Appellate court revives monopoly suit against Texas hospital: 5 things to know

A monopoly lawsuit against San Angelo (Texas) Community Medical Center will move forward, according to The SE Texas Record.

Here are five things to know:

1. Steve Montoya Jr., MD, West Texas Renal Care and West Texas Nephrology filed the lawsuit against Kirk Brewer, MD, and San Angelo Community Medical Center.

2. The lawsuit alleged business disparagement, defamation, civil conspiracy and improper restraint of trade under Texas law, among other accusations.

3. A trial court granted motions to dismiss filed by Dr. Brewer, as well as the medical center's motion for summary judgment, reports The SE Texas Record.

4. However, the case is moving forward after an appeal from Dr. Montoya. Texas Court of Appeals for the 3rd District at Austin affirmed the trial court's order dismissing Dr. Montoya's claims against Dr. Brewer on May 31, but also reversed the trial court's order granting summary judgment to the medical center, according to the report. The case will now go back to the district court.

5. The appeal court's ruling states Dr. Montoya, a nephrologist, maintained full staff privileges at the medical center, which in 2006 reportedly "created its own group of doctors owned by the hospital in both hospitalist groups and in a group named Community Medical Associates," according to the newspaper.

According to the opinion, "A substantial part of [Dr.] Montoya's practice was obtaining new patients and treating existing patients who came to the emergency room and needed a nephrologists. Prior to 2007, [when Dr. Brewer joined the medical center as chief of the medical staff and head of the hospitalist group], Dr. Montoya 'received patients with kidney [issues] until SACMC created its own practice groups.'"

Ultimately, though, the opinion states, the defendants allegedly "decided to then have a covert whisper campaign and not refer any patients to [Dr.] Montoya."

 

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