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DRAGHI v. COUNTY OF COOK

November 10, 1997

THOMAS DRAGHI, M.D., M.P.H., Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF COOK, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHADUR

 Dr. Thomas Draghi ("Draghi") has filed a multicount Complaint--now an Amended Complaint ("AC")--against the County of Cook ("County"), the Cook County Board ("Board") and its members, and several members of the top echelon at Cook County Hospital ("Hospital"), charging them with:

 
1. federal law violations, actionable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983"), *fn1" of Draghi's constitutional rights by reason of his original suspension and then the later termination of his employment as a physician at Hospital, as well as of his medical staff membership and clinical privileges at Hospital; and
 
2. violations of his rights under state law, advanced under supplemental jurisdiction principles (28 U.S.C. § 1367(a)).

 All defendants have filed motions under Rule 12(b)(6) to dismiss the AC for failure to state a claim (Board's motion differs from the others in that it asserts that it is not a suable entity under state law), and County and the three Hospital personnel have also filed a Rule 56 motion for summary judgment. All motions are now fully briefed.

 If and to the extent that the four defendants' Rule 56 motion turns out to be successful, the same legal principles also call for a corresponding ruling in favor of Board (if it is suable at all) and Board's members as well. And if and to the extent that the principal Rule 12(b)(6) motion were to prove successful, those dismissals of certain claims would also benefit not just the movants but all of the defendants. For those reasons, this opinion will simply use the collective term "defendants" in referring to the several movants, even though this Court's usual preference in its opinions is to identify the litigants in less generic terms.

 For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, defendants' Rule 56 motion is granted as to most but not all of Draghi's federal claims and to two of Draghi's three state law claims. To the extent that his federal claims do survive summary judgment for now, however, Draghi must provide further input to bring himself within the coverage of Section 1983. And that being true, any final decision as to the disposition of Draghi's other state law claim is also deferred.

 Facts

 As Rules 12(b)(6) and 56 respectively require, this opinion looks at Draghi's allegations and his Rule-56-advanced facts in a manner favorable to him (with reasonable inferences drawn in his favor). Because a minimalist approach to the factual background is all that is needed for present purposes, the Facts section of this opinion can be quite brief.

 There is no question that Draghi's clinical privileges at Hospital were summarily suspended on October 18, 1993. There is also no dispute between the parties that Cook County Medical Staff Bylaws Art. VII, § 9 operated automatically to suspend Draghi's employment at the same time, so that Draghi rendered no services at Hospital at any time after October 1983. What then ensued was considerable and protracted administrative activity, carried out in accordance with the provisions governing Hospital's committee and staff structure, with the following sequence of events ultimately taking place in 1995:

 
1. On February 7 Board voted unanimously to adopt the recommendation that had been made by Hospital's Joint Conference Committee, that Draghi's medical staff membership and clinical privileges be wholly and permanently terminated.
 
2. On March 7 the Joint Conference Committee (to which the matter had been returned for consideration pursuant to the Medical Staff Bylaws provision) voted to retain that original recommendation of Draghi's total termination.
 
3. On March 21 Board deferred action on that recommendation to its next meeting, and then on April 5 Board voted unanimously to confirm its February 7 decision: It indeed terminated Draghi's employment, his medical staff membership and his clinical privileges.
 
4. On April 11 Hospital's Interim Medical Director Dr. William Willoughby wrote Draghi a letter advising him of Board's decision (Draghi Ex. I, a copy of which is attached to this opinion).

 This lawsuit was not brought until April 9, 1997 (the filing date of Draghi's ...


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