The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ambrose, District Judge.
OPINION and ORDER OF COURT
Plaintiffs Bryan C. Donohue, M.D., and John Cava, M.D., conduct
a medical practice in cardiology located in Washington,
Pennsylvania. Donohue and Cava employ Plaintiff Christopher
Allen, M.D., a black physician, who is certified in and
specializes in internal medicine and cardiology, and who also
holds a sub-specialty in interventional cardiology. The
Plaintiffs filed a five-count Amended Complaint against
Defendants The Washington Hospital ("the Hospital"), Telford W.
Thomas, its President and CEO, John Frazier, M.D., a member of
the Board of Trustees and a staff member, and Nell Hart, M.D., a
staff member. Specifically, the Plaintiffs asserted violations of
42 U.S.C. § 1981 and antitrust statutes, as well as claims for
breach of contract and interference with existing and prospective
contractual relations. Essentially, the Plaintiffs claim that the
Defendants acted in such a manner as to preclude the Plaintiffs
from expanding their practice at the Hospital.
The Defendants previously filed a Motion to Dismiss,
challenging each claim. By prior Opinion and Order, I denied the
Motion in all respects save one. I dismissed Count III — insofar
as it was premised upon a claim for interference with existing
Pending is the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket
No. 35). The Defendants seek the entry of judgment in their favor
on each of the remaining claims. The Plaintiffs oppose. After
careful consideration, and for the reasons set forth below, the
Motion is granted in part and denied in part. It is granted with
respect to the claims set forth in Counts III (interference with
a prospective contractual relation) and Count V (conspiracy to
monopolize under § 2 of the Sherman Act). The Motion is denied,
however, with respect to all remaining counts.
Summary judgment may only be granted if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file,
together with any affidavits, show that there is no genuine issue
as to any material facts and that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Rule 56 mandates
the entry of judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon
motion, against the party who fails to make a showing sufficient
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 (1986).
In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must
examine the facts in the light most favorable to the party
opposing the motion. International Raw Materials, Ltd. v.
Stauffer Chemical Co., 898 F.2d 946, 949 (3d Cir. 1990). The
burden is on the moving party to demonstrate that the evidence is
such that a reasonable jury could not return a verdict for the
non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). A fact is
material when it might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law. Id. Where the non-moving party will bear the
burden of proof at trial, the party moving for summary judgment
may meet its burden by showing that the evidentiary materials of
record, if reduced to admissible evidence, would be insufficient
to carry the nonmovant's burden of proof at trial. Celotex, 477
U.S. at 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548. Once the moving party satisfies its
burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party, who must go
beyond its pleadings, and designate specific facts by the use of
depositions, admissions, or answers to interrogatories showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324, 106 S.Ct.
I. Count I — 42 U.S.C. § 1981
Allen contends that the Hospital's and Thomas' failure to
provide him with an application for a staff position in internal
medicine, and the resulting failure to hire him, constitutes a
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Section 1981 provides:
[a]ll persons within the jurisdiction of the United
States shall have the same right in every State and
Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be
parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal
benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security
of persons and property as is enjoyed by white
citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment,
pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of
every kind, and to no other.
42 U.S.C. § 1981. "Section 1981 [thus] grants to all persons
equal rights under the law." Walker v. Comay, 640 F. Supp. 195,
197 (W.D.Pa. 1986).
Here, the Defendants do not dispute that Allen has articulated
a prima facie case of discrimination under § 1981. Accordingly,
under the familiar analysis announced in McDonnell Douglas Corp.
v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668
(1973), the burden shifts to the Defendants to articulate some
legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the challenged action.
See Chauhan v. M. Alfieri Co., Inc., 897 F.2d 123, 127 (3d Cir.
1990). The Defendants have met this burden by proffering evidence
that Allen was denied an application because he was a trained
cardiologist, that he worked with a group providing cardiology
services, and that a Moratorium existed which precluded granting
staff privileges to cardiologists.
Consequently, the burden shifts back to Allen to demonstrate
that the articulated reason is merely a pretext for
discrimination. Chauhan, 897 F.2d at 127. The Defendants argue
that Allen cannot establish pretext. I disagree. The record
reveals that Allen assured Thomas that, if given privileges, he
intended only to practice internal medicine. See Plaintiffs'
Appendix, Ex. 40. Yet Allen was denied privileges. However,
Thomas and the Hospital accepted another physician's (Dr. Richard
Hart-who is white) representation that he intended to practice
only internal medicine. As with Allen, Hart's training was in an
area covered by the Moratorium (infectious diseases). See
Thomas Transcript, p. 137. I recognize that Hart's and Allen's
positions differed in some regards.*fn1 Even so, I find the
differences in treatment accorded the physicians to be telling.
Additionally, it does seem implausible that the Hospital would
be concerned that, if it granted Allen staff privileges for
internal medicine, that he would somehow secretly perform
cardiology services. For Allen to do so, he would have to utilize
the cardiology lab and/or an operating room. I agree with the
Plaintiffs that the "notion that any internist could sneak a
patient into a catheterization lab or operating room for a
cardiology is ludicrous." See Plaintiffs' Brief, p. 20.
Furthermore, the Hospital's treatment of white pulmonologists
is revealing. Two pulmonologists appalled for staff privileges in
critical care medicine while a moratorium existed for
pulmonology. The applications were accepted and processing began.
Only after Allen's application was denied were the
pulmonologists' applications and fees returned. While the
Hospital contends that it was initially unaware that the
physicians were pulmonologists (a specialty covered by the
Moratorium), the record suggests otherwise. See Plaintiffs'
Appendix, Ex. 50. A jury could reasonably infer that the
applications and fees were returned only after the Hospital
realized that it had treated a black applicant in a different
II. Count IV — Antitrust Violations
In Count IV, the Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants have
unlawfully restrained trade and have attempted to obtain a
monopoly on cardiology services. The Defendants seek the entry of
judgment, in their favor, on both claims, and advance ...