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Ryan v. University of N.C. Hosps.

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

October 9, 1997, Heard in the Court of Appeals ; January 6, 1998, Filed

NO. COA97-209

Opinion

 [**790]   [*300]  LEWIS, Judge.

Plaintiff appeals the trial court's order dismissing his complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to North Carolina Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Plaintiff contends that he has alleged facts sufficient to give rise to a claim basis of breach of contract. Specifically, plaintiff argues that he contracted with the University of North Carolina Hospitals ("the University") to provide low-cost medical services in exchange for a training program that complied with the "Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education." The University responds that plaintiff's general allegations criticize the [***2]  quality and substance of the residency program he received. As a result, the University maintains that plaintiff's claim is really one for educational malpractice, a claim that should not be recognized. We reverse.

 [*301]  Under the terms of the National Residency Program, residency programs and future residents are "matched" according to their respective preferences. A resident is both a graduate medical student and an employee. The resident receives educational training in the area of the program's medical specialization.

Plaintiff, a 1986 graduate of Georgetown Medical School, was matched with the University of North Carolina Family Practice Program. Plaintiff and the University entered into a one-year written contract that was renewable, upon the University's approval, each of the three years of the residency program. The typical family practice residency is three years.

Plaintiff's residency began 1 July 1990. Sometime during plaintiff's second year of residency, problems developed. The University planned to terminate the residency. Plaintiff retained counsel and used the internal appeal procedures. Thereafter, the parties executed a contract at the beginning of plaintiff's third [***3]  year which stated in part that plaintiff knew he might graduate as much as six months later than the normal program. In fact, plaintiff graduated only three months later than normal. It is undisputed plaintiff graduated from an accredited residency program.

Plaintiff initiated this action alleging breach of contract, educational malpractice, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy, tortious interference with prospective business relationship, and self-defamation against the defendants. The trial court granted the University's motion to dismiss all allegations. Plaintiff appeals only the dismissal of his breach of contract claim against the University.

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128 N.C. App. 300 *; 494 S.E.2d 789 **; 1998 N.C. App. LEXIS 7 ***

IN THE MATTER OF CHRISTOPHER PATRICK RYAN, M.D., Plaintiff, v. UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA HOSPITALS, KENNETH G. REEB, M.D., WARREN P. NEWTON, M.D., BRON D. SKINNER, Ph.D., SAMUEL WEIR, M.D., and PETER CURTIS, M.D. Defendants.

Prior History:  [***1]  Appeal by plaintiff from order entered 4 May 1995 by Judge F. Gordon Battle in Orange County Superior Court.

Disposition: Reversed.

CORE TERMS

residency, graduate, residency program, allegations, promise, breach of contract, claim for breach, Accreditation, malpractice, breach of contract claim, contends, appeals, educational process, trial court's order, failure to provide, motion to dismiss, plaintiff's claim, training program, fail to provide, family practice, alleged facts, trial court, three year, gynecology, breached, rotation, sessions, matched, nuances, attend

Business & Corporate Compliance, Contracts Law, Types of Contracts, Personal Service Agreements, Contracts Law, Breach, Breach of Contract Actions, General Overview, Education Law, Civil Liability, Educational Malpractice