Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

ARKANSAS METHODIST HOSPITAL CORPORATION v. FORBES

October 17, 2005.

ARKANSAS METHODIST HOSPITAL CORPORATION d/b/a/ Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, Plaintiff,
v.
CRAIG W. FORBES, M.D., Defendant. ARKANSAS METHODIST HOSPITAL CORPORATION d/b/a/ Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, Plaintiff, v. EUGENE M. FINAN, M.D., Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SUSAN WRIGHT, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court are plaintiff's motions for summary judgment to which defendants have responded and plaintiff has replied. For the reasons stated below, the motions are denied.

Background

  Plaintiff Arkansas Methodist Hospital Corporation d/b/a Arkansas Methodist Medical Center ("Methodist") owns and operates a hospital in Paragould, Arkansas. In November 2001, defendants Craig W. Forbes, M.D., and Eugene M. Finan, M.D., both signed Recruitment Agreements with Methodist, whereby they agreed to engage in the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology ("OB/GYN") on a full time basis in Paragould. In exchange, Methodist agreed to advance them money in the form of an "Income Guarantee Loan." Under the terms of the contract, the doctors are obligated to repay Methodist the total outstanding balance due on the Income Guarantee Loan, except as otherwise provided by the contract. If the contract is terminated for any reason other than Methodist's breach or the doctor's death or disability, the entire outstanding balance of the Income Guarantee Loan is due and payable immediately and in cash upon demand by Methodist. Under the terms of the contract, Methodist was obligated to forgive 1/48 of the outstanding balance of the loan for each month that the doctor remained in Paragould as an appointee of Methodist's medical staff, during the period beginning three months after the conclusion of the guarantee period.

  Dr. Forbes signed his contract on or about November 16, 2001. Dr. Finan signed his contract on or about November 12, 2001. On or about October 17, 2002, both Drs. Forbes and Finan agreed to amend their contracts so as to extend the contract's "guarantee period" for an additional year, thereby entitling them to borrow more money from Methodist.

  Methodist performed all of its obligations under the contract. On or about June 25, 2004, Forbes ceased to be a member of Methodist's medical staff, and ceased practicing medicine in Paragould, thereby defaulting on the contract. Dr. Finan ceased being a member of Methodist's medical staff and ceased practicing medicine in Paragould on or about August 1, 2004. On or about September 9, 2004, Methodist notified Drs. Forbes and Finan in writing that they had committed "events of default" specified in the contract, and that they had potentially committed other, then unknown, events of default. Methodist further notified Drs. Forbes and Finan of its decision to terminate the contracts and demanded immediate payment of the total outstanding balance of $529,399.13 owed by Dr. Forbes to Methodist under the contract, and $388,553.64 owed by Dr. Finan. Both defendants have refused to repay Methodist the total amounts due under the Income Guarantee Loans.

  On September 10, 2004, and September 14, 2004, Methodist filed complaints against Drs. Forbes and Finan, respectively, in state court, alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment.*fn1 The doctor defendants separately removed the actions to federal court based upon diversity of citizenship, and filed counterclaims alleging fraudulent inducement and breach of fiduciary duty.*fn2 The complaints were consolidated for trial, set for the week of November 14, 2005.

  Methodist moves the Court for summary judgment on its breach of contract claims and on the counterclaims of fraud, asserting there are no genuine issues of material fact in dispute. Defendants contend genuine issues of fact exist as to whether they were fraudulently induced to sign the recruitment contracts.

  Summary Judgment

  Summary judgment is appropriate when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). As a prerequisite to summary judgment, a moving party must demonstrate "an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). Once the moving party has properly supported its motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must "do more than simply show there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). The non-moving party may not rest on mere allegations or denials of his pleading but must "come forward with `specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Id. at 587 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).

  "[A] genuine issue of material fact exists if: (1) there is a dispute of fact; (2) the disputed fact is material to the outcome of the case; and (3) the dispute is genuine, that is, a reasonable jury could return a verdict for either party." RSBI Aerospace, Inc. v. Affiliated FM Ins. Co., 49 F.3d 399, 401 (8th Cir. 1995). The inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (citations omitted). Further, summary judgment is particularly appropriate where an unresolved issue is primarily legal, rather than factual. Mansker v. TMG Life Ins. Co., 54 F.3d 1322, 1326 (8th Cir. 1995).

  Discussion

  Defendants do not dispute the execution of the contract between themselves and Methodist. They contend, however, that they are not legally required to honor the terms of the contract because they were fraudulently induced to enter into the contract by representations made by Ron Rooney, the CEO of Methodist.*fn3 Methodist argues that defendants failed to plead fraud with specificity as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(b), and that none of the factual averments upon which they base their counterclaim constitutes a false representation of material facts. 1. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b)

  Fed.R.Civ.P 9(b) provides: "In all averments of fraud or mistake, the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.