Woman sues nursing home for defamation, wrongful termination

By Kyla Asbury | Apr 20, 2015

WINFIELD – A woman is suing Broadmore at Teays Valley and its executive director after she claims she was wrongfully terminated and the defendants defamed her character.

SSA Teays Valley ALF LLC is doing business as Broadmore at Teays Valley.

Angela Bowden was employed by the defendants as a licensed practical nurse from August 2012 until her employment was terminated on March 14, 2014, according to a complaint filed Mach 30 in Putnam Circuit Court.

Bowden claims during her employment she repeatedly made complaints to Cassie Cain, the executive director, regarding patient safety, failure of the administration and personnel to follow applicable policies and procedures, the accuracy of medication administration records and the appropriateness of patient medication administration.

During the course of her employment, Bowden saw no action taken place to correct any of the deficiencies and/or address any of the complaints she had made regarding the matters, according to the suit.

Bowden claims she applied for a promotion to the position of memory care coordinator and during the interview, the interviewer talked about her own personal life and played on her cell phone, showing Bowden that she was obviously not seriously considered for and was not selected for the promotion.

During her employment, Bowden questioned the qualifications and competency of Cain to perform her duties, according to the suit.

Bowden claims prior to March 6, 2014, she had questioned the accuracy of the medication administration record for a patient known as H.R., observing that he was reportedly receiving twice the volume of narcotic medication on other shifts as opposed to on her shift.

On March 6, 2014, H.R. was observed to be confused and agitated by his family, who then requested that he be sent to an independent medical facility to be examined, where it was revealed that he had a severe urinary tract infection and that he was being over prescribed and/or overdosed on narcotic medication, according to the suit.

Bowden claims on March 10, 2014, she observed an increased agitation and aggressive behavior fro H.R. and she requested he be sent to an outside medical facility to be evaluated.

Immediately prior to H.R.'s transport by ambulance, Bowden administered medication to him in the form of .25mg Ativan by oral tablet and 30mg Oxycotin by oral tablet, according to the suit.

Bowden claims a urinalysis performed at the outside facility showed no evidence of the patient's prior severe urinary tract infection and no evidence of benzodiazepines or opiates.

The defendants maintain they were contacted in the middle of the night regarding the result of the tests and Cain then called the Putnam County Sheriff's Office to make a report of criminal conduct against Bowden, according to the suit.

Bowden claims she was subjected to an expanded 10-panel drug test, which was negative, and she was placed on suspension pending an investigation by Broadmore. The defendants then terminated her employment and filed a complaint against her with the West Virginia State Board of Examiners for Licensed Practical Nurses, alleging she had charted Ativan administrations for residents and that the medication did not show up on their drug tests.

Bowden applied for unemployment on March 17, 2014, and was found eligible, however the defendants appealed the decision and alleged she had been terminated for engaging in gross misconduct, making her ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits, according to the suit.

Bowden claims she on April 9, 2014, she received a letter from the WVBELPN, in which it stated it had found no malicious or intentional wrong doing in Bowden's practice of licensed practical nursing and the Disciplinary Review Committee had agreed to dismiss the complaint against her license.

On April 14, 2014, a hearing was held on the defendants' appeal of the unemployment benefits decision, and at the hearing, Cain did not notify the administrative law judge that Bowden had been cleared of any wrongdoing by the nursing board and instead told the judge that she was being investigated by the sheriff's office.

Bowden claims the judge entered a ruling that she was ineligible for unemployment benefits and on April 17, 2014, the defendants persisted in their persecution of her and a warrant was issued for her arrest on charges that she had fraudulently obtained a controlled substance.

Bowden turned herself in, where she was finger-printed, had her mug shot taken, was arraigned and released on a $500 cash bond. News stations reported the story on the evening news and on their websites, according to the suit.

Bowden claims a preliminary hearing was held in the criminal matter on May 22 and the magistrate found no probable cause and dismissed the charges.

The defendants wrongfully terminated Bowden's employment, defamed her character and caused her emotional distress.

Bowden is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Robert B. Warner, Lynnette Simon Marshall and Andrew D. Byrd of Warner Law Offices PLLC.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Joseph Reeder.

Putnam Circuit Court case number: 15-C-69

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