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Treister v. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Illinois Appellate Court
78 Ill. App. 3d 746 (1979)


Facts

Dr. Michael Treister (plaintiff), a relatively young board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, was a member of the attending staff at seven Chicago hospitals and had staff privileges at those hospitals. Treister interviewed for membership in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (Academy) (defendant). Membership in the Academy was a vital factor with respect to the granting of orthopaedic surgical privileges at hospitals, the determination of medical-malpractice insurance rates by insurance companies, the determination of witness expertise by courts, and the selection of clinics to practice in by young physicians. Dr. Louis Kolb, the interviewer, told Dr. Treister that there was adverse information in the Academy’s file of information on him and that this information would result in the rejection of his application to the Academy. Dr. Kolb declined to let Dr. Treister see the file, to tell him the nature of the charges, or to identify the persons making the charges. Subsequently, Dr. Treister’s application was rejected. Dr. Treister filed a complaint against the Academy to challenge the rejection, arguing that membership in the Academy was a practical necessity for a surgeon seeking recognition and achievement. Dr. Treister sought a declaration that, under due process, he was entitled to be informed of any charges against him, to be informed of the identity of his accusers, to have a fair hearing before an impartial adjudicator, and to have conclusions of fact fairly supported by evidence of record. Dr. Treister also sought a declaration that the rejection was void. The Academy moved to dismiss the complaint. The trial court denied the motion. The Academy appealed, arguing that courts had no jurisdiction over a private professional association’s rejection of an application for initial membership. Dr. Treister argued that, in recent years, courts had held that applicants to professional associations had the right to a fair hearing and reasonable standards for admission.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McGillicuddy, J.)

Dissent (Simon, J.)

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