An orthopaedic surgeon (Dr. Smyth) was successful in having the Court set aside a final Arbitration Ruling that had recommended a denial of his reappointment to the medical staff at the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital (the “Hospital”)

26. December 2007 0

Administrative law – Decisions of administrative tribunals – Arbitration Board – Scope of arbitration agreement – Physicians and Surgeons – Hospital privileges – Judicial review – Jurisdiction

Smyth v. Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital, [2007] O.J. No. 4284, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, November 5, 2007, S.J. Kershman J.

Dr. Smyth, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Hospital, applied to set aside a final Arbitration Ruling made by Dr. Peter McLaughlin, which recommended the denial of Dr. Smyth’s reappointment to the medical staff at the Hospital. The primary thrust of the application was that the Arbitration Award should be set aside on the basis that the award (1) dealt with a dispute that the Arbitration Agreement did not cover and (2) contained a decision on a matter that was beyond the scope of the Agreement. The Court reviewed the Arbitration Agreement and noted that the Agreement set out two specific issues that were to be dealt with at the Arbitration Hearing:

1. Dr. Smyth has not complied with the expectations set out in the Board of Directors Resolution; and

2. Dr. Smyth will not agree to perform a minimum 1 in 4 on call without stipulations as required by the MAC.

The Medical Advisory Committee (“MAC”) of the Hospital argued that the Arbitration Hearing was not limited to merely the two issues. The Court reviewed the Agreement and held that it provided that the only two issues to be dealt with at the Hearing were to be the two specific issues as noted by Dr. Smyth. The Court indicated that if the parties had intended the scope of the Arbitration Agreement to include additional matters, specific wording should have been included in the Arbitration Agreement.

In this case, the Arbitrator, Dr. McLaughlin, made a ruling that clearly dealt with and was based on matters beyond the scope of the two specific issues set out in the Arbitration Agreement, including references to “recurrence of destructive and aggressive behaviour by Dr. Smyth over a long period of time” and “a significant and well documented history of aggressive and destructive behaviour on the part of Dr. Smyth dating back to 1999”. The Court noted that the Ruling was based on facts and issues beyond the scope of the Arbitration Agreement because it dealt with matters of Dr. Smyth’s conduct going back to 1999. Therefore, pursuant to s. 46(7) of the Arbitration Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 17, the ruling of the Arbitrator was set aside. As part of the decision, the Court ordered that Dr. Smyth shall have full privileges at the Hospital pending the completion of the arbitration process and any related appeals therefrom.

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