Court holds that employer had sole right to interpret contract obligation and employee-doctor could not seek independent review by court
In Taylor v. Spectrum Health Primary Care Partners, the plaintiff doctor sued his former employer after his contract of employment was discontinued. He had signed an employment contract that allowed him to be fired under three conditions, one of which was a "serious, intentional violation of the standards of patient care." The Hospital pointed to this provision to support its termination, and the Board of Directors of the Hospital voted to uphold the termination on internal review.
Because the contract expressly designated the Hospital's own Board of Directors "as the entity empowered to determine" whether such a violation had occurred, the Court of Appeals ruled that the doctor lacked standing to seek review by an independent jurist. The Court further held that since the contract provided for this form of decision-making, there was no "dispute" under the contract, and therefore the doctor also could not seek review by an arbitrator--as provided under the contract.