Taft Successfully Defends Northwest Community Hospital in Trial Regarding Termination of Surgeon's Medical Staff Privileges

Taft successfully defended Northwest Community Hospital (NCH) in a trial that began Oct. 17, 2022, in Cook County. The lawsuit alleged violations of federal antitrust law, Title VII, business torts, defamation, and breach of the hospital’s medical staff bylaws. An independent surgeon and her medical practice filed suit after NCH terminated the surgeon’s medical staff privileges following a thorough internal peer-review process in accordance with the hospital’s bylaws.  

Following the dismissal of many of the federal and state law claims, four claims remained for trial. Even before the trial began, Taft positioned NCH to prevail. After 34 pretrial motions, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Lyons agreed with Taft and applied the Illinois Medical Studies Act, eliminating the plaintiff’s defamation and false light claims, leaving only a single count for breach of medical staff bylaws. The court then granted Taft’s motion to apply the rule of limited judicial review and ruled that money damages were not available for a breach of medical staff bylaws. The plaintiff proceeded with a bench trial with no hope of recovering any monetary damages, and, at the conclusion of the proofs, Judge Lyons entered judgment in favor of NCH, finding the hospital acted in the furtherance of quality healthcare, complied with its bylaws, and was entitled to protection under the Illinois Hospital Licensing Act and the Healthcare Quality Improvement Act. As a result, the client is now poised to recover its fees and costs for the last 10 years under the Healthcare Quality Improvement Act.

Chicago partner Gillian G. Lindsay led the Taft team, which included associate Michael Mayerck and paralegal Tameka Newman. Lindsay handles complex disputes involving breach of contract, consumer and business torts, trade secrets, labor and employment disputes, and biometric privacy matters. Mayerck represents clients in the defense of product liability, premises liability, personal injury, environmental, construction defect, and toxic tort matters. Newman supports Taft’s Commercial Litigation practice. She works closely with Taft attorneys and clients through all phases of litigation.

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