Posts tagged "Steward"

Blanchard, et al. v. Steward Carney Hospital, Inc., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-082-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12141   LYNNE BLANCHARD & others[1]  vs.  STEWARD CARNEY HOSPITAL, INC., & others.[2]       Suffolk.     November 7, 2016. – May 23, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Botsford, Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.[3]     “Anti-SLAPP” Statute.  Constitutional Law, Right to petition government.  Practice, Civil, Motion to dismiss.  Words, “Based on.”       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on May 24, 2013.   Special motions to dismiss were heard by Linda E. Giles, J.   After review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court granted leave to obtain further appellate review.     Jeffrey A. Dretler (Joseph W. Ambash also present) for the defendants. Dahlia C. Rudavsky (Ellen J. Messing also present) for the plaintiffs. Donald J. Siegel & Paige W. McKissock, for Massachusetts AFL-CIO, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     LENK, J.  In the spring of 2011, following reports of abuse at the adolescent psychiatric unit (unit) of Steward Carney Hospital, Inc., then president of the hospital, William Walczak, fired all of the registered nurses and mental health counsellors who worked in the unit.  Walczak subsequently issued statements, both to the hospital’s employees and to the Boston Globe Newspaper Co. (Boston Globe), arguably to the effect that the nurses had been fired based in part on their culpability for the incidents that took place at the unit.  The plaintiffs, nine of the nurses who had been fired, then filed suit against the defendants for, among other things, defamation. The hospital defendants[4] responded by filing a special motion to dismiss the defamation claim pursuant to G. L. c. 231, § 59H, the “anti-SLAPP” statute.  A Superior Court judge denied the motion, concluding that the hospital defendants had failed to meet their threshold burden of showing that the claim was based solely on their petitioning activity.  The hospital defendants filed an interlocutory appeal in the Appeals Court as of right.  See Fabre v. Walton, 436 Mass. 517, 521–522 (2002).  The Appeals Court then reversed the motion judge’s decision in part.  See Blanchard v. Steward Carney Hosp., Inc., 89 Mass. App. Ct. 97, 98 (2016).  We granted the parties’ applications for further appellate review.  We conclude that a portion of the plaintiff nurses’ defamation claim is based solely on the hospital defendants’ petitioning activity.  The hospital defendants as special movants thus having satisfied in […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 24, 2017 at 1:48 am

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Whittier IPA, Inc. v. Steward Health Care Network, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-005-17)

ΔCOMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT. 1484CV03029-BLS2 ____________________ WHITTIER IPA, INC. v. STEWARD HEALTH CARE NETWORK, INC. ____________________ MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO ASSERT COUNTERCLAIMS AGAINST WHITTIER IPA, INC., AND THIRD-PARTY CLAIMS AGAINST ANNA JACQUES HOSPITAL Steward Health Care Network, Inc., (“SHCN”) is a physician network. It negotiates and implements contracts with insurers and other entities that pay for SHCN’s participating doctors to provide medical care to the payors’ insureds or members. Whittier IPA, Inc., is an association of independent physicians. It joined the SHCN network in January 2012, but began exploring other options in 2013. After SHCN learned that Whittier had agreed to join a competing physician network run by the Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization (“BIDCO”), SHCN terminated its agreements with Whittier effective August 31, 2014. Whittier claims that is still owed substantial sums by SHCN under the parties’ contracts. The court (Kaplan, J.) granted partial summary judgment in Whittier’s favor in June 2015, declaring that if SHCN received incentive payments from health insurers and other payors for periods during which Whittier was an SHCN member, then “SHCN breached its contract with Whittier by failing to pay Whittier its pro rata share of those payments.” The amount that SHCN must pay Whittier is still in dispute. The current case schedule, which was jointly requested by both parties, requires the litigants to complete all fact discovery by February 10, 2017, and to complete the exchange of any expert reports by March 24, 2017. SHCN seeks leave to assert counterclaims against Whittier and third-party claims against Anna Jacques Hospital. The Court will DENY this motion. It would be futile to allow SHCN to assert its proposed counterclaims against Whittier for breach of contract because they could not survive a motion to dismiss. The proposed claims against Anna Jacques for intentional interference and allegedly violating G.L. c. 93A would also be futile. In any case, it would be unfairly prejudicial to – 2 – Whittier and to Anna Jacques to allow permissive joinder of a new defendant-in-counterclaim under Mass. R. Civ. P. 20 just weeks before the completion of discovery in this case. SHCN has no right to join Anna Jacques as a defendant-in-counterclaim under Rule 19 and does not seek to assert third-party claims for indemnification or contribution as allowed under Rule 14. 1. Proposed Counterclaims Against Whittier. SHCN seeks leave to assert counterclaims against Whittier for allegedly breaching parts of its written contracts with SHCN. The Court will deny leave to assert these counterclaims because doing so would be futile, in that these counterclaims could not survive a motion under Mass. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 8, 2017 at 8:56 pm

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Whittier IPA, Inc. v. Steward Health Care Network, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-005-17)

ΔCOMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT. 1484CV03029-BLS2 ____________________ WHITTIER IPA, INC. v. STEWARD HEALTH CARE NETWORK, INC. ____________________ MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO ASSERT COUNTERCLAIMS AGAINST WHITTIER IPA, INC., AND THIRD-PARTY CLAIMS AGAINST ANNA JACQUES HOSPITAL Steward Health Care Network, Inc., (“SHCN”) is a physician network. It negotiates and implements contracts with insurers and other entities that pay for SHCN’s participating doctors to provide medical care to the payors’ insureds or members. Whittier IPA, Inc., is an association of independent physicians. It joined the SHCN network in January 2012, but began exploring other options in 2013. After SHCN learned that Whittier had agreed to join a competing physician network run by the Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization (“BIDCO”), SHCN terminated its agreements with Whittier effective August 31, 2014. Whittier claims that is still owed substantial sums by SHCN under the parties’ contracts. The court (Kaplan, J.) granted partial summary judgment in Whittier’s favor in June 2015, declaring that if SHCN received incentive payments from health insurers and other payors for periods during which Whittier was an SHCN member, then “SHCN breached its contract with Whittier by failing to pay Whittier its pro rata share of those payments.” The amount that SHCN must pay Whittier is still in dispute. The current case schedule, which was jointly requested by both parties, requires the litigants to complete all fact discovery by February 10, 2017, and to complete the exchange of any expert reports by March 24, 2017. SHCN seeks leave to assert counterclaims against Whittier and third-party claims against Anna Jacques Hospital. The Court will DENY this motion. It would be futile to allow SHCN to assert its proposed counterclaims against Whittier for breach of contract because they could not survive a motion to dismiss. The proposed claims against Anna Jacques for intentional interference and allegedly violating G.L. c. 93A would also be futile. In any case, it would be unfairly prejudicial to – 2 – Whittier and to Anna Jacques to allow permissive joinder of a new defendant-in-counterclaim under Mass. R. Civ. P. 20 just weeks before the completion of discovery in this case. SHCN has no right to join Anna Jacques as a defendant-in-counterclaim under Rule 19 and does not seek to assert third-party claims for indemnification or contribution as allowed under Rule 14. 1. Proposed Counterclaims Against Whittier. SHCN seeks leave to assert counterclaims against Whittier for allegedly breaching parts of its written contracts with SHCN. The Court will deny leave to assert these counterclaims because doing so would be futile, in that these counterclaims could not survive a motion under Mass. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 2, 2017 at 7:32 am

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Blanchard, et al. v. Steward Carney Hospital, Inc., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-020-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   14-P-717                                        Appeals Court   LYNNE BLANCHARD & others[1]  vs.  STEWARD CARNEY HOSPITAL, INC., & others.[2]     No. 14-P-717. Suffolk.     January 14, 2015. – February 24, 2016.   Present:  Katzmann, Sullivan, & Blake, JJ.     “Anti-SLAPP” Statute.  Constitutional Law, Right to petition government.  Practice, Civil, Standing, Motion to dismiss.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on May 24, 2013.   A special motion to dismiss was heard by Linda E. Giles, J.     Jeffrey A. Dretler (Katharine A. Crawford & Joseph W. Ambash with him) for the defendants. Dahlia C. Rudavsky for the plaintiffs.     KATZMANN, J.  In this case we consider whether the defendants’ special motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ defamation claim pursuant to G. L. c. 231, § 59H, widely known as the “anti-SLAPP”[3] statute, was properly denied.  The central question is whether, during a period of crisis when Steward Carney Hospital (Carney Hospital or hospital) faced the loss of its license to operate an in-patient adolescent psychiatric unit (unit) because of purported patient abuse and neglect, statements quoted in a newspaper made by the president of the hospital, and an electronic mail message (e-mail) the president sent to hospital staff announcing the dismissal of unnamed employees in the unit under review, constituted protected petitioning activity.  A judge in the Superior Court denied the motion because she found that the statements upon which the claim was based did not qualify as protected petitioning activity and, therefore, the defendants could not seek protection of the anti-SLAPP statute.  We conclude that the statements quoted in the newspaper constitute protected petitioning activity, but that the internal e-mail does not.  Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part. Background.  The key facts of this case, as derived from the judge’s decision below, the newspaper articles at issue, affidavits by those involved in the investigation, testimony in a related arbitration proceeding (see note 4, infra), and relevant reports, are as follows.  The plaintiffs are all registered nurses (RNs) who had been working in the unit for a number of years.  In April, 2011, complaints were made concerning four incidents of alleged patient abuse or neglect within the unit.  None of the alleged incidents involved abuse or neglect of a patient by any of the plaintiffs (or any other RN).  The incidents were reported to the Department of […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 24, 2016 at 8:22 pm

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