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Horvitz & Levy is a solutions-based firm focused on appellate success. We are distinguished by our commitment to responsive service and on-going innovation in the areas of civil appellate litigation, amicus curiae support, and trial strategy consultation.

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April 15, 2024

Asiryan v. Medical Staff of Glendale Adventist Medical Center

A hospital’s duty to provide certain protections to a physician in proceedings to deny hospital staff privileges was grounded originally in the common law doctrine of fair procedure. The fair procedure doctrine provided for judicial intervention in a private association’s membership decisions to ensure that a private association does not engage in arbitrary action and that the association’s actions are substantively rational and procedurally fair. In 1989, the California Legislature codified the common law fair procedure doctrine in the hospital peer review context by enacting the California peer review statute, Business and Professions Code section 805 et seq.

Plaintiff, a physician with medical staff privileges at a hospital was suspended without prior notice or a hearing because the medical staff of the hospital was concerned about patient safety. After being informed of her suspension, plaintiff resigned and sued the medical staff, alleging it failed to comply with statutory and common law procedural requirements in connection with suspending her privileges. 

A jury returned a verdict in favor of the medical staff after the trial court granted nonsuit on plaintiff’s claim that the medical staff violated the requirements of common law fair procedure.

The Court of Appeal affirmed and held that the California peer review statute is comprehensive legislation intended to replace the common law in the hospital peer review context. “[T]he code is the sole source of procedural protections in connection with hospital peer review, and . . . the common law doctrine of fair procedure does not supplant those protections with additional guarantees.”