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Verma v. Jefferson Hospital Association

November 6, 2006

VIRENDAR K. VERMA, M.D., AND REHAB AND PAIN MANAGEMENT CLINIC, P.A. PLAINTIFFS
v.
JEFFERSON HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION D/B/A JEFFERSON REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER AND REHABCARE GROUP, INC. DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wm. R. Wilson, Jr. United States District Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff, individually and through his company Rehab and Pain Management Clinic, P.A. ("RPMC"), filed suit against Defendants following the termination of an employment contract with RehabCare Group ("RehabCare"). Plaintiff alleges he suffered discrimination, retaliation, and was ultimately terminated due to his race in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Plaintiff also argues violations of the Sherman Anti Trust Act, the Arkansas Civil Rights Act ("ACRA"),*fn1 breach of contract, and interference with a business expectancy. Pending are Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (Doc. Nos. 31, 45, 79, and 87). For the following reasons, Defendants' Motions are DENIED.

I. Background

In the summer of 1992, Dr. Verma became the Associate Medical Director of RehabCare.*fn2 Dr. Verma's legal relationship with RehabCare changed in January 1996, when Dr. Verma, as president and sole share hold of RPMC, contracted his services through RPMC with Rehabcare. RehabCare is owned by Jefferson Hospital.*fn3

Dr. Verma continued as the Associate Medical Director until August of 1999, when he was replaced by Dr. Sue Frigon, a white female.*fn4 Plaintiff contends that Dr. Frigon was ineligible to apply for the position because she was not board certified. Plaintiff maintains that his relationship with Dr. Frigon was strained and resulted in the following: (1) Rehabcare encouraged hospital patients to request Dr. Frigon instead of Dr. Verma; (2) Rehabcare encouraged staff to refer patients to Dr. Frigon instead of Dr. Verma; (3) Dr. Verma's complaints about these matters and general patient care were ignored, though he did receive one letter from the Chief of Staff acknowledging his complaints; and (4) Dr. Frigon interfered with Dr. Verma's patients and medical orders.*fn5

Dr. Verma's contract was terminated on January 16, 2006 by RehabCare Group effective February 18, 2006. Because RehabCare has an exclusive contract with Jefferson Hospital, Plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction so that he could continue to treat his existing patients at Jefferson Hospital.

Following the March 2, 2006 hearing on the preliminary injunction, Defendants were ordered to maintain a status quo until trial.

A March 6, 2006 Order, reads:

The Defendants, Jefferson Hospital Association d/b/a Jefferson Regional Medical Center ("JRMC", hereafter) and RehabCare Group, Inc. (RehabCare", hereafter) agree that Dr. Verma is and will be authorized to engage in the full practice of rehabilitation medicine at JRMC and RehabCare, including, but not limited to, the following:

a. Admit, consult, follow, treat, and issue orders for rehabilitation patients to the Rehabilitation Unit at JRMC;

b. Conduct pre-admission screening of rehabilitation patients to the Rehabilitation Unit at JRMC;

c. Dr. Verma will continue weekly staff meetings on Thursdays;

2. This agreement will continue without interference, discrimination, ...


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