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Hamilton Memorial Hospital District v. April Toelle/Counterclaimant

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 11, 2014

HAMILTON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL DISTRICT, an Illinois governmental municipality, Plaintiff/Counterdefendant,
APRIL TOELLE, Defendant/Counterclaimant, and DEACONESS HOSPITAL, INC., Defendant.


J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on a joint motion for summary judgment on damages filed by defendant/counterclaimant April Toelle and defendant Deaconess Hospital, Inc. ("Deaconess") (Doc. 82). Plaintiff/counterdefendant Hamilton Memorial Hospital District ("HMH") has responded (Doc. 93), and Toelle and Deaconess have replied to that response (Doc. 102).

This case began when Toelle, a physician, stopped working for HMH in the middle of a three-year contract term to work for Deaconess instead. The Court refers to her employment contract with HMH as the "Agreement." HMH brings this suit for breach of contract against Toelle and for tortious interference with contract against Deaconess. Toelle brings a counterclaim against HMH for breach of contract and under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act ("IWPCA"), 820 ILCS 115 et seq., for failing to pay her according to her contract. She also believes HMH's failure to pay her properly excuses her failure to complete the contract term. The details of this dispute are set forth in the Court's April 7, 2014, order on the defendants' motions for summary judgment (Doc. 121). In that order, the Court granted Deaconess' motion for summary judgment, so the only parties remaining in this case are HMH and Toelle, and the only claim remaining involves alleged breaches of Toelle's employment agreement with HMH.

Toelle asks for summary judgment on certain elements of damages HMH is claiming as a result of Toelle's departure before the end of her three-year contract term. Specifically, she challenges amounts claimed for:

• purchasing medical malpractice "tail insurance, " that is, post-employment insurance to cover claims against Toelle for work she performed while working for HMH;
• replacement physician recruiting;
• signing bonus and moving expenses for the replacement physician;
• advertising and marketing expenses to publicize the services of the replacement physician;
• lost goodwill/lost revenue; and
• continuing medical education ("CME") expenses as well as salary and payroll taxes paid to or on behalf of Toelle for the time of the CME course.

Summary judgment must be granted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000). The reviewing court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Chelios v. Heavener, 520 F.3d 678, 685 (7th Cir. 2008); Spath, 211 F.3d at 396.

The initial summary judgment burden of production is on the moving party to show the Court that there is no reason to have a trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323; Modrowski v. Pigatto, 712 F.3d 1166, 1168 (7th Cir. 2013). Where the non-moving party carries the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may satisfy its burden of production in one of two ways. It may present evidence that affirmatively negates an essential element of the non-moving party's case, see Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A), or it may point to an absence of evidence to support an essential element of the non-moving party's case without actually submitting any evidence, see Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-25; Modrowski, 712 F.3d at 1169. Where the moving party fails to meet its strict burden, a court cannot enter summary judgment for the moving party even if the opposing party fails to present relevant evidence in response to the motion. Cooper v. Lane, 969 F.2d 368, 371 (7th Cir. 1992).

In responding to a summary judgment motion, the nonmoving party may not simply rest upon the allegations contained in the pleadings but must present specific facts to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-26; Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-57; Modrowski, 712 F.3d at 1168. A genuine issue of material fact is not demonstrated by the mere existence of "some alleged factual dispute between the parties, " Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, or by "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, " Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine ...

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