Terry Elquist is suing the Portneuf Medical Center and others, saying they tried to stop him from establishing a new surgical center in Pocatello. The hospital denies the allegation.
"We will vigorously defend the hospital and its officers," says Brenda Stanley, chief communications officer at Portneuf Medical Center. "We also refute the allegation that we stifled competition due to the fact that the plaintiff recently opened a competing surgery center across from the hospital."
Elquist recently opened Skyline Surgery Center in partnership with several doctors and Bingham Memorial Hospital.
Here's what Elquist says in his lawsuit:
Elquist sold his Rocky Mountain Surgery Center to the hospital in 2009 and became an employee there. He kept ownership of Rocky Mountain Medical Management, a consulting firm the hospital didn't want.
In August 2011, Elquist quit working for the hospital. Soon he began talking with Anesthesia Associates of Pocatello, one his consulting clients, about opening a new surgical center.
Early in 2012, Norm Stephens, then the hospital's CEO, and John Abreu, its chief financial officer, learned of Elquist's intentions and reached out to the partners in Anesthesia Associates. The partners later told Elquist that Stephens and Abreu were pressuring them to end their contract with Rocky Mountain Medical Management or risk losing their exclusive contract to provide their services for the hospital.
Elquist later met with Stephens and Abreu. Stephens told him it was his intent to stop the center. In February, Anesthesia Associates asked Elquist to put in writing that he had ceased pursuing the center.