Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Haggerty v. St. Vincent Carmel Hospital

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

June 13, 2019

MIA HAGGERTY, Plaintiff,
v.
ST. VINCENT CARMEL HOSPITAL, Defendant.

          ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 29)

          JAMES R. SWEENEY II, JUDGE

         This case arises out of an employment relationship between Plaintiff Mia Haggerty and Defendant St. Vincent Carmel Hospital (“St. Vincent”). Haggerty is a former employee of St. Vincent. She alleges that her employment was terminated because of her race (African American), disability (diabetes), and/or because she took leave covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Haggerty brings claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a); 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.; and the Family Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. St. Vincent seeks summary judgment, arguing that the evidence does not permit a reasonable inference that Haggerty's termination was discriminatory or retaliatory. St. Vincent has presented evidence that she was terminated based on a substantiated patient complaint that Haggerty had verbally and physically abused the patient. Haggerty maintains that this stated reason is pretextual. For the reasons that follow, the Court finds that St. Vincent's motion should be granted.

         I. Factual Background

         Haggerty was employed by St. Vincent as a Patient Care Technician. (ECF No. 30-1 at 3.) Her duties included taking patients' vitals; assisting them with walking; sitting with them as needed; and documenting their vitals, moods, and activities. (ECF No. 30-1 at 3.) Beginning in 2013 or 2014 and continuing through the end of Haggerty's employment with St. Vincent's on August 31, 2016, her supervisor was Paulette Allanson, Clinical Director of Medical/Surgery and Orthopedics. (ECF No. 30-1 at 4; ECF No. 30-2, ¶¶ 3-4.)

         Haggerty was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2008, and in 2016 she was hospitalized for ketoacidosis, a condition that can be related to diabetes. (ECF No. 30-1 at 6.) Following her hospitalization, Haggerty was off work for about one month. (ECF No. 30-1 at 5-6.) While in the hospital, Haggerty called Allanson, told her she had ketoacidosis, and requested Allanson to ask for paperwork on Haggerty's behalf. (ECF No. 30-1 at 8.) Allanson expressed no concern about Haggerty missing work. (ECF No. 30-1 at 8.) Haggerty's request for about one month of FMLA leave was approved. (ECF No. 30-1 at 8.) When Haggerty returned to work from FMLA leave, she requested intermittent FMLA leave for absences due to her diabetes. (ECF No. 30-1 at 9.) She did not, however, take any more FMLA leave. (ECF No. 30-1 at 9.)

         A few months later, on August 11, 2016, Haggerty was assigned to be an overnight “safety sitter” for a patient who had just had surgery. (ECF No. 30-1 at 10.) “Safety sitters” are assigned to patients who need around-the-clock care. (ECF No. 30-2, ¶ 6.) That night, Haggerty overheard the patient complain to Heather Surface, the Registered Nurse on duty, that Haggerty had pushed the patient down and was being rude to her. (ECF No. 30-1 at 13.)

         A few days later, Rebecca Helms, the House Supervisor, interviewed the complaining patient. (ECF No. 30-2, ¶ 5; ECF No. 30-2 at 7.) The patient reported that Haggerty was rough with her and “threw her back into bed” when she needed to get up to use the restroom. (ECF No. 30-2 at 7.) The patient also said that she was “scared” of Haggerty after that happened, and she did not want to make a complaint until after Haggerty had left. (ECF No. 30-2 at 8.)

         Tammy Railsback, the Clinical Supervisor, also interviewed the complaining patient. (ECF No. 30-2 at 11.) The patient told Railsback that Haggerty was rough; yelled, “I told you to stay in bed”; and at one point “slammed [her] into the bed”. (ECF No. 30-2 at 11.) The patient also reported that the nurse had to tell Haggerty to leave the room and calm down, and another Patient Care Technician stayed with her the rest of the night. The patient said she was “scared to death”. (ECF No. 30-2 at 11.)

         Both Nelms and Railsback reported the patient's complaints about Haggerty to Haggerty's supervisor Allanson who investigated by interviewing Surface. (ECF No. 30-2 at 2-3.) Surface reported that Haggerty ha d b een angry from the beginning of her shift and that Surface had heard arguing and loud voices from the room twice that night. Surface also said that at one point, Haggerty had asked her to “give the patient something, ” which Surface understood to mean that Haggerty wanted to give the patient medication that was inappropriate. (ECF No. 30-2 at 3.) Surface asked another Patient Care Technician to sit with the patient for the rest of the night, and there were no further incidences with the patient. (ECF No. 30-2 at 3.)

         Allanson concluded that Surface had substantiated the patient's complaint. (ECF No. 30-2 at 3.) Under St. Vincent's Corrective Action Procedure, the “verbal or physical abuse of [a] patient” is considered sufficiently serious that it may result in immediate dismissal. (ECF No. 30-2 at 3, 21-22.) Because of the seriousness of Haggerty's misconduct, which included slamming a patient into her bed and yelling at her to the point that she was “scared to death, ” Allanson decided that Haggerty's employment should be terminated under St. Vincent's policy. (ECF No. 30-2 at 3.) Allanson informed Haggerty that her employment was terminated on August 31, 2016. (ECF No. 30-2 at 3.)

         II. Discussion

         Haggerty brings claims under Title VII, § 1981, the ADA, and the FMLA, alleging that her employment was terminated because of her race, disability, and/or because she took FMLA leave. St. Vincent seeks summary judgment on the ground that the evidence does not permit a reasonable inference that Haggerty's termination was discriminatory or retaliatory. St. Vincent further argues that Haggerty was terminated based on a substantiated patient complaint that she had verbally and physically abused the patient. Haggerty opposes the summary judgment motion, contending that the proffered reason for her termination was a pretext for discrimination.

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         “A district court properly grants summary judgment where there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Giles v. Godinez, 914 F.3d 1040, 1048 (7th Cir. 2019), petition for cert. filed, (U.S. June 3, 2019). A court must draw all reasonable ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.