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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Dr. Paul Kinnard was a medical practitioner of obstetrics and gynecology and a member of the medical staff of United Regional from 1979 through February 2000. He retired at the age of 71 and voluntarily resigned his staff privileges in late February 2000. More than two years later, he reapplied for staff privileges at United Regional, but his reapplication was denied based on his failure to demonstrate that he currently possessed the clinical competence required of medical staff members under United Regional’s medical staff bylaws. Kinnard requested that the denial of his reapplication be reviewed by a peer review committee. At the peer review hearing, a number of witnesses testified in support of United Regional’s adverse recommendation, including Dr. Sumi King, who was then chair of United Regional’s obstetrics department. During the hearing, King testified that prior to Kinnard’s retirement, he did not have current clinical competence; that patient care would suffer if he were granted privileges at the hospital; that he did not have sufficient intellectual or judgment skills for practicing obstetrics and gynecology; and that he did not have sufficient physical or motor skills to practice safely. Based on King’s testimony, the committee affirmed the denial of privileges to Kinnard. An appellate review committee affirmed the denial of his privileges, and on April 28, 2003, a final, unappealable decision denying his application for privileges was issued. Kinnard filed this suit against appellees in September 2003, alleging that appellees defamed him and tortiously interfered with existing contracts and prospective business relationships with his patients and various insurance companies. After the trial court-ordered discovery period expired, appellees filed a motion for summary judgment on the following traditional and no-evidence grounds. The trial court granted appellees’ motion for summary judgment without specifying the grounds for its ruling. HOLDING:Affirmed. Kinnard’s claims are barred by qualified immunity. The appellees were engaged in a credentialing process, which inherently requires peer review. As a result, under Texas Occupations Code �160.010, the appellees are immune from liability for any cause of action arising from such activity so long as they acted without malice. Uncontroverted facts, supported by affidavits from members of United Regional’s board of directors, the peer review committee and the appellate review committee, establish that appellees’ actions and determinations made during the medical peer review process were made without malice. Kinnard asserts a fact issue exists on the issue of malice because he presented evidence that his application was not reviewed by anyone other than King, that King admitted she had not worked with Kinnard or watched him perform surgery, and that King had never reviewed Kinnard’s patient files or spoken to any of his patients. Kinnard was required to present evidence that appellees had a specific intent to cause substantial injury or harm to him. Mere evidence that appellees did not conduct an adequate investigation and had ulterior motives is not sufficient to establish such an intent. OPINION:Cayce, C.J.; Cayce, C.J.; Dauphinot and McCoy, J.J.

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