Orthopedic surgeon's $9M win against Texas ASC overturned

An orthopedic surgeon’s multimillion-dollar win against a Texas surgery center has been taken back.

A Texas appellate court reversed a multimillion-dollar win of an orthopedic surgeon after a dispute with an ASC that he previously had ownership in, according to the court’s opinion provided on Justia.

Six notes:

1. The court nixed the more than $9 million awarded to Richard Francis, MD, and his business entity, Juansrich, on their conversion claim against Houston Metro Ortho and Spine Surgery Center, ruling that the surgeon was bound by a noncompete clause.

2. The dispute began in 2014 when two large insurers stopped paying the ASC "for services rendered to their insureds," according to court documents. Dr. Francis then began performing more procedures at other facilities, despite an agreement between surgeons at Metro to perform a certain number of procedures at the ASC.

3. Metro terminated Juansrich's ownership in the ASC and sued Dr. Francis in 2015, alleging that he had violated their noncompete agreement.

4. Arguing that it was owed payment for its ownership interest in Metro, as well as for missed distributions of earnings made while it was still a member of the center, Juansrich filed counterclaims that included breach of contract, conversion, aiding and abetting, and unjust enrichment, according to court documents.

5. A trial court initially granted Dr. Francis' motion for partial summary judgment, ruling that the  noncompete clause was unenforceable, and awarded Juansrich $9.9 million in damages on its conversion cause of action.

6. But the appellate court reversed the judgment July 6, saying that the "trial court erred when it granted Juansrich's first and second Rule 166 motions, which Juansrich relied on to support its breach of contract cause of action." As a result, Juansrich cannot recover on its breach of contract claim seeking payment for its ownership interest, the court said.

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