Khajavi v Feather River Anesthesia Medical Group case
NOSRAT KHAJAVI: Plaintiff, Appellant and Respondent,
FEATHER RIVER ANESTHESIA MEDICAL GROUP: Appellant, Defendants and Respondents.
APPEAL from the judgment of the Superior Court of Sutter County, Perry Parker, Judge. Reversed, in part; remanded, in part; and affirmed, in part.
Weintraub Genshlea & Sproul, Rosemary Kelley, Charles L. Post, and William S. Jue, for Plaintiff Nosrat Khajavi.
Biegler Opper & Ortiz, Robert P. Biegler and Jesse S. Ortiz, III, for Defendant Feather River Anesthesia Medical Group.
Wilke, Fleury, Hoffelt, Gould & Birney, David A. Frenznick and Anthony J. DeCristoforo, for Defendant Robert Del Pero.
Catherine I. Hanson and Astrid G. Meghrigian, Amicus Curiae for California Medical Association in support of Appellant Khajavi.
Shortly after plaintiff Nosrat Khajavi (Khajavi), an anesthesiologist, and defendant, Robert Del Pero, a surgeon, engaged in an altercation over the wisdom of proceeding with a particular surgery, defendant Feather River Anesthesia Medical Group (Feather River) terminated Khajavi’s employment. At trial, the court non-suited Khajavi’s claims that defendants Feather River and Robert Del Pero had discharged him, and conspired to discharge him, in violation of public policy -- that is, in retaliation for advocating “medically appropriate health care” in violation of Business and Professions Code section 2056.
2.Case in Brief
The Court had to decide whether Business and Professional Code § 2056 can be applied to a disagreement between two physicians regarding how to medically treat a patient, or if § 2056 only applies to disputes between physicians and third party or healthcare payors. Business and Professional Code § 2056 provides protection against retaliation for physicians who advocate for medically appropriate healthcare for their patients. Feather River breached its oral employment contract with Khajavi, entered in September 1995. Defendants conspired to retaliate against khajavi for advocating medically appropriate health care. Rules Pertaining to issues.
section 2056, subdivision (c), covers a decision to both “terminate an employment” or “otherwise penalize” a physician in retaliation for that physician’s advocacy of medically appropriate health care. An employer who acts in good faith on an honest but mistaken belief that discharge of an employee is required by a legitimate business reason has not breached the employment contract. section 2056, subdivision (c), covers a decision to both “terminate an employment” or “otherwise penalize” a physician in retaliation for that physician’s advocacy of medically appropriate health care. Because tort liability arising from conspiracy presupposes that the coconspirator is legally capable of committing the tort (because he owes a duty to the plaintiff recognized by law and is thus potentially subject to liability for a breach of that duty), we hold that a third party who is not (and never was) the plaintiff’s employer cannot be liable for conspiracy to wrongfully terminate the plaintiff’s employment in violation of public policy.” Analysis
The discharge of an employee in contravention of fundamental public policy, as expressed in a statute or constitutional provision, can serve as the basis for a tort action for wrongful discharge. (Gantt v. Sentry Insurance, supra, 1 Cal. 4th at pp. 1094-1097; see Rojo v. Kliger (1990) 52 Cal. 3d 65, 88-91 [276 Cal.Rptr. 130, 801 P.2d 373].) Accordingly, since section 2056 expresses a public policy to protect physicians and surgeons from retaliation for advocating medically appropriate health care, a wrongful [84 Cal. App. 4th 52] discharge action can be premised on a termination in violation of that public policy. fn. 11 In this case, there was sufficient evidence adduced at trial from which the jury could have concluded (1) that the termination of Khajavi's employment...
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