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Does California Allow a Court to Review a Peer Review Decision?

Physician Lawyer Daniel Horowitz

Does California Allow a Court to Review a Peer Review Decision?

Court Review Under CCP 1094.5

California does allow Court review of a peer review decision. The review takes place only after the administrative process (see your by-laws) is exhausted. This includes any internal appeal (if allowed by the rules).

Superior Court review is under the administrative mandamus statute. That statute is found in Code of Civil Procedure section 1094.5.

Review applies only to hearings that are “required by law”. The legal standard on review is “whether the [medical staff review group] has proceeded without jurisdiction [meaning authority over the person or issue] or in excess of, jurisdiction”. The Court can also review “whether there was a fair trial; and whether there was any prejudicial abuse of discretion. Lawyer note: Procedurally this process is governed by part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

Notable Decisions Showing What Medical Decisions Can Be Reviewed

1. Lewin v. St. Joseph Hospital of Orange (App. 4 Dist. 1978) 146 Cal.Rptr. 892, 82 Cal.App.3d 368 

The denial of medical staff membership may effectively impair a physician's right fully to practice his profession. This means that a hospital may not unreasonably or arbitrarily exclude a qualified physician from membership on its staff. However, a broad policy favoring a group is outside this rule even if it coincidentally bars other MDs.

2. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County (App. 2 Dist. 1978) 146 Cal.Rptr. 542, 81 Cal.App.3d 626.

The 1094.5 process is the proper method to review the decision of a hospital to revoke or suspend the privileges of a physician.

3. Savelli v. Board of Medical Examiners (App. 1 Dist. 1964) 40 Cal.Rptr. 171, 229 Cal.App.2d 124, certiorari denied 85 S.Ct. 940, 380 U.S. 934

The right to use CCP 1094.5 to order the medical board (board of medical examiners) to allow a physician applicant to take the written examination for a license as physician and surgeon.

4. Bichai v. DaVita, Inc. (App. 5 Dist. 2021) 287 Cal.Rptr.3d 866

This case upheld the right of a physician to challenge whether the factual findings against him were supported by “substantial evidence.”

Our Physician Lawyers Can Assist You

If your rights have been violated by the actions of a hospital, medical staff, its MEC and any review body (formal or informal) call Daniel Horowitz to explore your options and if appropriate to seek judicial intervention.

See our Peer Review Webpage