Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Wheeless v. Maria Parham Med. Ctr., Inc.

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

December 2, 2014

CLIFFORD ROBERTS WHEELESS, III, M.D., Plaintiff,
v.
MARIA PARHAM MEDICAL CENTER, INC., HENDERSON/VANCE HEALTHCARE 1, INC. f/k/a MARIA PARHAM ANESTHESIA AND PHYSIATRY, INC. d/b/a NORTHERN CAROLINA SURGICAL ASSOCIATES, CYNTHIA ROBINSON, M.D., INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AN EMPLOYEE AND/OR AGENT OF HENDERSON/VANCE HEALTHCARE I, INC., AND/OR MARIA PARHAM MEDICAL CENTER, INC., JOSEPH MULCAHY, M.D., INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AN EMPLOYEE AND/OR AGENT OF HENDERSON/VANCE HEALTHCARE I, INC., AND/OR MARIA PARHAM MEDICAL CENTER, INC., ROBERT NOEL, JR., M.D., INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AN EMPLOYEE AND/OR AGENT OF HENDERSON/VANCE HEALTHCARE I, INC., AND/OR MARIA PARHAM MEDICAL CENTER, INC., ROBERT SINGLETARY, INDIVIDUALLY AND/OR CEO AND EMPLOYEE AND/OR AGENT OF HENDERSON/VANCE HEALTHCARE I, INC., AND/OR MARIA PARHAM MEDICAL CENTER, INC., JOHN/JANE/IT DOE 1 THROUGH 5, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AN EMPLOYEE AND/OR AGENT OF HENDERSON/VANCE HEALTHCARE I, INC., AND/OR MARIA PARHAM MEDICAL CENTER, INC., Defendants

Heard in the Court of Appeals October 22, 2014

The Law Office of Colon & Associates, PLLC, by Arlene L. Velasquez-Colon, and Congdon Law, by Jeannette Griffith Congdon, for plaintiff-appellant.

Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, by James M. Powell and Theresa M. Sprain, for defendant-appellees Maria Parham Medical Center, Inc., Henderson/Vance Healthcare I, Inc. f/k/a Maria Parham Anesthesia and Physiatry, Inc. d/b/a Northern Carolina Surgical Associates, Maria Parham Medical Center, Inc., and Robert Singletary.

Yates, McLamb & Weyher, L.L.P., by Dan J. McLamb, Samuel G. Thompson, Jr., and John B. Ward, for defendant-appellees Cynthia Robinson, M.D., Joseph Mulcahy, M.D., and Robert Noel, Jr., M.D.

BRYANT, Judge. Judges ELMORE and ERVIN concur.

OPINION

Page 120

Appeal by plaintiff from orders entered 25 November 2013 by Judge Robert H. Hobgood in Vance County Superior Court, No. 13 CVS 335.

Page 121

BRYANT, Judge.

Since defendants are health care professionals rendering professional services, they are not subject to liability for unfair and deceptive trade practices. Where plaintiff cannot show the existence of a physician-patient relationship, plaintiff's claim for medical malpractice must be dismissed. The doctrine of abatement is applicable where two complaints are substantially identical as to parties, subject matter, issues involved, and relief demanded.

Plaintiff Clifford Roberts Wheeless, III, M.D., is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who held active medical privileges at defendant Maria Parham Medical Center (" MPMC" ) from 1998 to 2006. In 2005, MPMC's medical executive committee conducted a peer review of plaintiff's clinical skills. MPMC then initiated a new peer review in 2006 regarding allegations that plaintiff had violated MPMC's disruptive physician policy. Plaintiff denied these allegations and requested a fair hearing concerning the matter. Prior to the fair hearing, plaintiff and MPMC entered into a mediated settlement agreement in July 2006. This agreement required MPMC to change plaintiff's medical privileges from active to consulting staff, to terminate all further actions against plaintiff, and to abide by a strict confidentiality provision.

Despite the mediated settlement agreement, in August 2006, plaintiff alleged that defendant had failed to honor plaintiff's consulting privileges. Plaintiff again alleged a failure by defendant to acknowledge plaintiff's consulting privileges in early 2007.

In 2009, plaintiff was notified by the North Carolina Medical Board about an anonymous complaint submitted by " W. Blower" alleging inappropriate and disruptive behavior by plaintiff. The anonymous complaint included references to incidents that were raised during the 2005 and 2006 peer reviews. After an investigation by the North Carolina Medical Board, the allegations in the anonymous complaint against plaintiff were dismissed.

On 25 August 2011, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendants MPMC, MPMC Medical Executive Committee, MPMC Board of Directors, Robert Singletary as CEO of MPMC, Cynthia Robinson, M.D., and Whistle Blower 1 through 10. In the complaint, plaintiff alleged, inter alia, claims for unfair and deceptive trade practices, breach of contract, fraud, civil conspiracy, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. On 30 April 2012, plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his claims for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Defendant MPMC filed a motion for summary judgment on 13 June 2012. By means of an order entered 10 August, the trial court granted MPMC's motion, in part, with respect to plaintiff's claims for, inter alia, unfair and deceptive trade practices, actual and constructive fraud, breach of contract, invasion of privacy, civil conspiracy, and tortious interference with contractual relations and prospective economic advantage. The remaining claims proceeded to discovery.[1]

On 28 June 2013, plaintiff filed a second complaint against MPMC; Henderson/Vance Healthcare I, Inc. f/k/a Maria Parham Anesthesia and Physiatry, Inc. d/b/a Northern Carolina Surgical Associates; Cynthia Robinson, M.D., individually and as an employee and/or agent of Henderson/Vance Healthcare I, Inc., and/or MPMC; Joseph Mulcahy, M.D., individually and as an employee and/or agent of Henderson/Vance Healthcare I, Inc.,

Page 122

and/or MPMC; Robert Noel, Jr., M.D., individually and as an employee and/or agent of Henderson/Vance Healthcare I, Inc., and/or MPMC; Robert Singletary, individually and as CEO and employee and/or agent of Henderson/Vance Healthcare I, Inc., and/or MPMC; and John/Jane/It Doe I through 5, individually and as an employee and/or agent of Henderson/Vance Health I, Inc., and/or MPMC (" defendants" ). In the second complaint, plaintiff alleged claims for unfair and deceptive trade practices, malicious prosecution, medical malpractice, negligence, and negligence per se against all defendants. Plaintiff sought compensatory, punitive, special, and treble damages and attorneys' fees.

On 26 July 2013, defendants MPMC, Henderson/Vance Healthcare I, Inc., and Robert Singletary filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). On 26 August, defendants Cynthia Robinson, M.D., Joseph Mulcahy, M.D., and Robert Noel, Jr., M.D., filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). By means of orders entered on 25 November, the trial court granted defendants' motions to dismiss with respect to plaintiff's claims for unfair and deceptive trade practices, medical malpractice, negligence, and negligence per se. The trial court denied defendants' motions with respect to plaintiff's claim for malicious prosecution. Plaintiff appeals.

As an initial matter, we note that plaintiff's appeal is interlocutory since plaintiff's claim from his second complaint for malicious prosecution remains pending before the trial court.

In general, a party cannot immediately appeal from an interlocutory order. Davis v. Davis, 360 N.C. 518, 524, 631 S.E.2d 114, 119 (2006). " The rationale behind [this rule] is that no final judgment is involved in such a denial and the movant is not deprived of any substantial right that cannot be protected by a timely appeal from a final judgment which resolves the controversy on its merits." Block ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.