Surgeon gets another crack at antitrust lawsuit against orthopedic surgery board

Alan Condon -   Print  |
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An appellate court on Aug. 30 overturned a lower court's decision to permanently throw out a surgeon's lawsuit alleging that the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery blocked him from working at New Jersey hospitals, according to a court opinion posted on Justia

Six notes:

1. A three-judge panel found that since Bruce Ellison, MD, lacked standing, the case should have been dismissed without prejudice, meaning he would get another chance to bring his case before the court.

2. Dr. Ellison, a California-based surgeon, said he wanted to move to New Jersey to practice with RWJBarnabas Health. Around 2012, he sought certification by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, so he could obtain staff privileges, but the board only certifies surgeons who pass its multistep certification exam.

2. According to court documents, Dr. Ellison passed the first step of the exam, but the board allegedly prevented him from taking the second step until he was granted staff privileges at a hospital.

3. The surgeon hasn't applied for staff privileges because he claims the New Jersey hospitals where he wants to work will reject his application because of bylaws that only grant privileges to physicians who are already board certified.

4. In 2016, Dr. Ellison sued the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, which removed the case to federal court, according to the report.

5. The surgeon later amended his complaint to allege that the board violated the Sherman Act, a federal statute that prohibits activities that restrict interstate commerce and competition in the marketplace.

6. Dr. Ellison has "not attempted to apply for medical staff privileges or taken any concrete steps to practice in New Jersey" and his claims that the board "injured him are thus speculative," according to the court, which dismissed the case without prejudice for lack of standing.

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