News & Commentary

Resident Sues Baylor for Wrongful Termination

We are often contacted by residents who believe they have been unjustly and unfairly treated in their residency training. After evaluating their options, many elect to just move on, hoping to find a better fit. Given such inquiries, a recent article about a resident who sued Baylor for wrongful termination caught my eye.

Bahram Daniel Daneshfar filed suit in 2015 alleging that his supervisor Dr. William P. Shutze was verbally abusive to him, that he reported the abuse, and that he was then fired in retaliation.

Baylor apparently tried to get the case dismissed arguing Daneshfar needed an expert report to bring the lawsuit. But a Texas appellate court found he did not need an expert report because the allegations were not based on patient care and treatment, and ruled that the case could proceed. The court stated, “We conclude that even though Daneshfar’s claims concern the conditions of his training, education and employment in the health care industry, they are not health care liability claims when they do not concern the care of or an injury to a patient.”

Daneshfar alleged that performance reviews were supposed to be conducted at least every six months but that Shutze refused to do one until 10 months after he started the surgical residency program.  Daneshfar alleged that at the review Shutze said he did not like him.  Daneshfar also alleged that Shutze refused to approve his requests for time-off for exams, berated Daneshfar, and threatened to fire him if he reported him.

Daneshfar’s efforts to address his concerns about Shutze within the residency program were allegedly thwarted.  With the assistance of counsel, Daneshfar sent a letter to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Daneshfar was then fired.  He sued for wrongful termination and breach of contract.  Baylor argued that Daneshfar failed to provide a required expert report but the trial court rejected this argument. Baylor appealed and the appellate court also rejected the argument finding that an expert report was needed only in health care liability claims which involved patient treatment, and this case did not.

The case is Baylor University Medical Center Inc. et al. v. Bahraum Daniel Daneshfar, case number 05-17-00181-cv, in the Court of Appeals, Fifth District of Texas.