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.

Johnson Regional Medical Center v. Halterman

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 15, 2017

Johnson Regional Medical Center Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
Dr. Robert Halterman Defendant-Appellant

          Submitted: February 7, 2017

         Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas - Ft. Smith

          Before SMITH, Chief Judge [1] , BENTON and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

          SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.

         Dr. Robert Halterman appeals the district court's[2] grant of summary judgment to Johnson Regional Medical Center (JRMC) in this breach of contract suit and the district court's subsequent award of $64, 931.81 to JRMC. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm.

         I. Background

         The essential facts are undisputed. In early 2013, JRMC recruited Halterman to work as a full-time obstetrician and gynecologist (OB/Gyn) at its Clarksville, Arkansas facilities. On March 20, 2013, Halterman executed three documents with JRMC: (1) a "Physician Recruitment Agreement" (Recruitment Agreement), (2) a Promissory Note (Note) in favor of JRMC in the principal amount of $50, 000.00 plus interest payable in monthly installments, and (3) a "Physician Employment Agreement" (Employment Agreement). After he signed the documents, JRMC advanced Halterman $50, 000 in three installments beginning in April 2013 as a "Signing Advance." The Recruitment Agreement provided that the monthly payments under the promissory note would be forgiven as long as Halterman's employment at JRMC continued. Further, the Recruitment Agreement provided that, absent prior termination, it would continue in full force until the final payment on the Note was made or forgiven, except that obligations which extend beyond this period would survive termination of the agreement.

         However, Halterman's employment with JRMC only lasted around five months-with Halterman beginning work on July 31, 2013, and resigning by letter on December 23, 2013. Halterman cited an injury to his shoulder as the reason for his resignation.

         In response to Halterman's resignation letter, JRMC informed him by letter dated January 17, 2014, that it accepted his resignation and terminated his employment "pursuant to . . . the Employment Agreement" as of the date of his resignation letter. JRMC, in the same letter, informed Halterman that its monthly forgiveness of his Signing Advance loan payments ceased and it demanded payment of the remaining balance of "[t]hirty-five thousand eight hundred fifty two and 30/100 ($37, 894.00) [sic]."[3] Halterman failed to make any payments. He began working elsewhere as a hospitalist during the spring of 2014.

         JRMC filed suit against Halterman alleging that (1) he failed to pay the balance of the Note when due (Count 1), and (2) he breached the terms of the Employment Agreement (Count 2). The suit was originally filed in the Circuit Court of Johnson County, Arkansas, but was removed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas by Halterman under diversity jurisdiction. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on Count 1, and Halterman filed a summary judgment motion on Count 2. The district court granted JRMC's summary judgment motion on Count 1 and denied Halterman's summary judgment motions. JRMC then voluntarily dismissed Count 2. On June 9, 2016, the district court awarded judgment totaling $64, 931.81 to JRMC, including $37, 894.88 in principal owed under the Note, $21, 696.00 in attorney's fees, $3, 849.93 in accrued interest to the date of the order, and $1, 491.00 in additional costs. Halterman appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment to JRMC and its award of attorney's fees and costs. We affirm.

         II. Analysis

         We review "the district court's grant of summary judgment and its interpretation of state contract law de novo." Thornton Drilling v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co., 537 F.3d 943, 945 (8th Cir. 2008). "Summary judgment is proper if the . . . [record] . . . show[s] that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011) (en banc) (internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2)). In conducting our review, we view "the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and giv[e] that party the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the record." Holt v. Howard, 806 F.3d 1129, 1132 (8th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks omitted). "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Here, Halterman argues that all three of the documents that he executed with JRMC constitute a single contract. He next contends that his performance under that contract was excused by (1) JRMC's breach of contract, (2) JRMC's fraudulent inducement related to misrepresentations regarding Halterman's on-call requirements, and/or (3) his shoulder injury. Finally, he asserts that the district court erred in awarding attorney's fees and costs to JRMC.

         A. The ...


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.