Jury Awards $52M to MRI Group in Suit with ID Medical Center

John Commins, November 9, 2011

For the second time in four years, a jury has handed a Boise, ID radiologists' group a multimillion-dollar award in its suit against one-time partner Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.

The complaint by MRI Associates alleged that Saint Alphonsus conspired with a rival imaging group to steer business away from MRI Associates, even though it was partners with the hospital.

Last week, a 12-member jury needed only one day of deliberations after an eight-week trial before it awarded MRI Associates $52 million, which plaintiffs' attorney Wade Woodard says represents the value of the income lost when Saint Alphonsus drove business to rival startup Intermountain Medical Imaging.

"This case was all about money, profits," Wade Woodard, a principal Banducci Woodard Schwartzman PLLC, a Boise-based litigation law firm, told HealthLeaders Media. "Saint Alphonsus went from having about a 27% interest in all the MRI scans that were done to a 50% interest."

MRI Associates was founded in 1985 as a partnership among physicians, radiologists, and several hospitals, including Saint Alphonsus. In about 2000, however, radiologists at the hospital started their own practice, Intermountain Medical Imaging.

Woodard says Saint Alphonsus took an active role in establishing Intermountain and worked to drive business toward the rival practice, even as it was in an active partnership with MRI Associates. Woodard says the hospital acted in bad faith and reneged on a no-compete promise with MRI Associates, which he says has lost about $25 million in value since 2005.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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