Biondo v. Kootenai Hospital District
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER Plaintiff's Renewed Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 19 ) is GRANTED and Counts Two, Three, Four, and Five are dismissed. Signed by Judge B. Lynn Winmill. (caused to be mailed to non Registered Participants at the addresses listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) by (jp) (Main Document 22 replaced on 8/28/2017 to correct typo) (jp).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF IDAHO
NATALE J. BIONDO,
Case No. 2:17-cv-00039-BLW
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND
KOOTENAI HOSPITAL DISTRICT,
d/b/a, KOOTENAI HEALTH
The Court has before it Defendant Kootenai Hospital District’s Renewed Motion
to Dismiss (Dkt. 19). Having reviewed the briefing and the record, the Court enters the
following Order granting Kootenai’s motion.
Natale J. Biondo was, and is, a licensed physician’s assistant in the State of Idaho.
Second Amended Complaint ¶ 5, Dkt. 18. He applied for medical staff privileges at
Kootenai Health. Id. ¶ 7. Despite a positive recommendation from the credentialing
committee, the Kootenai Hospital District Board denied Biondo’s request for medical
staff privileges. Id. ¶¶ 7,8. They expressed the following reasons as their justification for
Documented poor clinical judgment.
Documented unwillingness or inability to learn basic clinical concepts.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER - 1
Termination of employment at Kootenai Health in September 2010 due
to failure to maintain certification as required by medical staff policy.
Rehired by Kootenai Health in June 2013. “Notice of Intent to
Terminate” Issued and acknowledged by [Biondo] October 2015 for
failure to comply with performance improvement plans. The letter
resulted in [Biondo’s] resignation.
Not eligible for rehire at Kootenai Health due to the reasons listed
Second Amended Complaint, Exhibit B, Dkt. 18. Biondo then filed his complaint in this
action, claiming that his constitutional due process rights were violated, and that
Kootenai Health violated Idaho Code § 48-105, the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §§1-7, and
the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. §§12-27. Id. ¶¶ 18–39. The Court granted in part and denied
in part Defendants’ first motion to dismiss – denying the motion as to the due process
claims, but granting it on all other claims (Sherman Act, Clayton Act, and Idaho
Competition Act claims) with leave to amend. Biondo filed an amended complaint, which
Defendants have again asked the Court to dismiss.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,” in order to “give the defendant
fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007). While a complaint
attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss “does not need detailed factual
allegations,” it must set forth “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555. To survive a
motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER - 2
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. at 556.
The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement,” but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Id. Where a complaint
pleads facts that are “merely consistent with” a defendant's liability, it “stops short of the
line between possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to relief.’” Id. at 557.
The Supreme Court identified two “working principles” that underlie Twombly in
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). First, the court need not accept as true, legal
conclusions that are couched as factual allegations. Id. Rule 8 does not “unlock the doors
of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions.” Id. at 678- 79.
Second, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must state a plausible claim for relief.
Id. at 679. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be
a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience
and common sense.” Id.
A dismissal without leave to amend is improper unless it is beyond doubt that the
complaint “could not be saved by any amendment.” Harris v. Amgen, Inc., 573 F.3d 728,
737 (9th Cir. 2009) (issued 2 months after Iqbal). The Ninth Circuit has held that “in
dismissals for failure to state a claim, a district court should grant leave to amend even if
no request to amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading could
not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts.” Cook, Perkiss and Liehe, Inc. v.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER - 3
Northern California Collection Service, Inc., 911 F.2d 242, 247 (9th Cir. 1990). The
issue is not whether plaintiff will prevail but whether he “is entitled to offer evidence to
support the claims.” Diaz v. Int’l Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 13, 474 F.3d
1202, 1205 (9th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted).
Under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court may consider matters that are subject to judicial
notice. Mullis v. United States Bank, 828 F.2d 1385, 1388 (9th Cir. 1987). The Court may
take judicial notice “of the records of state agencies and other undisputed matters of
public record” without transforming the motions to dismiss into motions for summary
judgment. Disabled Rights Action Comm. v. Las Vegas Events, Inc., 375 F.3d 861, 866,
n.1 (9th Cir. 2004). The Court may also examine documents referred to in the complaint,
although not attached thereto, without transforming the motion to dismiss into a motion
for summary judgment. See Knievel v. ESPN, 393 F.3d 1068, 1076 (9th Cir. 2005).
1. State and Federal Antitrust Claims
For a private citizen to bring a claim under the federal antitrust laws,
[a plaintiff] must prove antitrust injury, which is to say injury
of the type the antitrust laws were intended to prevent and that
flows from that which makes defendants’ acts unlawful. The
injury should reflect the anticompetitive effect either of the
violation or of anticompetitive acts made possible by the
violation. It should, in short, be ‘the type of loss that the
claimed violations … would be likely to cause.’
Brunswick Corp. v. Pueblo Bowl-O-Mat, Inc., 429 U.S. 477, 489 (1977) (citing Zenith
Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, 395 U.S. 100, 135 (1969)). Specifically, a private
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER - 4
citizen bringing an antitrust claim must show that his “injury flows from those aspects or
effects of the conduct that are harmful to consumer welfare.” Rebel Oil Co., Inc. v.
Atlantic Richfield Co., 51 F.3d 1421, 1445 (9th Cir. 1995). Plaintiffs must show more
than “mere injury to their own positions as competitors in the market.” Les Shockley
Racing, Inc. v. Nat'l Hot Rod Ass'n, 884 F.2d 504, 508 (9th Cir. 1989).
The same requirement holds true under Idaho’s Consumer Protection Act. Pope v.
Intermountain Gas Co., 103 Idaho 217, 238 (1982); I.C. § 48-101–118. Furthermore,
“[f]ederal case law [can be] considered to establish unreasonable restraint of Idaho
commerce,” Zoellner v. St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center, Ltd., 937 F.Supp.2d 1261,
1266 (D. Idaho 2013), and, therefore, the antitrust injury requirement applies with equal
force to claims brought under both Federal law and the Idaho Competition Act, I.C. §§
Despite the very specific admonition given by the Court when it granted leave to
amend the Complaint, Biondo has still failed to allege an antitrust injury. That is, he fails
to state an injury that flows from the alleged antitrust violations. Biondo merely claims
that his application for medical staff privileges was denied. However, other than a bare
recitation of the elements, Biondo has not asserted any possible scenario in which this
denial of medical staff privileges was the result of Kootenai Health’s alleged
monopolization or attempt to monopolize. Biondo was denied medical privileges, not
because of a monopoly or an attempt to monopolize, but because of his poor employment
record. Therefore, Defendant’s motion to dismiss Count’s Two, Three, Four, and Five is
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER - 5
granted, this time without leave to amend, since he has already been given that
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
1. Plaintiff’s Renewed Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 19) is GRANTED and Counts
Two, Three, Four, and Five are dismissed.
DATED: August 28, 2017
B. Lynn Winmill
United States District Court
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