Summit Health, Ltd. v. Pinhas

PETITIONER: Summit Health, Ltd.
LOCATION: Ray Brook Federal Correctional Institution

DOCKET NO.: 89-1679
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1990-1991)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 500 US 322 (1991)
ARGUED: Nov 26, 1990
DECIDED: May 28, 1991

J. Mark Waxman - on behalf of the Petitioner
Lawrence Silver - on behalf of the Respondent
Lawrence G. Wallace - as amicus curiae on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case


Media for Summit Health, Ltd. v. Pinhas

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 26, 1990 in Summit Health, Ltd. v. Pinhas

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 28, 1991 in Summit Health, Ltd. v. Pinhas

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the Court in No. 89-1679, Summit Health Limited versus Pinhas will be announced by Justice Stevens.

John Paul Stevens:

The respondent in this case is a successful ophthalmological surgeon practicing in Los Angeles.

He filed a complaint in the District Court alleging that the petitioner, Summit Health Midway Hospital Center, its medical staff, and others have entered into a conspiracy to drive him out of business because he refused to adhere to their requirement, that he used an unnecessary assistant in his eye surgery and he refused their subsequent offer of a sham contract in which they would pay him for services that he would not actually perform.

He claim that other doctors, including some of the petitioners, had entered the conspiracy and used the peer review process to exclude him from providing ophthalmological services in order to capture a greater share of the Los Angeles market for themselves.

Among his allegations was a claim that the conspiracy violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act.

The District Court granted the petitioner's motion to dismiss the complaint, but the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reinstated his anti-trust claim.

We granted certiorari to consider petitioners' contention that the complaint fails to satisfy the jurisdiction requirements of the Sherman Act because it does not describe a factual nexus between the alleged boycott and interstate commerce.

The case involves an alleged restraint in the practice of ophthalmological services.

The restraint was accomplished by an alleged misuse of a congressionally regulated peer review process, which respondent characterizes as a gateway that controls access to the market for his services.

The gateway was closed to him both at Midway and at other hospitals because petitioners insisted upon adhering to an unnecessarily costly procedure.

In an opinion filed with the Clerk today, we hold that the anti-trust claim that members of the peer review committee conspired with others to abuse that process and deny him access to the market or ophthalmological services provided by general hospitals in Los Angeles as a sufficient nexus with interstate commerce to support federal jurisdiction.

Accordingly we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

Justice Scalia has filed a dissenting opinion in which Justices O'Connor, Kennedy, and Souter have joined.