CAMC sues internists for breach of contract

By Lawrence Smith | Oct 29, 2009

CHARLESTON - A Charleston hospital is seeking repayment on the outstanding balances of loans it made to two doctors to help them establish their respective medical practices.

Charleston Area Medical Center filed separate breach of contract suits against Drs. Mateen Trimzi and Chedada Hatoum in Kanawha Circuit Court. In the respective complaints filed on Sept. 14 and Oct. 16, CAMC alleges both Trimzi and Hatoum failed to honor an three-year commitment to a loan forgiveness program in exchange for working at CAMC.

According to court records, CAMC loaned both Trimzi and Hatoum each $45,000 "to use to pay expenses related to the commencement of [their] practice of medicine in the area served by CAMC." The terms of the "Recruitment and Loan Agreement" called for each to deliver a promissory note in the amount of the principal plus interest over the next 36 months in which each monthly payment would be forgiven so long as they remained with CAMC.

Trimzi, records show, entered his agreement with CAMC on Dec. 12, 2005 at an 8.25 percent interest rate. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2006, Trimizi's monthly payment was $1,410.75.

Six months earlier, Hatoum signed his agreement at a interest rate one percent below Trimzi's that began on Aug. 1, 2005. His monthly payment was $1,393.13.

The terms of the agreement called for the interest rate to increase to 10 percent should the loan go into default. For reasons not stated in court records, both severed their relationship with CAMC resulting in their failure "to comply with the terms of the Agreement, thus defaulting under the condition of the agreement."

As of Aug. 10, CAMC alleges Trimzi owed them $48,453.40 which included an unpaid principal of $35,917.05, and accrued interest of $12,536.35. The unpaid principal on Hatoum's note was $10,850.90 plus $2,098.55 in accrued interest for a total of $12,949.45.

In their suits, CAMC asked they be awarded judgment for the respective outstanding balances plus pre-judgment interest, and court costs. They are represented by Robert L. Bandy with the Charleston law firm of Kay, Casto and Cheney.

Trimzi's and Hatoum's cases are assigned to judges Tod J. Kaufman, and Charles E. King Jr., respectfully.

W.Va. sojourn

According to the state Board of Medicine, Trimzi, 36, a native of Pakistan, has a work address at CAMC's Memorial Division, but a home address in Riverside, Calif. An internist, his West Virginia license expired on June 30, 2007, and he is not licensed to practice in any other state, including California.

After graduating medical school from the Nishtar Medical College at Bahuddin Zakaria University in 1998, Trimzi completed his residency at WVU-Charleston, located on CAMC-Memorial's campus, in 2005. Records show he's never been disciplined for misconduct or sued for malpractice.

Like Trimzi, Hatoum, 42, is also an internist who has no prior disciplinary or legal history. Though he, too, lists CAMC-Memorial as his work address, his home address is in Nashville, Tenn., where is also licensed.

His West Virginia license is still active until June 2010.

A native of Syria, Hatoum graduated medical school the University of Damascus' Faculty of Medicine in 1992. After finishing one residency at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Md. in 2002, records show Hatoum completed another at WVU's School of Medicine in 2004.

Kanawha Circuit Court, case numbers 09-C-1710 (Trimzi) and 09-C-1947 (Hatoum)

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