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Macglashan v. ABS LINCS KY, Inc.

Supreme Court of Kentucky

December 18, 2014

IN RE: MARGARET MACGLASHAN
v.
ABS LINCS KY, INC. D/B/A CUMBERLAND HALL HOSPITAL

Released for Publication January 8, 2015.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, WESTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY, PADUCAH DIVISION. CIVIL ACTION NO. 5:13-CV-00135-TBR.

FOR MARGARET MACGLASHAN: James Michael Bolus, Jr., Bolus Law Offices, Brian Butler, Dawthorne & Butler.

FOR ABS LINCS KY, INC. D/B/A CUMBERLAND HALL HOSPITAL: Michael D. Risley, Demetrius O'Dell Holloway, Sties & Harbison, PLLC.

FOR U.S. DISTRICT COURT, WESTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY: Vanessa Lynn Armstrong.

OPINION

Page 793

VENTERS, JUSTICE.

CERTIFYING THE LAW

Pursuant to CR 76.37(1), this Court granted the certification request of The United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky to answer the following question of Kentucky law:

Can a plaintiff who alleges that her employment was wrongfully terminated in violation of Kentucky Revised Statute 216B.165 assert a claim for the recovery of front pay, along with other damages she may have sustained, by reason of her discharge?

For the reasons stated below, we conclude that the answer is " yes."

I. FACTUAL AND STATUTORY BACKGROUND

Because the case comes to this Court upon a Certification Order requested by the United States District Court, we review the question presented upon a limited but adequate factual record. According to the Certification Order, Margaret Macglashan alleges in her suit in the federal district court that she had been employed by ABS LINCS, KY., doing business as Cumberland Hall Hospital, and that she was fired because she was " preparing to report a clear medication error" to an appropriate hospital regulatory authority pursuant to KRS Chapter 216B.

KRS Chapter 216B broadly covers the regulation of health care facilities and services in Kentucky. KRS 216B.165(1) requires hospital employees to report circumstances in which " patient safety" or " quality of care" is " in jeopardy." KRS 216B.165(3) provides a kind of whistle-blower protection for health facility workers. It prohibits a health care facility or service from retaliating against an employee who reports any deficiencies of the facility or service pursuant to KRS 216B.165(1). However, KRS Chapter 216B does not prescribe any specific civil remedies for the whistle-blowing employee who suffers retaliation for making such a report. For remedies, one must look to the generic provisions of KRS 446.070 which states: " A person injured by the violation of any ...


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