged that the "conspiracy was intended to boycott his attempts at providing patients with lower prices as a result of his ability to perform operations at a rate quicker than that of his competitors." Id. at 1116. The court held that Pinhas could prove injury to competition by showing "that his preclusion ... substantially reduced total...

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39 practice notes
  • White v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc., SJC-09157 (MA 6/11/2004), SJC-09157
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • June 11, 2004
    ...v. Mt. Desert Island Hosp., supra at 11; Chrzanowski v. Lichtman, 884 F. Supp. 751, 755 (W.D.N.Y. 1995); Odom v. Fairbanks Memorial Hosp., 999 P.2d 123, 130-131 (Alaska 2000); McKinney v. County of Santa Clara, 110 Cal. App. 3d 787, 797 (1980); Colonial Stores Inc. v. Barrett, 73 Ga. App. 8......
  • In re Dynamic Random Access Mem. (Dram) Antitrust, No. M02-1486PJH.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • June 1, 2007
    ...that expresses no opinion about indirect purchaser standing, and the Supreme Court's decision in Odom v. Fairbanks Mem. Page 1108 Hosp., 999 P.2d 123, 131-32 (Alaska 2000), a controlling state court case in which the court held that certain conduct may give rise to violations under both Ala......
  • White v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • June 11, 2004
    ...v. Mt. Desert Island Hosp., supra at 11; Chrzanowski v. Lichtman, 884 F. Supp. 751, 755 (W.D.N.Y. 1995); Odom v. Fairbanks Memorial Hosp., 999 P.2d 123, 130-131 (Alaska 2000); McKinney v. County of Santa Clara, 110 Cal.App.3d 787, 797 (1980); Colonial Stores Inc. v. Barrett, 73 Ga. App. 839......
  • Burton v. Fountainhead Dev., Inc., Supreme Court No. S-15990
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • March 17, 2017
    ...[was] at issue.").31 K & K Recycling, Inc. v. Alaska Gold Co., 80 P.3d 702, 717 (Alaska 2003) (citing Odom v. Fairbanks Mem'l Hosp., 999 P.2d 123, 132 (Alaska 2000) ). The claim's elements are: "(1) an existing prospective business relationship between [the plaintiff] and a third party; (2)......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
39 cases
  • White v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc., SJC-09157 (MA 6/11/2004), SJC-09157
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • June 11, 2004
    ...v. Mt. Desert Island Hosp., supra at 11; Chrzanowski v. Lichtman, 884 F. Supp. 751, 755 (W.D.N.Y. 1995); Odom v. Fairbanks Memorial Hosp., 999 P.2d 123, 130-131 (Alaska 2000); McKinney v. County of Santa Clara, 110 Cal. App. 3d 787, 797 (1980); Colonial Stores Inc. v. Barrett, 73 Ga. App. 8......
  • In re Dynamic Random Access Mem. (Dram) Antitrust, No. M02-1486PJH.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • June 1, 2007
    ...that expresses no opinion about indirect purchaser standing, and the Supreme Court's decision in Odom v. Fairbanks Mem. Page 1108 Hosp., 999 P.2d 123, 131-32 (Alaska 2000), a controlling state court case in which the court held that certain conduct may give rise to violations under both Ala......
  • White v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • June 11, 2004
    ...v. Mt. Desert Island Hosp., supra at 11; Chrzanowski v. Lichtman, 884 F. Supp. 751, 755 (W.D.N.Y. 1995); Odom v. Fairbanks Memorial Hosp., 999 P.2d 123, 130-131 (Alaska 2000); McKinney v. County of Santa Clara, 110 Cal.App.3d 787, 797 (1980); Colonial Stores Inc. v. Barrett, 73 Ga. App. 839......
  • Burton v. Fountainhead Dev., Inc., Supreme Court No. S-15990
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • March 17, 2017
    ...[was] at issue.").31 K & K Recycling, Inc. v. Alaska Gold Co., 80 P.3d 702, 717 (Alaska 2003) (citing Odom v. Fairbanks Mem'l Hosp., 999 P.2d 123, 132 (Alaska 2000) ). The claim's elements are: "(1) an existing prospective business relationship between [the plaintiff] and a third party; (2)......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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