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QHG of Springdale, Inc. v. Archer

Court of Appeals of Arkansas
2009 Ark. App. 692 (2009)


Facts

In 2002, Dr. Ernest Archer (plaintiff), an OB/GYN, entered into a five-year employment contract with a hospital, QHG of Springdale, Inc. (QHG) (defendant). The contract required call rotation so that Dr. Archer was not on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but did not specify the amount of rotation required, the value of the on-call services, or QHG’s responsibility in the event that QHG failed to arrange for call rotation. QHG’s own policy required that no doctor should be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, QHG did not provide any call rotation. Dr. Archer was on call by himself 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for over two years. Dr. Archer repeatedly protested, to no avail. In January 2004, QHG exercised its option to terminate Dr. Archer’s employment on 180 days’ notice, with the termination to become effective in July 2004. However, Dr. Archer resigned in May 2004 because he could not operate safely due to problems with his hands. The next day, QHG terminated Dr. Archer’s employment for cause. Dr. Archer sued QHG, alleging that QHG was unjustly enriched by Dr. Archer’s provision of nonstop call coverage for over two years. The trial court granted QHG’s motion for a directed verdict on the unjust-enrichment claim. Dr. Archer appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)

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