A federal judge yesterday dismissed all the claims brought by medical residents in a class-action antitrust lawsuit filed in May 2002 against the National Resident Matching Program, some of the top medical and hospital associations, and nearly 30 teaching hospitals and medical schools.
In that lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, the physicians alleged that the defendants conspired to restrain competition and fix prices to depress wages and working conditions for medical residents in violation of the Sherman Act, a law that prohibits unreasonable restraints of trade.
In dismissing the claims, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman cited a new law that granted antitrust immunity on graduate medical resident match programs retrospectively, effectively nullifying most of the resident physicians antitrust claims.
The immunity grant was part of the Pension Funding Equity Act, which President Bush signed in April.
In February, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, two teaching hospitals and two medical specialty associations were dropped as defendants. Chicago attorney Sherman Marek, who represents lead plaintiff and physician Paul Jung, M.D., who filed the lawsuit, conceded that the residents lost this round, but he added that Friedman's ruling left open the possibility to file a new claim.
Marek said his clients are considering other options, including a possible appeal.