Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Conklin v. University Of Washington Medical Center

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

June 28, 2018

JEREMY CONKLIN, Plaintiff,
v.
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON MEDICINE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

          Robert S. Lasnik United States District Judge

         Plaintiff, an osteopathic physician, applied for a congenital cardiac surgery clinical fellowship sponsored by the University of Washington in 2015, 2016, and 2017.[1] His application was rejected each time. After the 2017 rejection, plaintiff wrote to the program director suggesting that his application should be given preferential treatment under RCW 73.16.010 because he is a veteran. The program director responded that his application had been rejected because he did not meet one of the eligibility requirements, namely “[c]ertification or eligibility for certification by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.” Dkt. # 4-1 at 21.

         Pursuant to RCW 70.41.235:

A hospital that provides health services to the general public may not discriminate against a qualified doctor of osteopathic medicine and surgery licensed under chapter 18.57 RCW, who has applied to practice with the hospital, solely because that practitioner was board certified or eligible under an approved osteopathic certifying board instead of a board certified or eligible respectively under an approved medical certifying board.

         On January 22, 2018, plaintiff filed this lawsuit against various entities involved or associated with the University of Washington School of Medicine alleging that the fellowship program discriminated against him based on the fact that he is board certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery rather than the American Board of Thoracic Surgeons. Plaintiff seeks a preliminary injunction prohibiting the University of Washington from discriminating against osteopathic physicians in violation of RCW 70.41.235 and affirmatively requiring the University (a) to withdraw from the matching program it uses to select residents and fellows, (b) to recognize all certifications as equivalent for purposes of its graduate medical educational (“GME”) training programs, and (c) to fill 10.6% of its GME training positions with osteopathic board certified physicians.[2]

         Having reviewed the memoranda, declarations, and exhibits submitted by the parties, [3] the Court finds as follows:

         A preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy that may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff is entitled to such relief.” Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 22 (2008). “A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must show that: (1) []he is likely to succeed on the merits, (2) []he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, (3) the balance of equities tips in [his] favor, and (4) an injunction is in the public interest.” Farris v. Seabrook, 677 F.3d 858, 864 (9th Cir. 2012) (citing Winter, 555 U.S. at 20).[4] Because plaintiff seeks a mandatory injunction, i.e., one that would require defendants to take affirmative action rather than simply maintaining the status quo until this matter can be resolved, he has an even higher burden. Plaintiff must show more than a mere likelihood of success on the merits: he “must establish that the law and facts clearly favor [his] position.” Garcia v. Google, Inc., 786 F.3d 733, 740 (9th Cir. 2015). In addition, “mandatory injunctions are not granted unless extreme or very serious damage will result and are not issued in doubtful cases . . . .” Marlyn Nutraceuticals, Inc. v. Mucos Pharma GmbH & Co., 571 F.3d 873, 879 (9th Cir. 2009).

         Plaintiff has not shown either a likelihood of success on the merits or a likelihood of irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction. When his application for the congenital cardiac surgery fellowship was rejected by the University of Washington School of Medicine, plaintiff was not “licensed under chapter 18.57 RCW” and had arguably not “applied to practice with” a “hospital.” Notwithstanding the declaration of Dr. Stanley Flemming, [5] whether the anti-discrimination provision of the statute applies to graduate-level medical education programs and whether plaintiff was within the class of people protected by the statute are in doubt.

         Nor has plaintiff demonstrated a threat of sufficient immediacy to warrant the extraordinary relief of a preliminary injunction. Plaintiff has the burden of demonstrating that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm before a decision on the merits can be rendered. Boardman v. Pac. Seafood Group, 822 F.3d 1011, 1023 (9th Cir. 2016). The only plausible and/or actionable harms plaintiff has identified are the delay in his training caused by his rejection in 2015, 2016, and 2017 and the likelihood that he will be rejected when he applies again in 2019.[6] The injunction plaintiff seeks would not give him the 2018-2020 fellowship position, however, and would therefore not rectify, much less avoid, the harm caused by a delay in training. With regards to the future harm that could arise if plaintiff again applies for the fellowship under the existing eligibility requirements, this case can be resolved before the 2019 application cycle is completed if the parties diligently pursue the litigation.[7]

         For all of the foregoing reasons, plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction (Dkt. # 3) is DENIED.

---------

Notes:

[1] Starting with the thoracic surgeon who was selected in 2017 to join the congenital cardiac surgery fellowship program, the fellowship now involves two years of training. The next application cycle will therefore open in 2019.

[2] Plaintiff also asserts federal anti-trust claims against defendants, giving rise to federal question and supplemental jurisdiction ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.