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No Standing to Sue Former Employer or Hospital for Failure to Fund Physician Practice
Description Appeals court upheld dismissal of suit by physician against former employing physician and hospital that refused to bankroll a new practice she wished to start in competition with her former employer. There was no interference with her right to open a practice, so no standing under the Sherman Act.
Topic Antitrust
Key Words Standing, Restraint of Trade, Injury
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Dr. Johnson joined the obstetrics practice of Dr. Fadel. She soon became unhappy with the arrangement, contending she was not being given enough patients. She wanted to set up her own practice, and so met with the physician recruiter at the hospital used by their patients. Johnson claimed the recruiter promised her an $800,000 line of credit and a guaranteed annual income of at least $200,000 a year. The hospital board voted not to make her such an offer. Fadel fired her; she moved to another city and sued for conspiracy to restrain trade in violation of the Sherman Act. District court dismissed the suit; Johnson appealed.
Decision Affirmed. Johnson lacked standing to maintain an antitrust claim. There was no antitrust injury arising from the hospital's decision not to grant her the money to start her own practice. The initial oral discussions with the hospital recruiter did not form a contract. The hospital encouraged her to remain in the area, and she had privileges at the hospital, but it had no duty to bankroll her practice. Her freedom to compete in that market was not restrained; it just was not subsidized.
Citation Johnson v. University Health Services, Inc., 161 F.3d 1334 (11th Cir., 1998)

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