Hamdan v. Indiana University Health North Hospital, Inc., No. 16-1074 (7th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
After complaints about his professionalism, Indiana University Hospital required Dr. Hamdan, a U.S. citizen of Palestinian descent, to participate in a peer-review process, which resulted in disciplinary letters. Hamdan successfully appealed. The hospital ultimately voided the letters. Nonetheless, Hamdan resigned and relinquished his hospital privileges. Hamdan sued the hospital for discriminating against him based on race. Hamdan was not a hospital employee and could not sue under Title VII, so he sued under 42 U.S.C. 1981, part of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, intended to protect the ability of newly-freed slaves to enter and enforce contracts. Hamdan alleged discrimination in his contractual relationship with the hospital. The Seventh Circuit affirmed a verdict for the hospital, rejecting an argument that the district court erred in allowing the hospital to ask Hamdan impeachment questions relating to his prior work at other hospitals. The court noted Hamdan’s testimony that his reputation was “untarnished” before he received the disciplinary letters. The Seventh Circuit also rejected an argument that the court erred in permitting the hospital to try to impeach him with questions about matters that were confidential under the peer-review statutes of Indiana, Louisiana, and Michigan. Even if the state laws applied, the judge did not abuse his discretion in allowing impeachment questions about incident reports.