United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Michael R. Barrett, United States District Court Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant UC Health's
Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 20) and the responsive
memoranda thereto; and Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to
File Second Amended Complaint with Demand for Jury Trial
(Doc. 19) and the responsive memoranda thereto. The Court
also amends, in part, its previous Opinion and Order granting
in part Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 15).
was an Infection Preventionist for UC Health beginning in
March 2013. (Doc. 26-1 at ¶ 3). She transferred to UC
Health's main campus in April 2014. (Id. at
¶ 4). Plaintiff's job description included the
oversight of issues relating to infection outbreak
investigations. (Id. at ¶ 6). In May 2015,
Plaintiff was tasked with beginning a comprehensive
investigation of hospital acquired Stenotropomonas
cases. (Id. at ¶ 9). Plaintiff had specific
concerns about the bronchoscopy cleaning process.
(Id. at ¶ 14). As the investigation went on,
Plaintiff grew concerned about steps being taken to protect
patients from exposure as new cases of
Stenotropomonas continued to trend upward.
(Id. at ¶ 34). She voiced her concerns to her
director, Dr. Sopirala, both orally and in writing, on
September 24, 2015. (Id. at ¶ 40). According to
Plaintiff, she was told to continue working and to
“please take care of it.” (Id. at ¶
41). She and Dr. Sopirala also had other disagreements
related to the investigation process. (Id. at ¶
42; Doc. 20-2 at ¶ 6).
met with an employee assistance counselor, Erika Taylor, to
discuss “the ongoing outbreak and need for additional
help.” (Doc. 26-2 at ¶ 44-45). According to
Plaintiff, Ms. Taylor recommended she contact the hospital
safety hotline and arrange a meeting with human resources.
(Id. at ¶ 45). Around the same time, Dr.
Sopirala removed Plaintiff from her role as investigator of
the infection outbreak. (Id. at ¶ 65; Doc. 20-2
at ¶ 6). Plaintiff was apparently removed from several
other projects as well. (Doc. 26-1 at ¶ 68).
this, Plaintiff was still concerned about the way in which
the investigation was being handled. (Id. at ¶
63). As a result, Plaintiff met with the nursing director,
Jen Jackson, to discuss her concerns. (Id.). From
Plaintiff's perspective, the atmosphere at the hospital
had become so unbearable that on November 13, 2015, she
submitted her two week notice of resignation. (Id.
at ¶ 70).
leaving, Plaintiff attempted to meet with UC Health personnel
one more time in order emphasize the seriousness of the
infection outbreak. (Id. at ¶ 90). She
requested that an ad hoc ethics committee be convened within
her two-week notice period. (Id. at ¶ 71-72).
That afternoon, Plaintiff was told to turn over her badge and
keys and was asked to leave the premises. (Id. at
initially brought the following claims: 1) retaliation; 2)
hostile work environment; 3) whistle blower violation
pursuant to § 4113; 4) intentional infliction of
emotional distress (“IIED”); and 5) punitive
damages. UC Health moved to dismiss all of Plaintiff's
claims. The Court granted in part UC Health's motion,
leaving only Plaintiff's IIED claim.
AMENDED ORDER GRANTING IN PART MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC.
February 14, 2017, the undersigned granted in part
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint (Doc. 15). Although the result does not change,
this Court's analysis as it relates to Plaintiff's
retaliation claim was partially flawed. Accordingly, the
Opinion and Order (Doc. 15) is amended as follows.
undersigned previously explained:
Plaintiff brings claims for retaliation under Title VII, 42
U.S.C. 2000e et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and the
Ohio Civil Rights Act, Ohio Revised Code § 4112.01,
et seq. Claims brought under Title VII and
Ohio's anti-discrimination statute are evaluated under
the same standard. Thompson v. UHHS Richmond Heights
Hosp., Inc., 372 Fed.Appx. 620, 623 (6th Cir.2010). To
establish a prima facie case of retaliation, Plaintiff must
show: (1) she engaged in protected activity, (2) Defendant
was aware of the protected activity, (3) Defendant
subsequently took an employment action adverse to Plaintiff,
and (4) a causal connection exists between the protected
activity and the adverse employment actions. Abbott v.
Crown Motor Co., 348 F.3d 537, 542 (6th Cir.2003)
(citing Strouss v. Michigan Dep't of Corr., 250
F.3d 336, 342 (6th Cir.2001); Nguyen v. City of
Cleveland, 229 F.3d 559, 563 (6th Cir.2000)).
Plaintiff alleges the protected activity in which she was
engaged was her job. ...