Appeal from the Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Allegheny County at No. GD 85-13469.
Lisle A. Zehner, III, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
David L. McClenahan, Pittsburgh, for appellee.
Cavanaugh, Popovich and Montgomery, JJ.
[ 364 Pa. Super. Page 212]
This is an appeal from a judgment on the pleadings entered against Timothy P. McCormick, M.D., appellant. We vacate.
The record (examined under the standard for reviewing a trial court's award of a judgment on the pleadings*fn1) discloses that a complaint in equity was filed by the appellant alleging that, as a result of a nationwide program involving medical colleges and hospitals, he was "matched" with Allegheny General Hospital in March of 1985 to commence a two-year Surgical Intern and Residency Program.
In anticipation of a June, 1985, commencement date, the appellant moved to Pittsburgh from Philadelphia. However, upon his arrival for orientation, "he was advised by representatives of Allegheny General Hospital . . . that he would not be permitted to enter [the] Residency Program", and his $22,800.00 per year salary would also not be paid. Further, the appellant asserted in his complaint that the hospital had offered its failure to send timely his application for a temporary medical license to the State Board of
[ 364 Pa. Super. Page 213]
Medicine and Licensure as a reason for his exclusion from the program.
The relief the appellant sought was compensation for costs incurred from moving and his living expenses, as well as immediate admission into the Residency Program with retroactive salary.
On August 7, 1985, upon motion of counsel for the appellant, a Rule was issued directing Allegheny General to show cause why the relief requested should not be granted. It was made returnable August 30.
In response, Allegheny General filed preliminary objections and a brief in support thereof on August 26 claiming that it was precluded by law (63 P.S. §§ 421.1-.18*fn2) from allowing the appellant to practice medicine in the context of its Residency Program prior to his application for a license being approved by the State Board -- a matter which was exclusively within the Board's control. Also, Allegheny General did offer that with the approval of his license the appellant would be accepted into its program.
Therefore, because the only equitable relief asked for was the appellant's admission into a program that was outside of the hospital's control without licensure approval and because the remaining claims were for monetary damages, the court was requested to certify the action to the law side. This occurred and Allegheny General was ordered to file an Answer to the Complaint or otherwise plead.
On September 19, 1985, Allegheny General filed an Answer denying, inter alia, that:
1) the Residency Program was for two years -- it was to have been for one year;
2) the non-payment of the appellant's moving expenses -- they were paid ($531.87) after their submission on August 7, 1985; and
[ 364 Pa. Super. Page 2143]
) the appellant would not be admitted to the Residency Program -- the State Board's inaction on the appellant's temporary medical license and the hospital's failure to make a final determination on the appellant's qualifications were the real reasons for non-admission.
In the New Matter portion of the pleading, it was averred that Allegheny General first learned of the appellant's three convictions for violations of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act (63 P.S. § 421.1 et seq.*fn3) with his application to the State Board for a temporary medical license.
This revelation prompted Allegheny General to investigate the appellant's background and qualifications more closely before forwarding his application for a license to the State Board. Thereafter, with the license still pending, the hospital concluded that the appellant would be accepted into its program if a license were secured and the associate dean of his medical college "reiterated" a favorable recommendation. The latter was secured but not the former. ...