Pfenninger v. Exempla, Inc

In Pfenninger v. Exempla, Inc., 12 P.3d 830 (Colo. App. 2000), the Court reversed the trial court's judgment dismissing plaintiffs' defamation claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on failure to exhaust administrative remedies. There, contrary to the trial court's conclusion that the claim first must be presented to the Committee on Anti-competitive Conduct (CAC), the Court concluded that the CAC's inquiry was limited to whether certain disciplinary action against Pfenninger by the Exempla Board of Directors "resulted from unreasonable anti-competitive conduct." The Court further concluded that the defamation claim was independent of any anti-competitive conduct claim. Therefore, the Court held that plaintiffs' defamation claim was not subject to the jurisdiction of the CAC, that plaintiffs did not have to exhaust their administrative remedies, and that they properly filed their defamation claim in district court. The Court also concluded that the trial court erred in relying upon Ryals v. St. Mary-Corwin Regional Medical Center, 987 P.2d 865 (Colo. App. 1999), to dismiss plaintiffs' defamation claim because all the claims in Ryals were held to be based upon anti-competitive conduct, and the CAC properly had jurisdiction over those claims.