The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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August 3, 2013

Judge rules against medical facility

CLINTON — A Clinton County district court judge awarded $98,312 to a former Clinton doctor sued by Medical Associates concerning $100,000 in alleged overpayment.

In a decision filed July 31, Judge Nancy Tabor dismissed Medical Associates’ petition for breach of contract, unjust enrichment and open account and sustained a counterclaim by Dr. Christopher Martin.

Martin entered into a two-year contract to be an associate physician with Medical Associates that began on July 9, 2007. The company filed suit against him in late 2011, claiming he was in breach of contract for being overdrawn on his account with Medical Associates by more than $100,000 when he left the company in 2009, according to court documents.

During the first year of his contract, Martin was to make an annual salary of no less than $250,000 court documents state. He received “draw” checks — which is an advance against earnings, determined on an annual basis — every two weeks. At the end of the year, CFO Jim Holstein told Martin he was overdrawn by $66,000 and his future bi-weekly draws would be cut from $10,416 to $5,208.

Tabor’s decision found that Holstein incorrectly computed Martin’s income in several ways. She states he used the incorrect percentages to compute his income and decided unilaterally how the overdrawn amount should be paid back, with no direction from the written agreement.

“As Dr. Martin’s 100-percent reliance on the CFO to properly calculate income was the same as all but a few of the other 38 physicians in the group, his lack of questioning before 2009 is not justification for the CFO’s failure to correctly calculate the income of the doctors,” Tabor wrote.

Tabor awarded some of the $188,545 in damages that Martin claimed for underpaid wages, relocation and other expenses.

She did not award him any amount for remodeling his home, indicating that was his personal choice. However, he was awarded $13,819 for income due to him and $15,111.90 for collected accounts receivables that were never paid to him. Tabor also found he was owed $52,782 for the purchase of “tail” medical malpractice insurance that should have been bought by Medical Associates.

Martin also was contractually required to move at least 50 miles from Clinton so he was not in competition with Medical Associates. Tabor found he should be compensated for his move and awarded him $16,600.

 

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