R.B.E., PLLC et al.
EMERGENCY COVERAGE CORPORATION
Session May 23, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Knox County No. 2-540-15 Kristi M.
case focuses on a service contract between R.B.E, PLLC (RBE)
and Emergency Coverage Corporation pursuant to which Dr.
Robert Bruce Evans and his company were to provide medical
services in emergency rooms. The issue before us is whether
the subject contract obligates Emergency Coverage to schedule
Dr. Evans for a minimum number of hours. Dr.
Evans and RBE filed a breach of contract action
alleging that Emergency Coverage failed to pay the required
minimum monthly amounts due under the contract. Emergency
Coverage filed a motion for summary judgment asserting that
the contract contains a minimum availability
requirement for Dr. Evans but no obligation on the part of
Emergency Coverage to use Dr. Evans for a guaranteed number
of hours. The trial court granted the motion. The plaintiffs
appeal. We affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed; Case Remanded
T. Hurt, Abingdon, Virginia, for the appellants, R.B.E.,
PLLC, and David Michael Serrano, Executor of the Estate of
Dr. Robert Bruce Evans.
R. Tillman and Jeremey R. Goolsby, Knoxville, Tennessee, for
the appellee, Emergency Coverage Corporation.
Charles D. Susano, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the
court, in which John W. McClarty and Kenny W. Armstrong, JJ.,
CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., JUDGE.
Coverage is a staffing company that contracts with physicians
to provide coverage in hospital emergency rooms. The
plaintiff RBE entered into a contract with Emergency Coverage
for Dr. Evans to provide medical services at two hospitals.
The genesis of this litigation is in the language of the
service contract; "Addendum 1" executed
contemporaneously with the contract; and three amendments to
Addendum 1. The relevant portions of the parties'
agreement can be found in the original contract, and the four
Addenda. The following is from the contract:
Scheduling. Professional agrees to provide Services
at Facilities during mutually agreeable shifts, including
holidays as necessary in accordance with the minimum
availability requirements set forth in Addendum
"1". For each month that this Agreement is in
effect, Professional will notify Company of the days
Professional is not available to provide Services. When
scheduling Professional to perform Services, Company shall
use reasonable efforts to accommodate Professional's
availability. In the event that Professional is or becomes
unable to provide Services as scheduled by Company,
Professional must immediately notify Company and locate a
replacement to fill Professional's vacant shift in order
that the schedule may be filled. Except in cases of
emergency, if Professional fails to procure replacement
coverage to fill Professional's vacant shift,
Professional will pay Company any expenses incurred by
Company in providing a substitute for Professional.
As previously noted in this opinion, Addendum 1 was amended
three times. The last amendment was effective during the
timeframe relevant to this appeal. Dr. Evans was obligated to
provide emergency room services at two locations, Wythe
County Community Hospital and Clinch Valley Medical Center.
The following language from that last amendment is relevant:
Service Locations; Base Compensation; Scheduling
Requirement. Professional agrees to provide Services
under this Agreement for the number of hours or shifts as set
forth below at the following Facility(ies) [sic] at the
following base rates for Services provided by Professional:
a. Wythe County Hospital
b. Clinch Valley Medical Center
a. Emergency ...