A surgeon who sued a hospital after the hospital revoked the doctor’s surgical privileges when the surgeon turned 70 never got the chance to prove the existence of age-based discrimination. Whether or not the hospital made its decision based upon age, the surgeon could not succeed on his Age Discrimination in Employment Act claim. The trial court and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals both concluded that the doctor failed to show that the relationship between the hospital and surgeon was one of employer-employee, not employer-independent contractor. Since independent contractors cannot pursue ADEA claims, the doctor’s case failed.
Moshe Ashkenazi was a surgeon who provided on-call services at the South Broward Hospital District. After the hospital revoked his privileges, the doctor sued. The septuagenarian surgeon claimed that the decision to revoke his privileges was the result of age discrimination. The hospital asked for summary judgment in the case. Ashkenazi, it argued, could not mount a successful age discrimination case because he was an independent contractor, not an employee of the hospital. The trial court agreed and ruled for the hospital.