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Hamby v. Health Management Associates, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

May 6, 2015

JEFFREY D. HAMBY, M.D., APPELLANT
v.
HEALTH MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES, INC., APPELLEE

Page 347

APPEAL FROM THE CRAWFORD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. CV-2010-593(II). HONORABLE LYNN WILLIAMS, JUDGE.

Robertson, Beasley & Ford, PLLC, by: Mark E. Ford; and Williams & Anderson PLC, by: Peter G. Kumpe, Marie-B Miller, and Alec Gaines, for appellant.

Robinson, Staley & Duke, P.A., by: Thomas B. Staley; and Gass Weber Mullins, LLC, by: J. Ric Gass, Pro Hac Vice, for appellee.

DAVID M. GLOVER, Judge. KINARD and HIXSON, JJ., agree.

OPINION

Page 348

DAVID M. GLOVER, Judge

Appellant Dr. Jeffrey Hamby brings this appeal from an order dismissing his claims against appellee Health Management Associates, Inc. (HMA) pursuant to Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure 8(a) and 12(b)(6). The sole issue on appeal is the legal sufficiency of Dr. Hamby's claims against HMA as presented in his second amended complaint (SAC). Because we

Page 349

conclude that the trial court abused its discretion by dismissing a portion of Dr. Hamby's claims against HMA, we affirm in part and reverse and remand in part.

HMA is the operator and part-owner of Summit Medical Center in Van Buren, Arkansas. Pursuant to a contract with HMA, Emcare Physician Providers, Inc. (Emcare) provided emergency-medical services to Summit Medical Center. Emcare hired Dr. Hamby to serve as an emergency-medical physician at Summit Medical Center. His contract was effective on October 1, 2009, and had a one-year term. Several months into the term of the contract, in May 2010, Emcare officials notified Dr. Hamby that his contract was being terminated for cause.

As a result of his termination, Dr. Hamby sued HMA, Emcare, Dr. Joni Carmack, and Dr. Michael Wheelis.[1] He amended his complaint twice, and his SAC is the operative pleading for our review. The SAC sets forth three causes of action against HMA: (1) tortious interference, (2) violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), and (3) violations of the Civil Action by Crime Victims Act (CACVA). Dr. Hamby's general theory of his case set forth in the SAC is that HMA was engaged in a scheme to increase its profit by unnecessarily and improperly performing medical tests and admitting patients. He alleges that when he refused to be complacent in this scheme, Emcare prematurely terminated his employment at the behest of HMA.

HMA petitioned the trial court to dismiss the claims against it. The trial court entertained arguments on this motion and ultimately granted the motion to dismiss in its entirety pursuant to Arkansas Rules of ...


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