Former hospital worker claims wrongful termination

By Kelly Holleran | Apr 28, 2010

ELKINS -- A former Davis Memorial Hospital worker claims she was wrongfully terminated from her job after she raised substantial issues regarding patient care and safety.

Lisa Moody claims she was fired on June 1, 2007, after bringing her concerns to Davis Memorial Hospital's administration and employees. In addition, Moody alleges the hospital was motivated to fire her because of she was more than 40 years old and because she had a disability.

Before she was fired, Moody was forced to take advantage of her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act because of her disability, according to her complaint. When she returned to her job, Moody was only allowed to perform limited tasks, and so her co-employees made her work environment hostile, the suit states.

"Defendant's employees attempted to make Plaintiff's work intolerable in an effort to make her voluntarily quit her employment," the complaint says. "When she did not voluntarily quit her employment, she was wrongfully terminated by the Defendant."

According to Moody's complaint filed March 25 in Randolph Circuit Court, her termination was a violation of the West Virginia Patient Safety Act and a violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act.

She is seeking a reinstatement to her position at the hospital or, if the court decides reinstatement is not possible, front pay; payment for damages recoverable under the West Virginia Patient Safety Act and the West Virginia Human Rights Act, punitive damages, attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Davis Memorial Hospital removed Moody's complaint to U.S. District Court on March 25 because it says Moody is making a claim under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which is a federal claim that belongs in federal court. Although in her suit Moody does not allege violations of the FMLA, Davis Memorial Hospital contends Moody testified during her deposition that her FMLA leave contributed to her termination.

The hospital included records from her deposition.

"Question: Do you think that because you took FMLA that led to your termination?

Answer: It possibly could have because I was somebody who never missed work. I really did not miss work.

Question: Do you think that was one of the reasons?

Answer: Well, it certainly could be possible. If I couldn't perform at full duty, they really didn't need me.

Question: Is that one of the allegations you're making in this case?

Answer: Well, absolutely. I mean, there was no purpose for me there. I was making a high wage. They sure didn't want to pay a ward clerk 16.95 an hour to run a computer."

Moody will be represented by David A. Sims of the Law Offices of David A. Sims in Elkins.

Davis Memorial Hospital will be represnted by Roger A. Wolfe and Holly G. DiCocco of Jackson Kelly in Charleston.

U.S. District Court case number: 2:10-cv-42

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