Former employee sues Huntington doctor for emotional distress

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 18, 2016

HUNTINGTON – A woman is suing a Huntington physician after she claims the doctor and his practice caused her emotional distress during her employment.

HUNTINGTON – A woman is suing a Huntington physician after she claims the doctor and his practice caused her emotional distress during her employment.

Frank Rivas MD Inc. and Dr. Frank Rivas were named as defendants in the suit.

Samantha Pickens began her training with the defendants on March 14 and began her full-time position as an office manager/Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant on March 20, according to a complaint filed Sept. 1 in Cabell Circuit Court.

Pickens claims she often had to work as a receptionist/scheduler/biller/coder and referral specialist as well.

From the beginning of her employment, Rivas would frequently forget assignments and yell and Pickens and, on numerous occasions, yelled at her and at least one other employee in front of patients, according to the suit.

Pickens claims in addition to Rivas’ aggressive and hostile behavior, she quickly noticed other employment and business practices that made her uncomfortable and/or she believed to be improper and/or illegal.

During her employment, Pickens was involved in a custody matter and had informed the defendants that she would need to leave work at 3:30 on April 7 to meet the guardian ad litem in connection with the custody matter, according to the suit.

Pickens claims Rivas yelled at her and retaliated against her as well as another employee who had a separate court obligation on the same date.

On April 14, Pickens visited MedExpress and, later, Charleston Area Medical Center’s Teay’s Valley Emergency Room, where she received medication and treatment for a virus and was given a doctor’s note excusing her from work for April 14 through 18, according to the suit.

Pickens claims she contacted the defendants and Rivas ignored her and did not respond to her voicemail messages until he finally returned her call on April 17, ordering her to be at the office the following morning at 8 a.m.

When Pickens arrived, she discovered her belongings had been boxed up and many of the personal items had been destroyed, according to the suit.

Pickens claims Rivas then accused her of using the company debit card to purchase a tire for a vehicle and then demanded to know where checks for $1,100 were unaccounted for.

Approximately 10 days later, Pickens received a phone call from a Huntington Police Department officer stating that the defendants were accusing her of theft, according to the suit.

Pickens claims as a result of the defendants’ actions, she suffered a loss of past and future income and other benefits of employment; anxiety; fearl emotional distress; and harm to her reputation.

Pickens is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Hoyt Glazer of the Law Office of Hoyt Glazer.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge F. Jane Hustead.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 16-C-561

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