SNF developer can continue claim against hospital system, court rules

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A nursing home developer can move ahead with his complaint against a Pennsylvania hospital system regarding property they had considered developing together, according to a recent court ruling.

The case stems from developer William Burris' 2016 claims against Pennsylvania's Main Line Health System. He argued the system abused its legal relationship by purchasing land from St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Seminary after he and Main Line discussed using the property for a joint skilled nursing facility. He also claims that Main Line used confidential information from him to reach the deal with St. Charles, violating its non-disclosure agreement.

Burris also alleged that St. Charles “aided and abetted Main Line's breach of fiduciary duty and is liable for civil conspiracy,” according to court documents.

Both Main Line and St. Charles moved to dismiss all of Burris' claims against them.

Burris' complaint seeks equitable relief and damages for the “array of claims” against Main Line and St. Charles, according to court records.

In an opinion filed last week the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that evidence in the case “raises some genuine issues of material fact” that require further consideration.

“The question here is whether the Mr. Burris and Main Line, after the NDA was signed, entered into a partnership or another arrangement giving rise to a fiduciary relationship,” Judge Gene E.K. Pratter wrote in the opinion. “For the following reasons, the Court concludes that questions of material fact exist that prevent the Court from concluding, as a matter of law, that a fiduciary relationship did not exist.”