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BOISE - The Idaho Supreme Court has upheld a district court ruling ordering Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center to pay $52 million in damages to an MRI imaging company.

A lawsuit brought by MRI Associates charged that Saint Alphonsus illegally steered business to their competitor. That's despite a partnership agreement between the hospital and MRI Associates that was supposed to last until next year. That partnership began to unravel in 2004 when doctors at Saint Alphonsus began to refer their patients to Intermountain Medical Imaging, a rival.

MRI Associates argued that violated the agreement and siphoned business away from their company. A jury agreed in 2011, ordering the hospital to pay millions in damages for the lost money.

Saint Alphonsus appealed that decision, and the legal battle raged on until Tuesday, when the Idaho Supreme Court killed the hospital's last hope to overturn the decision, and upheld the district judgment.

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