RICO, Antitrust Complaints Against Mercy Catholic Medical Center Dismissed

Last Friday, an Eastern District of Pennsylvania court dismissed Hayriye Beril Gok’s claims in two business tort and antitrust lawsuits, derivative of an initial sexual harassment suit filed by the plaintiff. The opinion, dismissing the federal claims with prejudice, for now concludes the cases stemming from what the plaintiff contended was her illegal termination from the medical residency program at Mercy Catholic Medical Center (Mercy) in 2015.  

The court explained that in the plaintiff’s first case, the hospital secured summary judgment after the plaintiff twice appealed to the Third Circuit. “It is important that Plaintiff’s current claims stem from perceived wrongdoings throughout that litigation,” the court wrote.

The present order addresses the plaintiff’s second case against Mercy and other defendants, including the hospital it merged with, Trinity Health. The court explains that the thrust of that case focused on the plaintiff’s “perception that Mercy doctors and supervisors had manipulated or falsified her residency evaluations to make her performance seem worse than it was, leading to her termination.”

The plaintiff’s second amended complaint also brought federal antitrust claims, asserting that the Trinity and Mercy merger substantially reduced competition in the healthcare industry, created a monopoly, and that her sexual harassment lawsuit would have interfered with the hospitals’ plans to merge, and she was consequently retaliated against. The second case was lodged by the plaintiff against her former legal counsel, who she claims committed various professional wrongdoings during her previous employment litigation.

The court states that after reviewing the voluminous pleadings and briefs, the plaintiff’s claims “are not plausible, are not supported by sufficient factual allegations, and find no support in Supreme Court or Third Circuit precedent.” The defendants collectively argued that the plaintiff improperly attempted to relitigate her failed contentions in the prior action, and that her claims were plagued with other defects.

The court agrees with the defendants. As to the plaintiff’s antitrust claims against Mercy and others, the court explains that “apart from being several years late under the limitations period, Plaintiff has not alleged an injury with any link to the merger—her injuries would have occurred even without the merger, and her termination had nothing to do with whether the merger was anticompetitive.”

Concerning the plaintiff’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act claims, the defendants contended, and the court concurrs, that they were not plausibly alleged, and that the purported claims were barred by the prior decision. The court thus grants the motions to dismiss, concluding that “[d]espite two additional ‘bites at the apple’ following her first Complaint, Plaintiff did not follow the Court’s instructions and guidance.”

The defendants are represented by Post & Schell P.C., Goldberg Segalla, Weisberg Law, Thomas Thomas & Hafer LLP, and Pennsylvania’s Disciplinary Board by the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts.