The United States' primary certifying body for osteopathic physicians, the American Osteopathic Association, is set to proceed to discovery in a fraud and antitrust suit in the District of New Jersey after a federal judge in Camden denied the association's motions to dismiss a suit by doctors.
The physician-plaintiffs who sued the American Osteopathic Association have sufficiently stated antitrust claims at the pleading stage stemming from the agency's alleged practice of tying board certification to association membership, U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman ruled Monday. The judge also ruled that the plaintiffs stated a viable claim under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act with their assertions about renewal fees imposed on doctors who had been promised their certifications would not expire.
Hillman also rejected the association's motion to transfer the case to the Northern District of Illinois, near the group's headquarters. The association did not argue that the District of New Jersey is an improper venue, but merely sought a transfer for its own convenience, he said.
This last detail is important, because the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons anti-trust suit against the American Board of Medical Specialties that was originally filed in New Jersey, was allowed to move to the Northern District of Illinois and has languished there since January 2015.
Reference: Duane Morris LLP website press release.