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Deyoung v. Weiser Valley Hospital

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 31, 2014

ALANA M. DeYOUNG, Plaintiff,
v.
WEISER VALLEY HOSPITAL DISTRICT, aka WEISER MEMORIAL HOSPITAL; REUBEN DeKASTLE; LORI COATES; and MAUREEN RALEIGH, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: MOTION TO DISMISS

WILLIAM B. SHUBB, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Complaint contains claims under 1) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of plaintiff's First Amendment rights; 2) § 1983 for violations of her rights to procedural due process; 3) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e-17 (2006); 4) the Idaho Human Rights Act, Idaho Code §§ 67-5901 to 67-5912; and 5) Idaho state law for wrongful termination. In response to defendants' motion, plaintiff indicates that she does not oppose dismissal of her Title VII and IHRA claims. (Pl.'s Opp'n at 5 (Docket No. 10).) The court accordingly will address only the remaining claims.

I. Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Claim for Violation of Her First Amendment Rights

Plaintiff alleges that she worked as a Registered Nurse ("RN") at Weiser Memorial Hospital ("Weiser Memorial"), primarily in the operating room, for three years before RN supervisor Lori Coates informed her that she was being reassigned to "floor responsibilities" on the Med-Surgical Floor, would be required to work a twelve-hour shift that week, and would have a fluctuating schedule after the reassignment. (Compl. ¶¶ 4, 7, 11.) Plaintiff alleges that part of the "agreed upon conditions" of her employment with Weiser Memorial was that she would work a set schedule of eight-hour shifts five days per week in order to accommodate her responsibilities as a single mother. ( Id. ¶ 12.)

After several alleged oral discussions between plaintiff, Coates, RN supervisor Maureen Raleigh, Chief Nursing Officer Reuben DeKastle, and Human Resources Manager Terri Kautz, plaintiff alleges that on June 21, 2012, she filed a written complaint with the Weiser Memorial Human Resources Department. In her Complaint in this action, plaintiff alleges that on July 2, 2012, she was summoned to a meeting with DeKastle, Coates, Raleigh, and Kautz in which she was given the ultimatum to "resign or be fired." ( Id. ¶¶ 17-18.) After requests for time to consider the decision were denied, plaintiff was terminated. ( Id. ¶ 18.) The basis of plaintiff's First Amendment claim is that her termination was "in retaliation against her for filing a formal Grievance/Complaint on June 21, 2012." (Id.)

Although that grievance/complaint is not attached to the Complaint in this action, in an affidavit by Kautz, defendants have provided a copy of the "Employee Conflict Resolution Form" with the same date, and Kautz attests that it is a copy of the grievance plaintiff submitted. (Docket No. 5.) Because plaintiff alleges the existence of this document in the Complaint and does not dispute the authenticity of the copy defendants submitted, the court may consider it for purposes of the pending motion to dismiss. See Knievel v. ESPN , 393 F.3d 1068, 1076 (9th Cir. 2006).[1]

Plaintiff's formal grievance/complaint reads as follows:

To Whom It May Concern
I was approached by Lori Coats RN in the hall outside the recovery room and informed that I would have to take a 12 hour shift on Tuesday or Wednesday on the floor and I had no option. I would have to choose one of those days. Lori was hostile in her approach and I felt harassed and bullied at that time. I later went to Maureen Raleigh as per Lori's request and asked her about it. Maureen also insisted that I take a shift because that was the fair thing to do.
I expressed frustration at the last several months and how they had been handled by the management in regards to conflicts between Jenny Serviates and myself. At that time they requested Reuben's presence in the meeting. I asked for an advocate and they refused me that request. Reuben came in and also strongly suggested that I work Tues 8 hours of orientation and then Wed 8 hour shift. I felt completely bullied and harassed by the three of them. They made me feel small and invaluable as an employee. They did offer other suggestions in regard to the schedule on Tues and Wed, but I did not feel at liberty to take them up on any of them without retaliation.
For the last 4 months I have been bullied by the administration at Weiser Memorial Hospital. I have been informed that I had to take whatever they and Jenny Serviates had to say or do to me and not tell anyone. I was forced to sign a corrective action that I would not talk about what was happening at work to anyone. This in essence made it impossible for me to feel safe at work. In order to keep my job I was forced into mediation that was arranged by the management at Weiser memorial Hospital and forced to tolerate all of this without any kind of personal advocate.
In essence, I feel bullied and harassed by the Management in particular Lori Coats and Reuben DeCastle. The work environment has been consistently hostile and unfriendly with management especially in the operating room.
At this time I am considering tendering my resignation as it has become apparent that the management will continue this hostile and harassing ...

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