Court upholds nearly $2.7M award in anesthesiologist's breach-of-contract dispute

Anesthesiologist Amarjit Virk, MD, is entitled to the nearly $2.7 million in damages he was awarded in a wrongful termination suit against Williamsville, N.Y.-based Maple-Gate Anesthesiologists, his former employer, according to a June 8 court document obtained by Bloomberg Law.

Dr. Virk alleged that Maple-Gate breached his employment contract and violated his civil rights when it fired him in May 2013. The practice argued that it had cause to terminate Dr. Virk's employment because of a patient death that led to suspension of his hospital privileges.

After seven days of collecting evidence and testimony, an arbitrator appointed to resolve the dispute made a decision that largely favored Dr. Virk, who was awarded $2,686,864.57 in total damages.

The arbitrator determined Dr. Virk didn't prove Maple-Gate discriminated against him due to his race, age, disability or national origin. However, he found Maple-Gate's actions against Dr. Verk were motivated by "general animosity … and a general desire to oust him," which constituted breach of contract.

The defendants challenged the findings, saying the arbitrator "exceeded his powers and manifestly disregarded the governing law." U.S. District Judge William Skretny found no indication that the arbitrator was guilty of either allegation, and the court confirmed Dr. Virk is entitled to the amount he received.

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