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Springfield Division Colette R. Whitby, M.D v. Dr. John Warner Hospital "Djwh"

April 29, 2011

SPRINGFIELD DIVISION COLETTE R. WHITBY, M.D., PLAINTIFF,
v.
DR. JOHN WARNER HOSPITAL "DJWH", A MUNICIPAL HOSPITAL; EARL N. SHEEHY, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CEO OF DJWH; JULIE NORTH, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF DJWH; CINDY SAYLORS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS DIRECTOR OF DJWH; HERALD WEINBERG, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS DIRECTOR OF DJWH; RANDY WORKMAN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS DIRECTOR OF DJWH; PATRICK E. PETERSON, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS DIRECTOR OF DJWH; DEB TILLEY, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS DIRECTOR OF DJWH; BETTY ANN NELSON, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS DIRECTOR OF ) DJWH; CITY OF CLINTON "CLINTON", AN ILLINOIS MUNICIPALITY; TOM EDMUNDS; INDIVIDUALLY, AS COMMISSIONER AND ACTING MAYOR OF CLINTON; BRYAN HICKMAN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS COMMISSIONER OF CLINTON; JOHN WISE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS COMMISSIONER OF CLINTON; AND JERRY MILTON, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS COMMISSIONER OF CLINTON, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough, United States District Judge.

E-FILED

Friday, 29 April, 2011 04:37:28 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

This cause is before the Court on the Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (d/e 2 and d/e 3) filed by Plaintiff Colette R. Whitby, M.D. Defendants have filed a response. For the reasons that follow, this Court finds that a hearing is not necessary and the Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction is DENIED.

I. COMPLAINT AND MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

In her Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that in November 2009, she entered into a three-year written contract of employment (Agreement) with Dr. John Warner Hospital (Hospital), a municipal hospital organized and operating in Clinton, Illinois. The Agreement provided that the Hospital agreed to employ Plaintiff to render medical services to the Hospital's patients who were assigned to Plaintiff by the Hospital.

Plaintiff's employment commenced on February 1, 2010. In February 2011, Defendant Earl Sheehy, the chief executive officer of the Hospital and a member of the Hospital's Board of Directors, told the Plaintiff he was likely not going to include her services in the hospital budget for fiscal year 2011-2012. On March 1, 2011, Defendant Sheehy informed Plaintiff in writing that the existing contract did not allow Plaintiff's surgical practice to be sustainable and that unless she agreed to numerous changes in her agreement, no funds would be allocated in fiscal year 2012 for a surgical practice. On April 20, 2011, Defendant Sheehy notified Plaintiff in writing that the City of Clinton had not approved her contract for the budget year and her last day of work would be April 29, 2011.

On April 27, 2011, Plaintiff filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, and 1985 alleging (1) she was denied due process (Count I); (2) the members of the Hospital Board conspired to deprive Plaintiff of her due process (Count II), and (3) the commissioners of the City Council conspired to deprive Plaintiff of her due-process rights (Count III). She also brought two pendent state claims, one for breach of contract (Count IV) and one for retaliatory discharge (Count V).

On April 27, 2011, Plaintiff filed her Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. Plaintiff requests this Court stay her termination of employment at the Hospital for the duration of this case or, in the alternative, stay her termination for 90 days with the provision that the Hospital assist Plaintiff in the global follow-up care for her patients and disseminating the appropriate notices to her patients before the cessation of her medical care services.

II. ANALYSIS

Defendants first assert this Court should dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction because the Agreement contains a forum selection clause providing that all claims arising from the Agreement are to be brought in DeWitt County, Illinois. However, a forum selection clause raises a question of venue, not subject-matter jurisdiction. Mitchell Health Technologies, Inc. v. Naturewell, Inc., 2002 WL 32362650, at *2 (W.D. Wis. 2002), citing Freitsch v. Refco, Inc., 56 F.3d 825, 830 (7th Cir. 1995).

A. Standard of Review

A party seeking a preliminary injunction must initially demonstrate (1) some likelihood of succeeding on the merits; (2) no adequate remedy at law exists; and (3) irreparable harm if preliminary relief is denied. Girl Scouts of Manitou Council, Inc. v. Girl Scouts of the United States of America, Inc., 549 F.3d 1079, 1086 (2008). If the moving party does not demonstrate any one of the three initial requirements, the request for a preliminary injunction must be denied. Id. If, however, the party has met the initial threshold, the Court then "weighs the irreparable harm that the moving party would endure without the protection of the preliminary injunction against any irreparable harm the nonmoving party would suffer if the ...


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