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Maimon v. Sisters of the Third Order

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 30, 1983.

A. CURRIE MAIMON, M.D., PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

THE SISTERS OF THE THIRD ORDER OF ST. FRANCIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of McLean County; the Hon. James A. Knecht, Judge, presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Dr. Maimon was expelled from hospital staff privileges.

He sought — and obtained — a permanent injunction against the hospital from carrying out that expulsion.

The injunction was improvidently granted.

We reverse and remand.

The order below granted Dr. Maimon summary judgment and permanently enjoined the religious order from expelling him from admitting privileges at St. Anthony's Hospital based upon the charges which make up the facts of this appeal.

FACTS

On March 17, 1982, the board of managers of St. Anthony's Hospital in Rockford, Illinois, voted to affirm the expulsion of Dr. Currie Maimon, M.D., from staff privileges. The recommendation had been formulated and approved following two committee meetings held by the hospital staff, both recommending that Dr. Maimon be expelled.

The expulsion followed 1 1/2 years of confrontations between Dr. Maimon and various members of the hospital administration. The culmination of the prior 1 1/2 years occurred on May 1, 1981, when Dr. John Tillis, secretary of St. Anthony's ad hoc obstetrics/gynecological (OB/GYN) executive committee, sent a letter to Dr. Joseph Perez, chairman of St. Anthony's credentials committee, indicating that Dr. Maimon may have been involved in improper conduct in an obstetrical case. The gist of the complaint was that Dr. Maimon had attempted to induce labor in a pregnant patient in an effort to convenience himself rather than in the best interests of his patient. Dr. Tillis' letter prompted Douglas Bruce, the administrator and chief executive officer of the hospital — in consultation with Dr. Harold Zenisek, the hospital chief of staff — to request the credentials committee to take corrective action against Dr. Maimon.

The credentials committee met on May 7, 1981, to consider the request for expulsion. Pursuant to St. Anthony's bylaws, Dr. Zenisek sat as a member ex officio of the committee, without vote. The committee voted to recommend the expulsion of Dr. Maimon.

Dr. Maimon appealed the credentials committee's adverse recommendation pursuant to St. Anthony's bylaws. The appeal took the form of a full hearing before an ad hoc committee selected from the entire medical staff. The first hearing was convened August 4, 1981. Just prior to the taking of testimony on that day, the parties settled on four specific charges which were to be preferred. The charges were:

"a. That during the time when he was allegedly suspended from admitting patients to the hospital he made entries on a patient's charge and removed an EKG strip from the hospital in violation of hospital rules.

b. That during the same period of suspension he admitted a patient to the hospital and participated in the patient's treatment.

c. That he failed to cooperate with the Professional Services Review Organization (PSRO) in four cases.

d. That he administered a drug to a pregnant patient to induce labor in violation of hospital rules."

On December 4, 1981, the ad hoc committee made a written report to the board of managers of the hospital recommending that Dr. Maimon be expelled. The vote was six in favor of expulsion, two opposed. On March 17, 1982, the board of managers affirmed the recommendation of expulsion effective April 1, 1982.

On March 30, 1982, Dr. Maimon filed a complaint in circuit court seeking injunctive and other relief accompanied by a motion for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction. A temporary restraining order was entered on March 31, 1982, and formalized April 5, 1982. A preliminary injunction was issued on April 30, 1982. The cause was heard in the lower court on cross-motions for summary judgment. On February 7, 1983, the court below granted Dr. Maimon's motion for summary judgment and ordered that the hospital be permanently enjoined from expelling him, or interfering in any way with his staff privileges, based upon matters presented to the ad hoc committee. The hospital filed a motion for rehearing which was denied May 2, 1983.

GENERAL RULE

• 1, 2 Before discussing the procedures involved in this case, we note the general rule in cases such as this is that a court should not act to annul expulsions from hospitals unless unfairness is demonstrated by the fact that the procedures followed violated the constitution or bylaws of the hospital. (See Jain v. Northwest Community Hospital (1978), 67 Ill. App.3d 420, 385 N.E.2d 108.) Our supreme court has carved out one narrow exception to what we view as the general rule of nonreview. In Van Daele v. Vinci (1972), 51 Ill.2d 389, 282 N.E.2d 728, the court found that the record of the proceedings clearly demonstrated partiality or bias on the part of the body which actually expelled the plaintiff. In Van Daele, several members of the board were named defendants in a derivative suit brought by the expellees. In this suit there is no question about any potential bias or impartiality of any of the members of the board of governors or the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis which was the body which actually expelled Dr. Maimon. Under these circumstances we find that Van Daele has no application to the case before us. We are ...


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