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Friday, August 02, 2013

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today

In CITIZENS HEALTH CORPORATION v. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS (SD Ind., Barker), an 18-page opinion, Judge Tinder writes:

Defendant Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indiana (“Health and Hospital”) is a municipal corporation that operates a major hospital and numerous health care facilities. This appeal arises from one of those facilities, a federally funded health center that Health and Hospital operated in partnership with plaintiff Citizens Health Corporation (“Citizens”) to serve the medically underserved population in Indianapolis. The health center was funded in part by a federal grant awarded to Health and Hospital by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (“HRSA”), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. In 2012, after Citizens and Health and Hospital had a falling out, Health and Hospital decided to terminate its partnership with Citizens and relinquish the federal grant, which still had several years of funding remaining.

In response, Citizens filed this suit against Health and Hospital, HRSA, and other defendants in federal district court in an effort to retain the grant funds. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of all defendants, concluding that Citizens had no contractual, statutory, or constitutionally cognizable interest in the grant, and that Health and Hospital and HRSA were free to terminate the grant without Citizens’ approval. Citizens appeals this decision, and we affirm. * * *

Because the relevant language of the contract is clear, no disputed issues of material fact precluded summary judgment in favor of Health and Hospital. Though Citizens makes a rather barebones assertion that certain affidavits in the record reveal conflicting accounts of the parties’ expectations about the grant, the relevant terms of the contract are so clear that we need not wade into such extrinsic evidence indicating the parties’ understandings of the agreement. See Louis & Karen Metro Family, LLC v. Lawrenceburg Conservancy Dist., 616 F.3d 618, 622 (7th Cir. 2010) (applying Indiana law; extrinsic evidence not admissible when contract is unambiguous). For this same reason, there was no reason for the district court to grant Citizens leave to take additional depositions. The judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 2, 2013 03:19 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions