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William I. Babchuk, M.D., P.C. v. Indiana Univ. Health Tipton Hosp., Inc.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

April 22, 2015

William I. Babchuk, M.D., P.C., d/b/a Babchuk Imaging, P.C., and William I. Babchuk, Appellants-Plaintiffs,
v.
Indiana University Health Tipton Hospital, Inc., d/b/a Indiana University Health Tipton Hospital, Appellee-Defendant

Appeal from the Tipton Circuit Court. The Honorable Thomas R. Lett, Judge. Cause No. 80C01-1207-PL-265.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS: Gregory W. Moore, Clark Hill PLC, Birmingham, Michigan.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: John David Hoover, Laurie E. Martin, Hoover Hull, LLP, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Najam, Judge. Baker, J., and Friedlander, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 1253

Najam, Judge.

Statement of the Case

[¶1] William I. Babchuk, M.D., P.C. d/b/a Babchuk Imaging, P.C. and William I. Babchuck (collectively " Babchuck" ) appeal the trial court's order dismissing Babchuk's complaint against Indiana University Health Tipton Hospital, Inc., d/b/a Indiana University Health Tipton Hospital (" the Hospital" ) for failure to prosecute under Trial Rule 41(E). Babchuk presents a single issue for our review, namely, whether the trial court abused its discretion when it dismissed this action. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶2] On September 4, 2008, the Hospital and Babchuk executed a contract whereby Babchuk agreed to provide radiology services for the Hospital. The contract term was five years with the option to renew for one-year terms thereafter. In June 2012, after learning that Dr. Babchuk had allegedly directed two hospital staff members to delete or destroy hospital records, the Hospital terminated its contract with Babchuk. The Hospital also suspended Dr. Babchuk's privileges to practice medicine at the Hospital.

[¶3] On July 17, 2012, Babchuk filed his complaint against the Hospital and other defendants[1] alleging breach of contract, tortious interference with a contract, and defamation. And on November 26, in response to a partial motion to dismiss,[2] Babchuk filed an amended complaint alleging only breach of contract against the Hospital. On December 18, the Hospital filed its answer to the amended complaint.

[¶4] On August 29, 2013, Babchuk filed a complaint against the Hospital and other defendants in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (" federal court" ) alleging " deprivation of

Page 1254

property under color of state law without due process pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983." Appellants' App. at 33. And on May 28, 2014, Babchuk's attorney " asked whether [the Hospital] would stipulate to [an] amendment [of the complaint in federal court] which added [a] breach of contract claim." Id. at 21. The hospital " represented that [it] would consider it and asked if [Babchuk] would dismiss th[e] pending state court ...


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