FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that two Superior Court judges wrongly dismissed antitrust lawsuits filed against Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and a local group of anesthesiologists.
The Supreme Court reinstated the lawsuits last week. Both suits were filed by David Odom, a Fairbanks anesthesiologist.
The rulings Friday reestablish Odom's bid to seek damages from both groups.
''I'm excited and relieved,'' Odom told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner before referring any questions to his Anchorage attorney, Ray Brown, who could not be reached for comment.
Hospital spokesman Rick Solie said the justices have only guaranteed Odom another day in court. Solie said he is confidant the hospital will prevail if the case proceeds.
''I'm not going to comment on the substance because he made a lot of allega-tions,'' Solie said. ''(The ruling) clearly is not a recognition of the validity of any of his claims.''
In one suit, against the hospital, Odom claims his hospital privileges were revoked after he announced plans to build and operate an outpatient surgery center and that the ensuing financial damage destroyed his project. The lawsuit accuses FMH unreasonable restraint of trade, engaging in a group boycott and operating an unlawful monopoly, all in violation of Alaska's antitrust act.
Superior Court Judge Dale Curda dismissed the lawsuit four years ago, ruling that Odom did not have a case. The Supreme Court, however, said Odom's claims have enough merit to move forward.
In the other suit, against the anesthesiologists, Odom claims a breach of contract that cost him $500,000 in annual earnings.
Superior Court Judge Charles Pengilly dismissed that case. But the Supreme Court decided that Pengilly should not have ruled in three specific areas: determining who first breached the contract, whether the doctors acted in good faith and if the contract had ever been modified and permitted Odom's actions.
The ruling also stated that the antitrust issue is best left to the jury.
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