Plaintiff physician appealed an order of the

Plaintiff physician appealed an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which entered a judgment of dismissal after sustaining the demurrer of defendants (a, nonprofit corporation, a hospital, a medical group partnership, and its various representatives) to plaintiff’s complaint for damages and injunctive relief, after defendants dismissed him from their surgery residency program at the hospital.

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Overview

In reliance on representations made to him, plaintiff physician accepted an offer of surgical residency at defendant hospital, whereby he would be employed for the three remaining years necessary to complete his residency. Plaintiff was notified after two years that he would not be permitted to complete the residency program. No notice of charges had been given, and neither was plaintiff afforded a hearing or opportunity to respond prior to his termination. Plaintiff filed suit for damages and injunctive relief against the hospital and others. Plaintiff was later discharged. The trial court, after sustaining a demurrer without leave to amend, eventually dismissed the action. On appeal, plaintiff contended that the circumstances of his dismissal did not comport with common law rights of “fair procedure.” The court found that plaintiff had stated a valid claim for wrongful denial of “fair procedure” by alleging that his dismissal would effectively prevent his entry into the medical specialty for which his residency training was preparing him. As such, the trial court erred in sustaining the demurrer to certain causes of action of the complaint, and the order below was reversed.

Outcome

Judgment of dismissal was reversed, as the trial court had erred in sustaining defendants’ demurrer to certain causes of action of the complaint by plaintiff physician. Plaintiff had stated a valid claim for a wrongful denial of “fair procedure” by alleging that his dismissal from defendants’ surgical residency program would effectively prevent his entry into the medical specialty for which his residency training had been preparing him.