Superior Court of Los Angeles County Rules in Favor of Dignity Health’s St. Mary Medical Center

Manatt has successfully defended Dignity Health’s St. Mary Medical Center in a lawsuit brought by the hospital’s medical staff seeking a writ of mandate and injunctive relief. Following a one-day trial in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County on June 11, the judge denied the writ of mandate in an extensive written ruling.

The medical staff of St. Mary Medical Center, a Dignity Health hospital located in Long Beach, California, claimed that the hospital had unlawfully usurped the medical staff’s right to self-governance and improperly terminated exclusive services contracts for various hospital services, including emergency, radiology and anesthesiology services, electing instead to contract with new physician groups over the medical staff’s objection.

The court ruled in the health system’s favor, agreeing that Dignity Health is the legal entity ultimately responsible for what happens at the hospital and was therefore empowered to act on the medical staff’s proposed bylaws amendments. The court also ruled that Dignity Health and hospital leadership acted within their discretion in rejecting the proposed amendments and entering into the challenged contracts. The court agreed that a traditional writ of mandate cannot be issued to challenge such discretionary actions, rather than violations of ministerial or clear legal duties.

Manatt’s litigation team included partners Barry Landsberg, Craig Rutenberg and Joanna McCallum and counsel Doreen Shenfeld.

Read the court’s ruling here.

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