United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
CORONE REID, et al.
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL EPISCOPAL CAMPUS, et al.
Corone Reid and Donny Odey commenced this action against
defendants Temple University Hospital Episcopal Campus
(“Episcopal”), Temple University Health System,
Inc. (“TUHS”), Temple University
(“TU”), and six individuals employed by
Episcopal: (1) Chief Medical Officer William Dubin; (2) Unit
Director Pedro Miazzo; (3) Director of Nursing Barbara
Gennello; (4) Nurse Manager Eric Dutko; (5) Assistant
Hospital Director of Human Resources Clara Galati; and (6)
Nurse Manager Yasser Al-Khatib. Specifically, plaintiffs have
asserted the following causes of action:
• Count I: Discrimination under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981 on behalf of Reid against defendants Episcopal,
TUHS, TU, Dubin, Miazzo, Gennello, Dutko, and Galati.
• Count II: Retaliation under the False Claims
Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h) on behalf of Reid against
defendants Episcopal, TUHS, TU, Dubin, Miazzo, Gennello,
Dutko, and Galati.
• Count III: Common law breach of fiduciary
duty claim on behalf of Reid against defendants Episcopal,
TUHS, TU, Dubin, Miazzo, Gennello, Dutko, and Galati.
• Count IV: Discrimination under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981 on behalf of Odey against defendants Episcopal,
TUHS, TU, and Al-Khatib.
seek back and front pay, compensatory and punitive damages,
attorneys' fees and costs, and any other appropriate form
the court is the partial motion of defendants to dismiss the
amended complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of
deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept as
true all factual allegations in the complaint and draw all
inferences in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
See Phillips v. Cty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233
(3d Cir. 2008); Umland v. PLANCO Fin. Servs., Inc.,
542 F.3d 59, 64 (3d Cir. 2008). We must then determine
whether the pleading at issue “contain[s] sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). A claim must do more than raise a “mere
possibility of misconduct.” Fowler v. UPMC
Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 211 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). Under this standard,
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. On a motion
to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court may
consider “allegations contained in the complaint,
exhibits attached to the complaint, and matters of public
record.” Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White
Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993)
(citing 5A Charles Allen Wright & Arthur R. Miller,
Federal Practice and Procedure § 1357 (2d ed. 1990)).
following facts from plaintiffs' amended complaint and
its attached exhibits are taken as true for present purposes.
Plaintiff Reid is a black woman of Jamaican national origin
who was employed as a registered nurse at Episcopal from 2007
through November 2015. During her tenure at Episcopal, Reid
received positive performance reviews and had no prior
history of discipline. Reid states that she was a strenuous
advocate for patient rights as well as the rights of fellow
staff. Consequently, she regularly made both formal and
informal complaints regarding what she perceived to be
negligent or substandard patient care and working conditions
at Episcopal. According to Reid, her relationship with upper
management steadily declined over time due to the continuous
stream of notices she sent regarding Episcopal's failure
to comply with its own policies and to maintain adequate
conditions for patients and staff.
particular, Reid became increasingly concerned with
Episcopal's failure to implement properly its Treatment
Plan and Review Policy (“TPARP”), which governed
the process and substance related to patient treatment plans.
According to Reid, defendants Dubin and Miazzo breached the
TPARP by failing to participate in TPARP meetings and by
delegating the performance of their duties under the TPARP to
other staff. Reid also alleges that it was a common practice
to backfill the forms required under the TPARP by filling in
patient information at the time of release, which in many
cases occurred days or even months after the form should have
been completed. As a result, patients received services that
were not medically necessary or appropriate, including
improper medication. The failure to implement the TPARP
increased the duration of patient stays and the frequency of
patient readmissions, which in turn allegedly led to
increased revenue for Episcopal.
amended complaint together with its attached exhibits details
the events leading up to Reid's termination. While
working a night shift on November 4, 2015, Reid became aware
of a patient who she believed needed medication to stop
itching. Benadryl had already been ordered for this patient
for another purpose, but administration of the drug for a new
purpose required a physician's approval. At Reid's
request, another nurse who was working with Reid telephoned
the resident psychiatrist on call to request permission to
administer Benadryl for the patient's itching. According
to that nurse, the resident stated: “OK, and I will be
up there later.” After the nurse conveyed this
information, Reid administered the Benadryl to the patient.
resident's version of this telephone call differs. The
resident states she was informed on the call that Benadryl
had already been administered for the patient's itching
and was asked to put in an order for the medication. The
resident replied that she would have to come to the unit to
examine the patient. After doing so, the resident determined
that administration of Benadryl for the itching was not
warranted and refused to enter an order for the medication.
The resident claims that Reid then became irate, raised her
voice, and attempted to intimidate her.
resident reported this incident to defendant Dutko. On
November 9, 2015, Dutko called Reid into his office and
informed her that she was being terminated immediately. Dutko
provided Reid with a written statement that identified the
grounds for Reid's termination under Episcopal's
Corrective Act/Discipline Policy as violation of Work Rule 1,
which prohibits physical or verbal abuse of other staff or
other significant unprofessional conduct, and Work Rule 7,
which relates to gross neglect of duties. Both violations are
grounds for immediate discharge under the policy. Reid's
union submitted a grievance challenging her discharge. On
January 26, 2016, defendant Galati issued a letter denying
the grievance. In doing so, Galati cited only Reid's
allegedly gross neglect of duties, in violation of Work Rule
then proceeded to arbitration. After a hearing, the
arbitrator concluded that Reid was discharged without just
cause in violation of her collective bargaining agreement.
Specifically, the arbitrator found that Reid violated
Episcopal's Medication Order Policy and Verbal
Order/Telephone Policy when she administered the Benadryl to
the patient. Those policies state that “[v]erbal orders
are only permissible when a patient requires unanticipated
care that should not be delayed until a written order can be
obtained.” They also provide that verbal orders may
only be given by a resident or fellow to a nurse and that all
verbal telephone orders will be documented and read back to
the practitioner for confirmation. The arbitrator reasoned
that Reid should not have sought a verbal order to administer
the Benadryl because it was not an emergency situation, and
that Reid should not have relied on another nurse to speak