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.

Deal v. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

November 19, 2019

MELISSA DEAL AND RICHARD DEAL Appellant
v.
THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA

          Appeal from the Order Entered October 4, 2018 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Civil Division at No(s): No. 170900803

          BEFORE: BENDER, P.J.E., DUBOW, J., and COLINS, J. [*]

          OPINION

          COLINS, J.

         This is an appeal from an order of Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County (trial court) granting summary judgment for the defendant in a wrongful discharge case brought by Melissa Deal (Deal) and her husband (collectively, Plaintiffs) against Deal's former employer, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Hospital). For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

         The record before the trial court established the following undisputed facts.

         Deal was employed by the Hospital from 1999 to 2015, initially as an extern and from July 2000 on as a registered nurse. Deal was an at-will employee. Deal Dep., 6/21/18, at 108-09; Hospital Non-Bargaining Unit Dispute Resolution Policy § 2; Hospital Rules of Conduct § 2. In her work as a nurse at the Hospital, Deal had access to confidential patient information, including patients' dates of birth and social security numbers. Deal Dep., 6/21/18, at 105, 113.

         In August 2013, outside of her employment at the Hospital, Deal was hired to provide home care for James Mooney, the father of a neighbor, in the neighbor's home. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶7 & Plaintiffs' Answer to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Response to Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶¶6-7. Deal began providing those services in September 2013 and was paid $30 per hour for those services. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶9 & Plaintiffs' Answer to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Response to Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶9; Deal Dep., 6/21/18, at 57-58. On October 1, 2013, Mooney gave Deal a power of attorney and made a revised will that named Deal as executrix. Deal Dep., 6/21/18, at 59-60.

         On October 10, 2013, under her power of attorney for Mooney, Deal wrote a $10, 000 check payable to herself and a $10, 000 check payable to her husband. Plaintiffs' Answer to Defendant' Motion for Summary Judgment, Response to Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶18; Deal Dep., 6/21/18, at 59-60, 67-68. On October 10, 2013, Deal also helped Mooney make changes to the beneficiaries of his investment account that included adding herself as a beneficiary. Deal Dep., 6/21/18, at 68-69; N.T. Criminal Trial, 5/25/17 at 198-202. Mooney, who was terminally ill with prostate cancer, died on October 12, 2013. Deal Dep., 6/21/18, at 56, 69; Plaintiffs' Answer to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Response to Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶25.

         Following Mooney's death, Mooney's family accused Deal of improper conduct with respect to the investment account, the $10, 000 checks, and payments that she made as executrix and petitioned to remove her as executrix of Mooney's estate. Petition to Remove Executrix ¶¶13-14, 16, 28-29, 31-36. On August 21, 2015, the Delaware County District Attorney charged Deal with theft and related offenses arising out of the $10, 000 checks, the change to the investment account beneficiaries, and checks that Deal wrote on the estate account after Mooney's death. Plaintiffs' Answer to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Response to Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶38; Police Criminal Complaint. Deal was arrested on these charges on August 26, 2015. Plaintiffs' Answer to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Response to Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶39. Before the charges were filed, Deal had told the Hospital that the family of a person for whom she had provided care outside of work had made allegations of financial misconduct against her and that there was a criminal investigation. Deal Dep., 6/21/18, at 111-14; Legner Dep., 6/29/18, at 66-68, 78-81.

         On August 25 and 27, 2015, Mooney's granddaughter sent emails to the Hospital notifying it of the criminal charges against Deal and Deal's arrest, attaching links to the criminal docket, and stating

Melissa Deal, a registered nurse who works at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) offered to provide hospice care in exchange for monetary compensation. Melissa was paid $3, 000 dollars up-front and given a rate of $30 per hour to provide ongoing care and medicinal delivery.
Several days (8) after arriving at the residence, Melissa had convinced my grandfather (James Mooney) that he should change his will and announce that Melissa was to be the executrix of his estate moving forward. We were all in agreement as we trusted Melissa and none of us were in a position or had any experience to be the sole executor/executrix (big mistake).
My Grandfather passed away prematurely in early October 2013 in Melissa Deals arm and just hours after she made online changes to his beneficiary accounts to illegally include herself as a 1/6th recipient of a $350, 000 account. She spent the next 18 months bullying me and my mother and taking thousands of dollars, jewelry, family treasures and caused horrible pain at a time of attempting closure and grieving for the loss of life of our loving family member.

8/25/15, 8/27/15 Mozol Emails; Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶¶51-52 & Plaintiffs' Answer to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Response to Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶¶51-52. The granddaughter sent the Hospital a further email on September 2, 2015 with a link to a local newspaper story with a heading "nurse-faces-charges-of-stealing-88000-from-dying-mans-account." 9/2/15 Mozol Email; Legner Dep., 6/29/18, at 74-75.

         On September 7, 2015 Deal sent the Hospital an email that stated the following concerning the criminal charges against her:

I was executor for an estate and the gentleman, [J]ames [M]ooney, had left my fami[l]y and I some money. He did not want the family aware until the estate was closed, but I had to be honest and tell them after he died. I still managed the estate and had it completed by [D]ec 20, 2014. Of course, under his POA and Will, my legal fees were to be paid out of estate money, which is what we did.
* * *
The number [in the criminal charges], 88, 000.00-none of us know where that number is coming from. We are looking at paying back legal fees that I knew may need to be paid back by me.

9/7/15 Deal Email to Legner; Plaintiffs' Answer to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Response to Statement of Undisputed Facts ...


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.