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Dhillon v. John Muir Health (2018)

April 18, 2018

Horvitz & Levy successfully obtained reversal of a judgment compelling John Muir Hospital to empanel a judicial review committee to review a disciplinary order by the hospital medical staff’s executive committee requiring a physician to attend an anger management class.

Responding to a colleague’s harassment complaint against Dr. Jatinder Dhillon, and after an investigation by an ad hoc committee, a hospital medical staff directed both Dr. Dhillon and the complaining physician to attend an anger management class. When Dr. Dhillon refused for over a year to attend, the medical staff suspended his clinical privileges for 14 days. Dr. Dhillon filed in superior court a petition for administrative mandamus, seeking to overturn the disciplinary actions taken against him or to require a Judicial Review Committee (JRC) proceeding to review the discipline. The court denied his petition insofar as it sought to overturn the discipline, but it ordered a JRC procedure.

The hospital appealed from the order requiring a JRC procedure. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal as having been taken from a nonappealable order. The Supreme Court granted the hospital’s petition for review and reversed the dismissal order. (Dhillon v. John Muir Health (2017) 2 Cal.5th 1109.) On remand, the Court of Appeal (First District, Division Three) reversed the superior court’s order in an unpublished unanimous opinion, holding that “the [medical staff] bylaws do not provide for formal peer review of the discipline imposed in this instance.”

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