Fahlen v. Sutter Cent. Valley Hosps.Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, a hospital staff physician, claimed the hospital’s decision to terminate his staff privileges was an act of retaliation for his reports of substandard performance by hospital nurses and thus a violation of Cal. Health & Safety Code 1278.5. Defendants moved to dismiss on grounds that Plaintiff could not bring a civil suit under section 1278.5 unless he first succeeded by mandamus in overturning the hospital’s action. The appellate court held that Plaintiff could pursue his claims based on section 1278.5 even though he had not previously sought and obtained a mandamus judgment against the hospital’s decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a physician’s claim that a hospital decision to restrict or terminate his or her staff privileges was an act of retaliation for his or her whistleblowing in furtherance of patient care and safety need not seek and obtain a mandamus petition to overturn the decision before filing a civil action under section 1278.5.