The opinion of the court was delivered by: Brotman, District Judge.
Presently before the court are three motions —
plaintiff's appeal from the November 9, 1990 order of the
Magistrate Judge, plaintiff's appeal from the December 27, 1990
order of the Magistrate Judge, and defendants' motion for
Plaintiff is a cardiothoracic surgeon who was denied medical
staff privileges at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center ("Our
Lady of Lourdes" or the "hospital") in May of 1987. He brings
this suit against the hospital, its Board of Trustees, the
individual members of the Executive Committee and the Ad Hoc
Committee of the hospital which denied him staff privileges,
the attorneys who represented the hospital at the review
proceedings and the retired judge who presided over the Ad Hoc
Hearing Committee. He claims that defendants violated the
antitrust laws and infringed his due process rights when he was
denied staff privileges at Our Lady of Lourdes.
Before the court are plaintiff's appeals from the November 9,
1990 and December 27, 1990 orders of the Magistrate Judge
denying him certain relief, and defendants' motion for summary
judgment on all claims. The court heard argument on these
motions on March 1, 1991, and will address each in turn.*fn1
II. APPEAL FROM THE ORDERS OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
A decision by the Magistrate Judge on a non-dispositive
motion will be set aside only if the district court finds that
the determination was clearly erroneous or contrary to law.
General Rule 40(D)(4)(a); Fed.R. Civ.P. 72(a); see
Cippollone v. Liggett Group, Inc., 785 F.2d 1108, 1113 (3d
Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 976, 108 S.Ct. 487,
98 L.Ed.2d 485 (1987). Hence, the court will examine each of
the rulings of the Magistrate Judge to which plaintiff objects
in order to determine whether they were clearly erroneous or
contrary to law.
Plaintiff's first contention of error is that he should have
been allowed to name Does 1-200 as additional defendants in
this action. The court cannot find that the Magistrate Judge's
denial of plaintiff's motion to name 200 fictitious defendants
was clearly erroneous or contrary to law. Plaintiff has already
been allowed to amend his complaint to add new defendants. At
the time he denied plaintiff's motion to add Does 1-200 as
defendants, the Magistrate Judge expressly informed plaintiff
that he could move in the future to amend his complaint
pursuant to Fed.R. Civ.P. 15(a) as to any specific newly named
individual, and that such motion would be judged on the merits.
Plaintiff's rights are adequately protected by the ruling of
the Magistrate Judge, and plaintiff suffers no prejudice from
having to move to amend his complaint to name a specific
Plaintiff appeals from the denial of his motion to institute
criminal charges and/or ethical disciplinary proceedings
against Joseph M. Gorrell, Esq., Burton Eichler, Esq., Michael
Brennan, Esq., William Cahill, Esq., and the Honorable Edward
Martino. As the Magistrate Judge ruled, this court has no
jurisdiction to institute criminal charges against these
individuals. In addition, the court finds that it was not
clearly erroneous or contrary to law to deny plaintiff's motion
to institute ethical disciplinary proceedings against the
above-named attorneys as plaintiff has failed to come forward
with any facts supporting his contention that the attorneys
violated the ethical rules governing the behavior of attorneys.
The Magistrate Judge also denied plaintiff's motion to compel
the production of the medical records of Elmer Grimes, M.D.,
or, in the alternative, to compel the deposition of his widow.
Dr. Grimes served on the Ad Hoc Committee which voted to
reaffirm the Executive Committee's denial of staff privileges
to Dr. Brown. Dr. Grimes died recently from a brain tumor. Dr.
Brown contends that it is likely that the brain tumor affected
Dr. Grimes reasoning ability; therefore, plaintiff argues that
he is entitled to discovery concerning the nature and extent of
the tumor. The Magistrate Judge denied plaintiff's motion as
the medical records of Dr. Grimes are irrelevant to the instant
litigation and because the records are protected by
doctor/patient privilege. The Magistrate Judge further found
that allowing discovery of those items would constitute an
invasion of privacy. For similar reasons, the Magistrate Judge
denied the motion to compel the deposition of Dr. Grimes'
widow. The court concurs with the Magistrate Judge's ruling.
Plaintiff also sought the entry of summary judgment against
John Manion and the Board of Trustees for their failure to
comply with his discovery requests. The Magistrate Judge denied
that motion without prejudice to plaintiff's right to renew
that motion before this court. After examining plaintiff's
submissions, this court finds that defendants have
substantially, if not completely, complied with plaintiff's
discovery requests. Hence, the court will not enter summary
judgment against John Manion and the Board of Trustees as a
Dr. Brown moved to compel defendants to provide local (i.e.
Camden County) access to discovery. The Magistrate Judge denied
that motion as there is no requirement in the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure that discovery materials be kept locally. This
ruling was not clearly erroneous, and this court will not
The Magistrate Judge also denied plaintiff's motion to compel
defendants' counsel to accept service of process for certain
defendants. Plaintiff contends that personal service is
time-consuming and inconvenient. The court finds that the
Magistrate Judge's ruling was not clearly erroneous, and
plaintiff must comply with the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 4
despite any inconvenience to him.
Plaintiff objects to other provisions of the Magistrate
Judge's orders. After examining the submissions of the parties,
the court is satisfied that the rulings of the Magistrate Judge
were not clearly erroneous or contrary to law. Hence,
plaintiff's motions to reverse or modify the November 9, 1990
and December 27, 1990 orders of the Magistrate Judge will be
denied in their entirety.
III. DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Defendants now move for summary judgment or dismissal on
several grounds. In order to address defendants' motion, the
court must detail the facts in this matter.
On July 1, 1984, plaintiff applied for medical staff
privileges at Our Lady of Lourdes. The hospital Credentials
Committee granted plaintiff administrative temporary privileges
in cardiovascular surgery.
On February 8, 1985, the Credentials Committee reviewed
plaintiff's application with plaintiff present. The Credentials
Committee recommended that " . . . Dr. Brown should demonstrate
current expertise and proficiency in cardiothoracic surgery .
. . "Defendants' Appendix ("DA") at 401. The Credentials
Committee further recommended that Dr. Brown "could act as an
assistant cardiothoracic surgeon with no primary cardiothoracic
responsibilities . . ." DA at 402. On April 19, 1985, the
Credentials Committee met again, and voted unanimously to
reject Dr. Brown's application for Medical Staff privileges. DA
at 401. It based its decision on questions relating to Dr.
Brown's management of patients from 1967-73 at Atlantic City
Medical Center ("ACMC") and his surgical judgment in treating
patients from 1974-77 at Huntington Memorial Hospital. DA at
404. In addition, it found Dr. Brown had "failed to provide
evidence of present competence in Cardiothoracic Surgery."
The Executive Committee met on May 6, 1985 and unanimously
adopted the Credentials Committee recommendation to reject Dr.
Brown for active staff privileges. DA at 2. In addition, the
Executive Committee affirmed the decision of the administrative
department to rescind Dr. Brown's temporary privileges at the
Plaintiff requested a hearing before an ad hoc committee of
the Medical Staff concerning his denial of staff privileges in
a letter dated May 9, 1985. DA at 405. Dr. Brown, through
counsel, withdrew his application for privileges without
prejudice on June 21, 1985 at the hearing before the Ad Hoc
Committee. DA at 8-10. The Committee informed Dr. Brown that it
would "retain his file. All of the investigation we have done
will be in his file, and we will retain that file, and ...