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Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi, Inc. v. Lambert

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

January 27, 2015

BAPTIST MEMORIAL HOSPITAL-NORTH MISSISSIPPI, INC., AND BAPTIST MEMORIAL HEALTH SERVICES, INC., APPELLANTS
v.
C. JAKE LAMBERT, M.D., APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LAFAYETTE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/16/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ANDREW K. HOWORTH. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: GRANTED APPELLEE'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT.

FOR APPELLANTS: STEPHAN L. MCDAVID, REBECCA LYNN WILKS.

FOR APPELLEE: CHARLES M. MERKEL JR., EDWARD P. CONNELL JR.

ROBERTS, J., FOR THE COURT. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., ISHEE, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. CARLTON, J., DISSENTS WITH SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION, JOINED BY BARNES, J.

OPINION

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - TORTS - OTHER THAN PERSONAL INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE

Page 110

EN BANC.

ROBERTS, J.

¶1. In 2006, Dr. Jake Lambert filed a complaint in the Lafayette County Circuit Court against several parties, including Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi Inc. (Hospital) and Baptist Memorial Health Services Inc. (collectively Baptist), related to his termination. Baptist filed a counterclaim against Dr. Lambert alleging he breached his employment contract. The circuit court granted summary judgment on Dr. Lambert's complaint in favor of Baptist; however, Baptist's counterclaim was not addressed at that time, nor was it addressed in the first appeal.[1] Subsequently, Baptist pursued its counterclaim, but the circuit court granted summary judgment on the issue to Dr. Lambert, which Baptist now appeals. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. The underlying facts, as detailed in our prior opinion, are as follows:

Dr. Lambert signed an employment agreement with Baptist Health Services on February 26, 2004. He agreed to provide cardio-thoracic-surgery services to the Hospital located in Oxford, Mississippi. Almost immediately after Dr. Lambert's employment began, the Hospital began to receive complaints from staff and patients about Dr. Lambert's angry and abusive behavior. They reported his demeaning attitude, insecurity and hesitancy in decision making, hand shaking, freezing up during surgery, and anger toward patients and their families.
After numerous complaints about Dr. Lambert's anger issues were filed, Zach Chandler, the Hospital's CEO, requested that Dr. Lambert attend a discretionary interview. At the interview, Dr. Lambert agreed to be referred to the Mississippi Professional Health Program (" MPHP" ). The MPHP then referred him to Dr. Edward Anderson at Pine Grove Recovery Center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Dr. Lambert was evaluated by Dr. Anderson on December 15, 2004. Dr. Anderson submitted his detailed evaluation to the Hospital. Dr. Anderson made the following recommendations:
1. Dr. Lambert should enter a monitoring contract with Dr. Gary Carr and the Mississippi Professionals

Page 111

Health Program for a period of no less than five years. This monitoring should include parameters of disruptive physician behavior as well as monitoring of his surgical performance, due to the fact that there have been several occasions on which his team has felt he has " frozen up" during the surgical process.
2. Dr. Lambert should enter an intensive, structured treatment to address the disruptive behavior described above and his underlying personality disorder. The treatment program should be one approved by the Mississippi Professionals Health Program.
3. Dr. Lambert, the administration of Baptist Hospital of North Mississippi, or the Mississippi Professionals Health Program are invited to seek a second opinion, should they disagree with these findings or recommendations.

. . . .

Dr. Anderson filed an addendum, ...


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