Young v. Tri-City Healthcare Dist – Case Brief Summary (California)

In Young v. Tri-City Healthcare Dist. (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 35, the physician plaintiff brought an action for administrative mandate challenging a hospital's summary suspension and termination of his medical staff privileges. (Id. at p. 39.)

The hospital filed a special motion to strike the fifth cause of action, which sought relief from the summary suspension, contending that the alleged misconduct arose solely from protected activity within the meaning of the anti-SLAPP statute--i.e., the conduct of hospital peer review proceedings. (Id. at p. 40.)

The trial court granted the motion, and the physician appealed, contending that his request for administrative mandate did not arise out of protected speech. (Id. at p. 42.)

The Court of Appeal reversed. It explained that even if the conduct of individual public officials in discussing and voting on a public entity's action or decision could constitute an exercise of rights protected under the anti-SLAPP statute, this would not mean that litigation challenging a public entity's action or decision necessarily arises from protected activity because "an act of governance mandated by law, without more, is not an exercise of free speech or petition." (Young, supra, 210 Cal.App.4th at p. 56.)

Thus, the court said, in the context of peer review, a request for judicial review of an administrative decision by a peer review committee must be distinguished from a request for damages based on alleged injury arising from such peer review activity. (Id. at p. 57.)