March 8, 2001
A judge who has been elected chair of the board of governors of a medical
facility may engage in informal discussions with representatives of another
medical facility for the purpose of resolving disputes concerning terms
of an agreement between the facilities with respect to certain medical
22 NYCRR 100.4(A)(3).
A judge has been elected chair of the board of governors of a medical facility that is a party to an agreement with a second medical facility. The agreement governs the relationship between the facilities with respect to certain medical functions. As chair of the board of governors, the judge may be required to meet on an informal basis with representatives of both facilities to resolve disputes concerning the terms of the agreement. If a dispute is significant and cannot be resolved through this informal process, the parties would proceed to arbitration. The judge would not be involved in the arbitration in any way. The judge inquires whether it is proper to participate in such informal attempts to resolve possible disputes between the two facilities.
A judge may not engage in extra-judicial activities that are incompatible with judicial office. 22 NYCRR 100.4(A)(3). But nothing set forth in the judge's submission indicates that the role envisioned by the judge would render the position as chair incompatible with judicial office. The judge is not serving as legal advisor nor would he/she be a participant in any arbitration, should that occur. Accordingly, in the Committee's opinion, it is ethically permissible for the judge, as chair of the board of governors of one medical facility, to engage in informal discussions with representatives of a second medical facility to resolve disputes concerning terms of an agreement to which both facilities are parties.