In the absence of compliance with the dictates of Fed. R. Civ. P. 51, an appellate court reviews for plain error. However, the plain error rule should be applied sparingly and only in exceptional cases or under peculiar circumstances to prevent a clear miscarriage of justice.
Plaintiff was a medical doctor who was refused medical privileges at various hospitals in Rhode Island. Plaintiff sued defendants, the chief medical practitioners at those hospitals, for restraint of trade under the Sherman Act and for tortious interference with business relationships under state law. A jury completely exonerated defendants. On review, the court affirmed the jury verdict exonerating defendants of federal antitrust and state law tort violations for refusing to extend hospital privileges to plaintiff medical doctor, because plaintiff waived objection to jury instruction describing anticompetitive motivation and because no prejudicial errors occurred at trial.
Did the district court err in instructing the jury as to defendants' motivations?
The court held that (1) by failing to object to a jury instruction describing anti-competitive motivation under the Sherman Act, plaintiff waived his objection, and the instruction given did not constitute plain error; (2) the court's restriction preventing plaintiff from calling defendants as witnesses in his case-in-chief was proper; (3) the court's restriction preventing plaintiff from impeaching defendant on a collateral matter was not prejudicial; and (4) the unauthenticated business record was excludable hearsay.