Manatt Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Five California Health Systems in Anti-SLAPP Suit

On August 7, 2020, a Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP team that includes Barry Landsberg, Joanna McCallum and Doreen Shenfeld filed an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court on behalf of five of the largest and most prominent California health systems—Dignity Health, Sutter Health, Adventist Health, MemorialCare and Sharp Healthcare—in Bonni v. St. Joseph’s Health System. In Bonni, the defendant hospital suspended and terminated the plaintiff physician’s medical staff privileges following an internal hospital peer review. The plaintiff sued, alleging retaliation and wrongful termination and seeking damages.

On behalf of its health system clients, Manatt argues that the doctor’s claims are subject to California’s anti-SLAPP law, which applies to physician peer review and prevents lawsuits that chill protected participation in matters of public interest. In the amicus brief, the Manatt team contends that physician peer review is critical to the public interest as a means of protecting patients and holding incompetent physicians accountable. Additionally, the brief argues that the rising tide of litigation against hospitals and physician peer reviewers claiming retaliatory physician peer review threatens to stifle the statutorily required physician peer review in California by discouraging frank assessment of a problem physician’s shortcomings.

To read the full amicus brief, click here.

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