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Hankins v. Temple University

submitted: July 13, 1987.

HANKINS, ALTHEA V., DR. APPELLANT,
v.
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY (HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER) AND TOURTELLOTTE, CHARLES D., DR., CHIEF, RHEUMATOLOGY SECTION TEMPLE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AND BERNEY, STEVEN N., DR., TEMPLE UNIVERSITY SECTION OF RHEUMATOLOGY AND CONAWAY, DOUGLAS C., DR., TEMPLE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE SECTION OF RHEUMATOLOGY APPELLEES



On Appeal from the United States District Court For the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, D.C. Civil No. 86-1148).

Gibbons, Chief Judge, Mansmann, Circuit Judge and McCune, District Judge*fn*

Author: Gibbons

Opinion OF THE COURT

GIBBONS, Chief Judge:

Dr. Althea Hankins brought suit against Temple University and several members of its faculty, claiming that she was terminated from a fellowship program in the Rheumatology Department of the University's hospital because of her race and sex, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq. (1982), and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (1982). She also alleged that her dismissal from the program was accomplished in violation of due process. The district court denied Hankins' motion for a preliminary injunction, and subsequently granted the University's motion for summary judgment. Hankins' appeals from these orders were consolidated by this court. We will affirm.*fn1

I.

Dr. Hankins, a black female physician, was accepted into a fellowship program in the Rheumatology Section of Temple University Hospital for the period beginning July 1, 1984. As a fellow, she was also admitted into an instructional program in the School of Medicine, where she was to receive clinical training from the medical faculty. Her immediate supervisors were Charles D. Tourtellotte, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Chief of Rheumatology, Steven N. Berney, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, and Douglas C. Conaway, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine. Pursuant to her fellowship, Dr. Hankins was granted privileges at the hospital, and became a member of the medical staff. See Letter from Gerald Miller to Althea Hankins, M.D. (September 26, 1984), reprinted in Appendix at 65a.

In addition, Dr. Hankins was appointed Clinical Instructor in the Department of Medicine, the appointment to run concurrently with her appointment as a fellow. See Letter from Leo M. Henikoff, M.D. to Althea Hankins, M.D., (June 28, 1984), reprinted in Appendix at 498a. Her employment provide her with financial remuneration or tenure. Rather, her salary, fringe benefits, and malpractice insurance were provided through her participation as a fellow. Id.

During the course of Dr. Hankins' fellowship, it became the opinion of her supervisors that her performance was inadequate. On May 10, 1985, Dr. Tourtellotte sent a memorandum to Dr. Hankins, outlining the Rheumatology Department's dissatisfaction with her development. See Memorandum from Charles D. Tourtellotte, M.D. to Althea Hankins, M.D. (May 10, 1985), reprinted in Appendix at 476a. Dr. Tourtellotte noted, in this correspondence, that members of the faculty had already met with Dr. Hankins several times to discuss deficiencies in her overall performance. Moreover, he informed appellant:

Your continued service with us will require significant improvement in all of the following areas which have been found deficient by us: 1- attendance and punctuality-daily activities and conferences; 2-peer relationships-effectiveness as a consultant for students, residents, referring physicians; 3- histories, physical examinations, special techniques, management plans expected of a medical subspecialist consultant; 4- consultations and progress notes of the character and level expected; 5- physician-patient relationships-effectively managing personal problems, appropriate dress and demeanor, on call availability and transfer of patient care responsibility; 6- fund of medical and rheumatological knowledge.

Id.

A second written evaluation was provided on October 16, 1985. While Dr. Tourtellotte noted some improvements in areas such as dress and peer relationships, he observed that Dr. Hankins' performance in approaching, evaluating and managing rheumatological problems remained unsatisfactory. Thus, Dr. Tourtellotte stated, Dr. Hankins was "not passing in the most significant aspect of [her] fellowship." Memorandum from Charles D. Tourtellotte, M.D. to Althea Hankins, M.D. (October 15, 1985), reprinted in Appendix at 76a-77a.

Upon receipt of this memorandum, Dr. Hankins left the hospital, leaving her patients unattended. See Letter from Charles D. Tourtellotte, M.D. to Althea Hankins, M.D. (October 18, 1985), reprinted in Appendix at 78a.*fn2 In response to her abandonment of these patients, Dr. Hankins was suspended from the Rheumatology Fellowship Program pending further review and investigation. Id.

On February 26, 1986, Dr. Hankins filed a complaint and motion for preliminary relief in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She asserted that she was dismissed from the fellowship because of her race and gender, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq., Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., ...


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