New York Federal Court Takes Different Stance on Medical Staff Bylaws

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On April 14, MedLaw Blog posted a comment about Villare v. Beebe Medical Center, a case in which a Delaware trial court granted summary judgment on the basis that the medical staff bylaws were held not to constitute a contract between the hospital and the individual physicians in Delaware.  Villare sited a New York case, Mason v. Central Suffolk Hospital as precedent that standard contract law does not create a contract based upon medical staff bylaws.  Note this is the minority position among the jurisdictions.

Ironically, a New York federal district court, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, has just decided a case which creates an interesting twist.  Although Kaufman v. Columbia Memorial Hospital is only a denial of a pretrial motion to dismiss, the case nevertheless holds that an employment contract between the physician and the hospital which incorporates the procedures of the due process procedures of the medical staff bylaws can make those due process procedures a contractual obligation, even if the medical staff bylaws are not a contract per say in the jurisdiction. 

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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