CLARKSBURG – A lawsuit alleging Healthsouth Corporation discriminated against a former employee because of her age was removed to federal court, where the plaintiff filed to voluntarily dismiss the case.

Bonnie Shaffer filed her motion for voluntary dismissal in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. The case was removed to federal court on Aug. 7, based on a diversity of citizenship, according to the plaintiff's motion for voluntary dismissal.

"The basis for this motion is that this is a purely state law employment case, which does not belong in this federal court," the motion states.

Moreover, the plaintiff is unemployed and the attorney took the case on a contingent fee and the plaintiff if financially unable to prosecute her claim in federal court and her counsel has no desire to continue the case in federal court.

The defendant filed the notice of removal, stating that it was incorporated in Delaware and its principal place of business in Alabama, which means it is a citizen of a different state, according to the notice.

Because the plaintiff is a citizen of West Virginia and the defendant is a citizen of Delaware and Alabama, complete diversity of citizenship exists between the parties, the notice states.

Shaffer initially filed her lawsuit in July in Monongalia Circuit Court, claiming she was discriminated against based on her age.

Shaffer was employed by Healthsouth from September 1992 until Dec. 7. She claimed she had a good record of service and was well respected and had a series of medical issues, which caused her to miss work.

In 2014, Shaffer began experiencing on the job harassment from her managers and she would joke about wanting to quit, but she could not afford to, according to the suit.

Shaffer claimed she got into a verbal disagreement with Erica Smith, a younger supervisor, about special treatment being requested by her for a patient who was believed to be the grandfather of Occupational Therapist Tech Manager Robin Butler's son's fiance.

The plaintiff reported to the company that there was false billing to insurance companies by some of the therapists for work which they did not do, according to the suit.

Shaffer claimed on Dec. 7, management was asking employees to take voluntary, unpaid time off to reduce payroll cost due to a reduced census of patients and she was asked by Smith to take this time off, which she agreed to do.

The plaintiff, as a joke, said to Smith, "would you like my resignation as well?" and Smith said "yes" in a joking way, as they were in the habit of joking around, according to the suit.

Shaffer claimed she wrote out a resignation letter and handed it to Smith as a joke and went home. She later called Smith to ask her to destroy the joke resignation letter, but was informed she was too late and the resignation was already being processed.

The plaintiff then went back and spoke directly to Butler, who also told her that she was sorry, but her resignation was accepted and that she needed to retire, according to the suit.

Shaffer claimed she was replaced by a younger worker, believed to be in his 20s.

Healthsouth discriminated against Shaffer based on her age and wrongfully discharged her from her employment, according to the suit

Shaffer was seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She was being represented by Edward R. Kohout.

Healthsouth was represented by C. David Morrison and Mario R. Bordogna of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC.

The case was assigned to District Judge Irene Keeley.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number: 1:15-cv-00133

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