Healthcare and Employment Law: Doctor’s Claims of Age Discrimination and Failure to Accommodate Mental Health Issues
Verrill Dana represented Penobscot Community Healthcare in an appeal to the Maine Supreme Court arising from an age discrimination complaint by one of its doctors. After the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of PCHC, the doctor complained that the trial court had failed to provide proper accommodations for his mental health issues in the context of the motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court rejected the doctor’s appeal, affirming summary judgment in favor of PCHC. The case is Gallagher v. Penobscot Community Healthcare, 2019 ME 88.
Healthcare and Tort Liability: Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Doctor’s Libel and Tortious Interference Claims
Verrill Dana successfully represented Northwestern Medical Center and Quorum Health Resources in an appeal the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Doctor Raymond Long alleged that Northwestern and Quorum had filed a false notice with the National Provider Review Database after Long had resigned from the hospital while under investigation. The District Court dismissed Long’s complaint against Northwestern and Quorum on the grounds that aspects of his complaint were barred by res judicata and that he invited the harm of which he complained. The Second Circuit affirmed on all grounds. The case is Long v. Quorum Health Resources, 590 Fed. Appx. 103 (2d Cir. 2015).
Healthcare: Discoverability of Confidential Health Records
Verrill Dana filed two amicus briefs on behalf of the Maine Hospital Association and Maine Medical Association regarding the scope of permissible discovery of third party medical records in medical malpractice cases. The issue is one of first impression for the Maine Supreme Court and has the potential to significantly impact the extent to which hospitals and doctors can be required to produce medical records relating to patients who are not the subject of the malpractice action. The cases are McCain v. Vanadia, 2018 ME 1174 (appeal dismissed as unreviewable), and Kennelly v. Mid Coast Hosp., CUM-18-445 (pending).
International and Constitutional Law: Representation of Government of Mexico Seeking Parens Patriae Standing
Verrill attorneys represented the Government of Mexico in this high-profile appeal involving civil rights claims by over 1,000 Mexican migrant workers at an egg production farm in Maine. Mexico sought parens patriae status, specifically the right to assert as a plaintiff a quasi-sovereign interest in the general health and well-being of and the protection against discrimination against of workers of Mexican descent employed by the defendants. The First Circuit Court of Appeals, after spirited briefing and argument surrounding federalism concerns and international law, noted that Mexico’s arguments were not insignificant, but that without clear direction from the Executive or Congressional branches, it must affirm the dismissal of Mexico. The Court of Appeals decision is Estados Unidos Mexicanos v. DeCoster, 229 F.3d 332, 334 (1st Cir. 2000). The matter proceeded, however, to a landmark settlement on behalf of the class of Mexican and other Hispanic workers.
Age Discrimination Case in the Health Care Industry
Verrill Dana's Litigation Team successfully represented a healthcare institution in an age discrimination case brought by a former doctor. The case wound its way from Federal Court, to Maine Superior Court to the Maine Supreme Court. The doctor argued that the reasons for his termination were pretextual and that he had been defamed during proceedings that resulted in his termination. The Federal Court dismissed the doctor's federal claims and the Superior Court granted summary judgment on the doctor's state law claims. The Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court's grant of summary judgment, rejecting the plaintiff's novel procedural arguments.