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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12421
Experience:  JD, MBA
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I am a medical resident that chose a specific hospital for

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I am a medical resident that chose a specific hospital for the represented work program/schedule and location now that the program has started (two days before) they have just announced that they are changing everything that caused me to move to this location. After scoring extremely high in testing I had my choice of where I wanted to go but they courted me here now they change is there any recourse as a resident? I have caused hardship on family and purchased home in the location only to have them tell me they have moved half my rotations to over an hour away.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Unfortunately, you would only have recourse if you have an employment contract which guarantees all of the representations that were made before your chose to move. If there is no such contract, then I'm sorry to say that the hospital has no legal obligation not to alter its program.

Accordingly, your recourse is not in the courts, but with negotiations with the hospital (and it seems that you are already attempting such negotiations). I would make it known that you are very unhappy with the last minute changes and that you would not have chosen the hospital had you known. It's possible that they will attempt to accommodate you. You can also attempt to transfer, of course, into another program.

I am truly sorry to give you this bad news, but please understand that it would be unfair to you (and unprofessional of me) to provide you with anything less than an honest response. However, if your concerns were not satisfactorily addressed, then please let me know, and I will be happy to clarify my answer. I do ask that you rate me based upon whether I answered your question, and not based upon whether the answer was good news or bad news. Your positive feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you for using our service!

If you would like to direct additional legal questions to me in the future, then please type "To VAMD" in the subject line of your question.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks and I do appreciate your honesty, there is an employment contract, however they courted me based on the implied contract when I rotated there for a month prior to making my decision. Within their contract it states that "I cannot live more than 30 minutes from the hospital" however they have changed the schedule to a hospital that is over an hour away for 6 mos of the first year. Having the choice of where ever I wanted to be choosing this location to best suit the family life, now puts me at a terrible hardship and disadvantage, when I could be at Johns Hopkins or Cleveland Clinic for the big time residency. I would think they have to live by the (30 min) requirement they placed on me and to live up to their implied schedule that I was told.

Hi again.

But the 30 minute requirement is a requirement for you, not for them. In other words, you have a requirement to live within 30 minutes of the hospital. They do not have a requirement to keep your program within 30 minutes of where you live. The fact that the hospital moved the location of your program would likely give you valid justification for living more than 30 minutes away. So, if they told you that you must move, you likely have legal grounds to refuse by arguing that the change in location puts an unreasonable hardship on you since you already bought a house. But that situation would not give you grounds to force the hospital to keep the program in the location that you expected it to be in.

The other issue is this: From a practical standpoint, even if you could win a lawsuit to force the hospital to keep the program in the location that you expected it to be in, such a lawsuit would (1) likely cost you an exorbitant amount of money in legal fees that would not be reimbursed (each party pays its own legal fees, unless the contract says otherwise), and (2) the lawsuit would likely take at least two or three years not including appeals. If there are appeals, then add another year or two. By the time such a case would be resolved, you'd likely be out $50,000 in attorneys' fees and you'd be done with your residence. So, from a practical standpoint, it probably wouldn't make sense to take legal action even if you did have a good chance of winning.

I really wish that I could offer you better news.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.



Here is another angle on this, I chose this location based on their representation, when I had numerous other options. Their decision to change without notification nor prior representation is now causing me considerable financial and family hardship. Had I know these issues in the beginning or had they be honestly represented I would have acted differently.

Hi again.

I can certainly appreciate the difficulties that the hospital has caused you, and it certainly sounds unprofessional that they misrepresented the program. However, my prior answer stands. I don't think that you'd win a lawsuit, and even if you could, it would not be worthwhile suing from a practical standpoint. You'll be out lots of money and you will not benefit from a ruling in your favor because you'll be finished with your residency and ready for private practice or a fellowship.

If I were you, I would likely focus on transferring to a different hospital. When interviewing, you'll have a very good reason for the wanting to switch.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK thanks...

You are quite welcome. Thank you for using our service!

If you would like to direct additional legal questions to me in the future, then please type "To VAMD" in the subject line of your question.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry one last thing, I know it is not a fair world and I have lawyers as friends, I have also had numerous interactions with the legal system through family issue in the past 3 years, and even after I have had great lawyers i.e. Racehorse Haynes and others tell me the same thing that the system is not there to hand out justice and that the perception of justice is based on what can be won and accomplished not necessarily what is right. Obviously in this situation there was false representation and possible breach of contractual issues. If this was "Macdonalds" implying that the coffee was hot their would be a case but a mere small civil case like this no accountability.


Your thoughts...

Hi again.

You can't really compare this to the McDonalds case with the hot coffee. In that case, there was a physical injury and the victim was entitled to compensation. In your case, you want to force the hospital to do what it represented it would do. That is an entirely different type of case. A medical analogy would be the difference between treating with surgery and treating with medication. They are very different.

Again, the practicality of suing is not there. However, can you sue? Yes. When I was in law school somebody sued the University of Michigan for unlawfully discriminating based on race. It was one of the affirmative action lawsuits that eventually went to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the person who was turned down by the U of M admissions office. But what did that person win? By the time the ruling was made, the person was long finished with law school at another institution. So, that plaintiff did not personally benefit from the lawsuit at all. You're likely in the same boat.
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