Dr. John C. Perry and his practice, Teddy Bear Obstetrics & Gynecology, P.S., sued Kadlec Medical Center (which you may recall is the hospital that obtained a negligent credentialing judgment against Lakeview Medical Center in Louisiana for failing to provide credentialing information) and several members of the medical staff alleging that his credentials at Kadlec were improperly revoked as a result of a conspiracy by the defendants in restraint of trade in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act.
The defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that Dr. Perry failed to state a cause of action. The court reviewed the requirements for satisfactorily pleading an antitrust action in federal court and the general antitrust requirements, which are basically that the plaintiff adequately plead facts indicating the existence of a conspiracy to restrain trade, or an attempted conspiracy, and harm to competition.
The element of harming competition has been a problem for many physicians alleging antitrust violations, because the general rule is that the antitrust laws are intended to protect competition and not competitors. In order to proceed, the court indicated that Dr. Perry had to reasonably plead some actual harm to competition, such as price increase or at least the absence of price decreases in the OB-GYN field, a decrease in the availability of sufficient OB-GYNs in the market adversely impacting patient access, or a decrease in quality. The court concluded that Dr. Perry had not adequately plead any of those facts and that the presence of other physicians in the market ,and in fact other physicians within Dr. Perry’s practice, belied any market impact or injury.
The court concluded that "Factual allegations which plaintiffs say they could plea in an amended complaint are not enough to raise the right to relief above the speculative level. Not enough factual matter is alleged which, if taken as true, suggests there was any injury to competition beyond the impact on Dr. Perry. The plaintiffs have not plead enough facts in their complaint, nor have they proposed to plead enough facts in an amended complaint to reach a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of injury to competition". The opinion in the case of John C. Perry, M.D. and Teddy Bear Obstetrics & Gynecology, P.S. v. Thomas M. Rado, M.D., et al., is available at the following link: