United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Dr. Theodore Schreiber, M.D., Plaintiff,
Tenet Healthcare Corporation, et al., Defendants.
Stephanie Dawkins Davis U.S. Magistrate Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS AND COMPEL ARBITRATION
J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge.
a cardiologist formerly employed by Detroit Medical Center,
alleges that Defendants engaged in retaliation within the
meaning of the federal False Claims Act (“FCA”)
when they took adverse employment actions against him. He
also alleges that he was misclassified as an independent
contractor when he should have been paid as an employee, in
violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”). He further pleads several state law
causes of action, including violations of the Michigan
Medicaid False Claims Act, retaliatory discharge in violation
of Michigan public policy, retaliatory removal of clinical
privileges in violation of Michigan public policy, false
light defamation, violation of the Bullard-Plawecki Employee
Right to Know Act, tortious interference with contractual
expectations, intentional infliction of emotional distress,
and civil conspiracy.
argue that these claims are all subject to arbitration
provisions that Dr. Schreiber agreed to in his personal
corporation's contract with Defendant VHS Harper Hutzel
Hospital, Inc. (“VHS”) on November 8, 2017 and
December 11, 2017. The Court will grant this motion in part
and compel arbitration on the two causes of action arising
under federal law, Count I and VIII, but it will decline to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state
law causes of action.
Schreiber is a “world-renowned interventional
cardiologist” who was recruited and hired by the
Detroit Medical Center (“DMC”) in 2004. (Compl.
¶¶ 13-15). He was employed as the President of the
DMC Cardiovascular Institute and Specialist-in-Chief of
Cardiovascular Medicine at the DMC. (Id. at ¶
16). Dr. Schreiber also founded Cardio Team One
(“CTO”). CTO began operating in 2008 with Dr.
Schreiber as Director, and it entailed the 24/7 presence of a
medical team available to perform emergency balloon
angioplasty and stenting. (Id. at ¶¶
2009, Dr. Schreiber signed a Physician Employment Agreement
as the President of the DMC Cardiovascular Institute. That
agreement was to be effective on June 1, 2009 and terminate
on April 30, 2014. (Dkt. 26-1, Pl. Ex. L). Dr. Schreiber also
signed a Physician Independent Contractor Agreement with DMC
to be effective from May 1, 2010 to April 30, 2012. (Dkt.
26-1, Pl. Ex. M). DMC was sold to VHS in 2010. (Compl. at
¶ 42). In 2011, VHS signed two Physician Independent
Contract agreements with Dr. Schreiber, one to be effective
from December 1, 2011 to November 30, 2012, and the other to
be effective from July 28, 2011 to December 31, 2013. (Dkt.
26-1, Pl. Ex. J & K). VHS was sold to Tenet Healthcare
Corporation (“Tenet”) in 2013. (Compl. at ¶
43). In 2014, DMC opened its Heart Hospital, which was
developed with Dr. Schreiber's assistance. (Id.
at ¶¶ 35-38).
Complaint alleges that from the beginning Tenet sacrificed
patient care for profit-making. Plaintiff observes that after
the takeover Tenet made significant budgetary cuts to DMC,
including depriving the Cath lab and intensive care unit of
sufficient personnel. (Id. at ¶¶ 54-55).
Plaintiff further alleges that doctors came to him to voice
their concerns that these aggressive cuts were diminishing
standards of care. Dr. Schreiber, along with Dr. Kaki and Dr.
Elder, brought these complaints to the attention of hospital
executives, including Defendants Tedeschi and Steiner.
(Id. at ¶¶ 56-59). He also alleges that
Tenet was foisting unnecessary and dangerous medical
procedures on patients to increase Medicare and Medicaid
income, in addition to other misconduct. (Id. at
end of 2017, allegedly due to his outspoken complaints to
hospital administrators, Dr. Schreiber was stripped of his
positions as President and Specialist-in-Chief and was
demoted to the positions of Executive Director of the
Cardiology Service Line and Program Director of the
Interventional Cardiology Fellowship. (Id. At ¶
79). His new positions entailed substantially less authority
over budget allocation and the administration of the Heart
Hospital. (Id. at ¶ 80). The contracts for
these positions contained the arbitration provisions that are
the subject of Defendants' motion.
of 2018, Tenet and DMC executives instructed various of their
staff to produce “all Harper-Hutzel Cardiology quality
& peer review documents from May 1, 2015 to
present” for review by outside counsel from the law
firm Latham & Watkins. (Id. at ¶ 88). Dr.
Schreiber objected to this process as violative of the
sanctity of the peer review process and thereby dangerous,
and Defendant Tedeschi informed Dr. Schreiber that DMC and
Tenet executives were very upset with his objections.
(Id. at ¶¶ 89-91). Latham & Watkins
began their review in August of 2018. (Id. at ¶
92). Dr. Schreiber met with Latham & Watkins attorneys
for an interview on September 20, 2018. (Id. at
¶ 97). The interviews led to the production of a report,
which, at the time of the complaint, had not been provided to
Dr. Schreiber. (Id. at ¶¶ 98-99).
October 1, 2018 letter, Defendant Steiner informed Dr.
Schreiber that he was terminated from his leadership
positions due to an investigation that resulted in a
determination that he had violated Tenet Standards of
Conduct. (Id. at ¶ 106). That same day,
Defendants emailed more than 5, 000 hospital employees that
Dr. Schreiber, along with several other cardiologists, had
been terminated for unspecified violations of the Tenet
Standards of Conduct. (Id. at ¶ 111).
Defendants' conduct also forced him to resign from the
medical staff at the DMC. (Id. at ¶ 102).
filed his complaint on April 1, 2019. [Dkt. # 1]. On May 7,
2019 Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss and Compel
Arbitration . That motion was set for a hearing on July
25, 2019 , but, following a status conference on July 17,
2019, the Court adjourned the hearing to give the parties
time to conduct limited discovery into whether or not there
were other contracts between Defendants and Plaintiff.
Plaintiff filed his supplemental brief  on September 12,
2019. Defendants filed their Response  on September 26,
2019. The Court held a hearing on Defendants' motion on
October 3, 2019.
the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 2,
(“FAA”), a written agreement to arbitrate
disputes which arises out of a contract involving
transactions in interstate commerce “shall be valid,
irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist
at law or in equity for the revocation of any
contract.” Stout v. J.D. Byrider, 228 F.3d
709, 714 (6th Cir. 2000). “[A]ny doubts regarding
arbitrability should be resolved in favor of
arbitration.” Fazio v. Lehman Bros., 340 F.3d
386, 392 (6th Cir. 2003) (internal citation omitted).
“Despite this strong presumption in favor of
arbitration, “arbitration is a matter of contract
between the parties, and one cannot be required to submit to
arbitration a dispute which it has not agreed to submit to
arbitration.” NCR Corp. v. Korala Assocs.,
Ltd., 512 F.3d 807, 813 (6th Cir. 2008) (quoting
Simon v. Pfizer Inc., 398 F.3d 765, 775 (6th
alleges the ...