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Taylor v. Pine Meadows Healthcare, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

March 20, 2014



KAREN K. CALDWELL, Chief District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant Pine Meadows Health Care, LLC's motion for summary judgment. (DE 19). For the reasons discussed below, the Court will grant Pine Meadows' motion.

I. Factual Background

This case is brought by Plaintiff Keisha Taylor against her former employer Defendant Pine Meadows for terminating Taylor in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). The facts of this case are a twisted sequence of events revolving around whether Taylor complied with the TB skin testing[1] requirements of Pine Meadows and Taylor's behavior surrounding the investigation of the TB skin test. While the parties disagree at length about whether Taylor actually took her TB skin test, as explained later in this Order, such discrepancies are of no legal significance. For ease of understanding, the Court will describe Pine Meadows' version of events, which are heavily supported by all the evidence presented, including much of Taylor's own testimony. Next, the Court will highlight the discrepancies in Taylor's version of events. Finally, the case involves a large network of individuals who are listed for convenience below.

Name of Individual Brief Description Keisha Taylor Plaintiff and former State Registered Nursing Assistant ("SRNA") at Pine Meadows. Pine Meadows Defendant nursing home with more than fifty employees, subject to the FMLA Chestina Janisewska Employee at Pine Meadows who was responsible for the staff ("C.J.") development and tracking employee immunizations. "Taylor's Uncle" A nurse at Pine Meadows who is also Taylor's uncle. Traci Griffin The house supervisor at Pine Meadows. Yolanda Loveless Director of Nursing at Pine Meadows. Chad Helton Facility Administrator at Pine Meadows

A. Pine Meadows' Version of Events

First, Pine Meadows provides the following reasons for termination:

Taylor's persistent obstruction, belligerence, and refusal to cooperate in the efforts of Chestina Janiszewska [C.J] to document that Taylor had been administered and passed the state mandated TB skin test. Taylor's obstruction including claiming the test was administered by Dewayne Taylor, then when that claim proved to be false, falsely claiming that it was administered by Traci Griffin... [While on the phone with C.J.] Taylor became belligerent and insubordinate. Taylor's conduct violated a number of Pine Meadows' work rules and exposed the facility to possible violation of government regulation.

(DE 19-7) (emphasis added).

The relevant events began when C.J., who was responsible for staff development at Pine Meadows, contacted Taylor sometime in August or September to alert Taylor that her annual PPD test was due. (DE 19-3, 19-10). Later in September, C.J. again approached Taylor to inform her that she was overdue for her annual PPD test. (DE 19-3). According to C.J., Taylor insisted that Taylor's uncle, a nurse at Pine Meadows, had given her the PPD test. (DE 19-10). C.J. questioned Taylor's uncle, but Taylor's uncle denied giving the PPD test. (DE 19-3). C.J. reports questioning Taylor more than twice about the overdue PPD test. (DE 19-3). When C.J.'s efforts failed, she asked Griffin to question the facility nurses about whether any of them had given an employee a PPD test. (DE 19-3). Griffin reported that no nurse could recall giving a PPD test. (DE 19-3).

Some months later, on December 19th, Taylor called Pine Meadows to inform them that she had seen a doctor and she could not work for the next two weekends. (DE 19-1). Loveless, the Director of Nursing, told Taylor she would need to fill out FMLA paperwork. (DE 19-1).

According to C.J. and Loveless, C.J. did not report the overdue TB skin test to Loveless, until December 20, 2013, one day after Taylor had taken medical leave. (DE 19-3, 19-4). Taylor was brought up in a conversation between C.J. and Loveless on the 20th, because the two were discussing the holiday schedule and Taylor was now unable to work. (DE 19-4). Based on Taylor's report to C.J. that Taylor's uncle had given Taylor the PPD test, Loveless wrote a note to Taylor's uncle to determine if he had administered the test and if so, what the results were. (DE 19-4, 19-5). It is undisputed that Taylor's uncle responded in writing, "I don't remember giving her [Taylor] PPD [test]." (DE 19-5). Based on this report, Loveless then spoke with the Facility Administrator, Chad Helton, to determine a course of action. (DE 19-4). The two decided not to ask Taylor about the test until after she was off medical leave. (19-4).[2] Meanwhile, Taylor's uncle told her that Loveless and/or C.J. had questioned him about Taylor's PPD test. (DE 19-10).

At this point, to the knowledge of Loveless, Helton, C.J., and Pine Meadows generally, the mater of Taylor's PPD test would not be addressed until after Taylor was off FMLA leave. However, Taylor admits to calling several times to ask about the PPD test while she was on FMLA leave. (DE 19-2). According to Loveless, when Loveless spoke to Taylor, Taylor was screaming and acting "belligerent." (DE 19-4). According to C.J., Taylor was "less than professional... she was cursing [and] [s]he was yelling." (DE 19-3). Loveless and/or C.J. explained to Taylor that Griffin denied administering Taylor's PPD test, which admittedly made Taylor "angry." (DE 19-10). Taylor also concedes that she "raised her voice" to C.J. because C.J. ...

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