West Virginia Record

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Judge dismisses King's suit against Putnam General

By Chris Dickerson | Feb 9, 2006

HUNTINGTON – A United States District Judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Dr. John A. King against Putnam General Hospital.

The hospital had sought the motion to dismiss the case after King sued Putnam General alleging that the termination of his privileges by the Medical Executive Committee of Putnam General Hospital was unlawful, improper and the basis for civil damages.

Judge Robert C. Chambers, U.S. District Court Judge of the Southern District of West
Virginia, disagreed on all counts and dismissed King's claims in their entirety.

In dismissing the suit, Chambers cited numerous previous state Supreme Court rulings.

King's due process claims failed, Chambers said, because the Supreme Court has said the action of a private hospital do not constitute state action and are not subject to due process standard.

King's claim of breach of contract failed, Chambers wrote, because hospital bylaws do not constitute a contract between the hospital and its personnel. And King did not allege in his complaint that his contract incorporated the bylaws.

King's claim of tortious interference that Putnam General interfered with both contractual obligations and business relationships doesn't stand, Chambers said, because he didn't identify any contractual relationship with a third party. Nor did he allege Putnam General intentionally interfered with his relationships with his patients.

King could not be reached for comment. After his suspension from Putnam General, he moved to Florida.

"We are very pleased with the Court's ruling," said Daniel Lauffer, CEO of Putnam General. "It endorses the position we've held all along - there was no evidence to support Dr. King's allegations. As always, Putnam General Hospital continues to be committed to providing quality patient care to the people of our community."

King has a long history in the court system, both as a plaintiff and a defendant. More than 100 of his patients already have filed medical malpractice suits against him and Putnam General for operations he performed while he was there.

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