Daily Business Review

InPhyNet wants suit against doctor reinstated
A medical staffing company argued on appeal to reverse summary judgment favoring a doctor in a contract dispute over emergency medical services at Wellington Regional Medical Center.

By Adolfo Pesquera

2011-10-20 12:00:00 AM

InPhyNet Contracting Services wants to reverse a summary judgment favoring a doctor who once led a class action against the medical staffing company.

Beverly Pohl, a partner at Broad and Cassel in Fort Lauderdale, spoke for InPhyNet in oral arguments Tuesday at the 4th District Court of Appeal.

Broward Circuit Judge Robert A. Rosenberg dismissed InPhyNet’s case against Dr. David Soria, chief of emergency medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center. The Knoxville, Tennessee-based company claimed Soria conspired to replace InPhyNet as the hospital’s staffing provider and violated a noncompete clause in his contract by going to work for a competitor.

Soria and his employer, Medical Edge Healthcare Group, are represented by Glenn Waldman of Waldman Trigoboff Hildebrandt Marx & Calnan in Fort Lauderdale. The attorney told the 4th DCA panel that InPhyNet’s case is built on communications between Soria and others before late summer 2004.

Waldman said the timing is crucial because Soria was temporarily terminated by InPhyNet at that time. He entered a new contract Sept. 1, 2004, and the claims against him require inferences that implicate him in the hospital’s decision to halt InPhyNet’s services a year later.

Judge W. Matthew Stevenson suggested Rosenberg ruled for the doctor because “you can’t get a judgment based on suspicion.”

Pohl insisted these were issues that should have been heard by a jury.

In a related case, the 4th DCA last week granted a request by InPhyNet to deny Soria’s attempt to revive a physicians’ class action suit by allowing an amended complaint. The court in April 2010 nullified class certification, concluding there were insufficient common elements.

The emergency room doctors sued on grounds InPhyNet did not pay them all the incentive compensation to which they were entitled.