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MILLER v. INDIANA HOSP.

May 6, 1987

Ralph J. Miller, M.D., Plaintiff,
v.
Indiana Hospital, a corporation, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SIMMONS

 This litigation began on March 18, 1977, when the Defendant, Indiana Hospital Executive Committee sent a letter to the Plaintiff, Dr. Ralph J. Miller, advising him that said Committee would recommend to the Defendant Indiana Hospital Board of Directors that Dr. Miller's medical staff privileges should be revoked for professional misconduct.

 Doctor Miller demanded a hearing. A Hospital Hearing Committee consisting of three members of the Medical Staff and one member of the Dental Staff was appointed to hold a hearing for Dr. Miller. The hearing officer who presided at the hearing was also legal counsel for the hospital.

 The hearing was held and the Hearing Committee recommended the revocation of Dr. Miller's staff privileges. The Defendant Hospital Executive Committee adopted the Hearing Committee's recommendation and the Plaintiff, Dr. Miller, took an appeal to the Defendant Hospital's Board of Directors.

 After an adversary hearing, a Committee of four Hospital Directors affirmed the Executive Committee determination against Dr. Miller and subsequently the full Board of Hospital Directors adopted the decision and recommendation of the Committee of four Directors effectively terminating Plaintiff, Dr. Miller's hospital staff privileges.

 The Plaintiff, Dr. Miller, thereupon filed for and was granted a preliminary injunction ex parte from the Court of Common Pleas of Indiana County ( Civil Division, Equity No. 35 EQ 1977) alleging there was a lack of substantive and procedural due process of law at the administrative hearings. After a hearing, the Common Pleas Court dissolved the preliminary injunction, denied the Plaintiff, Dr. Miller a permanent injunction and found that Plaintiff, Dr. Miller was accorded a fair hearing supported by competent evidence at the defendant hospital's administrative proceeding.

 Dr. Miller, Plaintiff herein, appealed the Common Pleas Court decision to the Pennsylvania Superior Court ( Miller v. Indiana Hospital, 277 Pa. Super 370, 419 A.2d 1191 (1980)) wherein the decision of the lower court was affirmed. The Superior Court held:

 
a) That the findings in the Administrative Hearing were supported by sufficient and competent evidence;
 
b) That the doctor did not sustain his burden of showing that the hospital was a quasi-public agency and thus the defendant hospital's revocation of Plaintiff's staff privileges did not constitute State action so as to call into play the protection of the United States Constitution;
 
c) That the doctor's staff privileges were revoked in a fair and impartial manner in accordance with the hospital by-laws; and
 
d) Consequently, the Plaintiff, Dr. Miller was was not entitled to Injunctive Relief.

 Dr. Miller moved the Superior Court for reargument which was denied. He then petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for the Allowance of an Appeal to that Court which was denied on October 1, 1980.

 The heretofore described State litigation will be referred to as Miller I. The subsequent Federal litigation presided over by Judges Ziegler and Mansmann will be referred to as Miller II. The subsequent Federal litigation presided over by Judge Simmons will be referred to as Miller III.

 An action was then brought by Plaintiff, Ralph J. Miller, M.D. in the United States District Court in the above captioned case, "to secure a permanent injunction requiring defendants to accept and process his application for medical ...


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