Ryan v. Putnam, 091819 FED9, 18-55253

Docket Nº:18-55253
Party Name:TIMOTHY RYAN, M.D., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. BRANT PUTNAM, M.D.; et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Judge Panel:Before: OWENS, R. NELSON, and MILLER, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:September 18, 2019
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

TIMOTHY RYAN, M.D., Plaintiff-Appellant,


BRANT PUTNAM, M.D.; et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 18-55253

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

September 18, 2019


Argued and Submitted September 11, 2019 Pasadena, California

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California Manuel L. Real, District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 2:17-cv-05752-R-RAO

Before: OWENS, R. NELSON, and MILLER, Circuit Judges.


Plaintiff Timothy Ryan, a doctor at Harbor-UCLA hospital, alleges that he discovered fraudulent conduct at the hospital and eventually reported that misconduct to law enforcement authorities. As alleged in the complaint, doctors at the hospital retaliated with an adverse employment action, initiating disciplinary proceedings, voting to revoke his staff privileges, and giving him notice of intent to suspend, all of which affected his ability to secure future employment. Dr. Ryan sues under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for retaliation in violation of the First Amendment. The district court dismissed his claim at the pleading stage, holding that the doctors were entitled to qualified immunity. We reverse.

"To be 'clearly established, the contours of the right must be sufficiently clear that a reasonable official would understand that what he is doing violates that right.'" Acosta v. City of Costa Mesa, 718 F.3d 800, 824 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 640 (1987)). "To determine whether a constitutional right has been clearly established for qualified immunity purposes, we must survey the legal landscape and examine those cases that are most like the instant case." Krainski v. Nevada ex rel. Bd. of Regents of Nevada Sys. of Higher Educ., 616 F.3d 963, 970 (9th Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). We review de novo a determination that government officials are entitled to qualified immunity. Ass'n for L.A. Deputy Sheriffs v. Cty. of Los Angeles, 648 F.3d 986, 991 (9th Cir. 2011). In doing so, we accept all "factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe the pleadings in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Knievel...

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