PHILADELPHIA – A pharmaceutical Ph.D from Philadelphia has sued a Florida-based healthcare corporation for breach of contract over a residency match program allegedly gone awry.

Elizabeth Cannon-Dang of Philadelphia filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on July 6 against Health First Health Plans, Inc., of Rockledge, Fla.

According to Cannon-Dang’s lawsuit, HFHP operated a “Managed Care Pharmacy” residency program, where candidates who were chosen would receive “a salary in the amount of $45,000 per year, plus substantial benefits and perquisites, including, 17 days of personal paid leave, BCLS/ACLS training, travel allowances, and health care benefits.”

Cannon-Dang participated in The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Resident Matching Program.

“Participants in the ASHP match – both the candidate/applicant and the residency program – agree to abide by all rules and regulations of the match. The match results are binding and constitute a contract between the residency program and the candidate/applicant. At all times relevant hereto, Dr. Cannon-Dang and defendant HFHP were participants in, and agreed to abide by the rules and regulations promulgated by, the ASHP match,” the lawsuit says.

“For the 2017 ASHP match, Dr. Cannon-Dang interviewed with several residency programs, including defendant HFHP, and ranked HFHP’s program as a preferred residency program. For the 2017 ASHP match, HFHP ranked Dr. Cannon-Dang as a preferred applicant/candidate for the program. On March 17, 2017, Dr. Cannon-Dang and Defendant HFHP “matched,” the suit adds.

A short time later, on March 27, 2017, defendant HFHP gave Cannon-Dang a “Residency Agreement Letter”, where defendant HFHP set forth Cannon-Dang’s compensation terms and the program’s expectations for her – a letter which Cannon-Dang executed and returned.

“On or around April 3, 2017, defendant HFHP, unilaterally and without warning, terminated the Program, and informed Dr. Cannon-Dang that it no longer had a residency position available to her based upon a “business decision”. As a result of defendant HFHP’s conduct, the ASHP has sanctioned defendant HFHP for violating the match and the covenants to which HFHP obligated itself when it elected to participate in the ASHP match. Defendant HFHP’s unilateral decision to terminate the program denied Dr. Cannon-Dang the ability to be part of the residency program with which she matched, thus causing her to lose out not only the professional training opportunity, but also the compensation defendant was obligated to provide her,” the complaint says.

“As a consequence of the defendant’s unilateral decision to terminate the program, Dr. Cannon-Dang has suffered significant and substantial damages, including but not limited to: a. The salary plaintiff would have earned but for defendant’s conduct (i.e., $45,000); b. The replacement value of the “full-time” benefits to which Dr. Cannon-Dang would have been entitled but for the defendant’s conduct; c. The costs Dr. Cannon-Dang incurred in interviewing with HFHP, meeting with HFHP officials, and preparing to begin work with HFHP, which costs have been wasted and forfeited as a result of HFHP’s conduct; d. The costs Dr. Cannon-Dang will again incur for the 2018 Match (including travel to and interviews with other residency programs), which costs she would not have to incur but for defendant’s conduct; e. The loss of future earnings and future earnings potential, insofar as, because of defendant’s conduct, Dr. Cannon-Dang’s career and entry into the workforce at a position commensurate with a graduate of a managed care pharmacy program has been delayed for at least one year; and f. Such other damage, the full nature and extent of which is not yet known. Despite demand, defendant has refused to compensate Dr. Cannon-Dang for the losses she has suffered as a result of defendant HFHP’s conduct,” the complaint continues.

For a single count of breach of contract, the plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus costs, interest and all other relief permitted by agreement or statute in this matter.

The plaintiff is represented by Dennis L. Abramson of Abramson & Abramson, in Bala Cynwyd.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170700359

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas
1501 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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