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CASTELLI v. MEADVILLE MED. CTR.

October 18, 1988

PETER J. CASTELLI, M.D., Plaintiff,
v.
MEADVILLE MEDICAL CENTER and ROBERT A. DRISCOLL, M.D., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MENCER

 GLENN E. MENCER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 Peter J. Castelli, M.D. brought this action asserting seven counts for violations of federal antitrust laws and three counts for related state law infractions. His claims arise out of an exclusive contract between Meadville Medical Center and Robert A. Driscoll, M.D. The defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment which is presently pending before this court.

 1. Facts

 Prior to January 1, 1986, two hospitals operated in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Peter J. Castelli, M.D. (Castelli) had an exclusive radiology contract at Spencer Hospital. Robert A. Driscoll, M.D. (Driscoll) had an exclusive radiology contract at Meadville City Hospital.

 With the permission of the Federal Trade Commission, the two hospitals merged to form Meadville Medical Center (MMC). To facilitate the transition, the hospital boards appointed a Consolidation Task Force (Task Force). The Task Force, in turn, hired APM, Inc. (APM), a management consulting firm.

 Based in part on the recommendation of APM, the Task Force decided to award exclusive contracts for all hospital based physician departments, including radiology. The Task Force then embarked on a lengthy and hotly-contested selection process to determine the recipient of the exclusive contract. This court will outline the events leading to Driscoll's selection.

 The two leading candidates were the radiologists from the former hospitals, Castelli and Driscoll. The Task Force met individually and collectively with both doctors in an attempt to reach an amiable solution. It also audited both departments. Neither approach led to a selection. APM then proposed a job description for the position which included board certification as a job requirement. The Task Force adopted the proposed job description. Because only Driscoll was board certified, the Task Force awarded the contract to him (Castelli had apparently taken the boards several times but had not passed them).

 The Task Force ordered Driscoll to offer Castelli employment under his supervision. Driscoll grudgingly complied, but the open friction between Driscoll and Castelli precluded such an arrangement. Castelli declined employment and, instead, filed this Complaint.

 2. Legal Analysis

 A. Summary Judgment Standard

 Rule 56 (c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment shall be granted if, upon a review of the materials properly before the court, "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Summary judgment may be granted in spite of some alleged factual disputes between the parties because Rule 56(c) requires only that there be no genuine issue of material fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986). While a court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, Lang v. New York Life Ins. Co., 721 F.2d 118, 119 (3d Cir. 1983), summary judgment must be granted "against a party who fails to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 273 (1986); Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil 2d § 2727 (Supp. 1987).

 B. Counts I and II

 In Castelli's Amended Complaint, Counts I and II are collectively entitled "Unreasonable Restraint of Trade in Violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act and Per Se Liability as a result of a Group Boycott in Violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act." Castelli alleges that Driscoll's exclusive contract has resulted in more expensive, lower quality radiology services. He alleges that the exclusive contract constitutes an anticompetitive boycott, and as such is a per se violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act (§ 1). Each of the defendants, individually and jointly, participated in the "contract, scheme and conspiracy designed to injure plaintiff, his business and property." Amended Complaint at p. 14.

 In the Third Circuit, to sustain a § 1 claim, the plaintiff must prove:

 
(1) that the defendants contracted, combined, or conspired among each other; (2) that the combination or conspiracy produced adverse, anticompetitive effects within the relevant product and geographic markets; (3) that the objects of and the conduct pursuant to that contract or conspiracy were illegal; and (4) that the plaintiff was injured as a proximate result of that conspiracy.

 Fleer Corp. v. Topps Chewing Gum, Inc., 658 F.2d 139, 147 (3d Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 1019, 72 L. Ed. 2d 137, 102 S. Ct. 1715 (1982).

 In support of its motion for summary judgment with respect to Counts I and II, MMC argues that Castelli has failed to allege sufficient facts for two of the four elements of § 1. First, MMC contends that ...


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