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Ross v. Oceans Behavioral Hosp. of Greater New Orleans

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

November 25, 2014

EUGENIA ROSS
v.
OCEANS BEHAVIORAL HOSPITAL OF GREATER NEW ORLEANS

Page 177

ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 681-457, DIVISION " M" . HONORABLE HENRY G. SULLIVAN, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING.

J. COURTNEY WILSON, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Metairie, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT.

JOSEPH A. DEVALL, JR., LEN R. BRIGNAC, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.

Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Marc E. Johnson and Stephen J. Windhorst.

OPINION

STEPHEN J. WINDHORST, J.

Page 178

[14-368 La.App. 5 Cir. 2] Plaintiff, Eugenia Ross, appeals from the dismissal of her suit pursuant to a motion for summary judgment filed by defendant, Oceans Behavioral Hospital of Greater New Orleans (" the Hospital" ). We affirm the decision of the trial court.

Ms. Ross, a registered nurse, was employed by the Hospital. On December 27, 2008, she reported an alleged assault committed by a mental health technician on a patient to the hospital administrator. She alleges that the administrator took no action, so she reported the assault to corporate compliance. She was terminated three days later, Ms. Ross then filed suit against the Hospital for lost wages and other damages under La. R.S. 23:967, claiming she was terminated in retaliation for reporting the assault.

Ms. Ross's allegations arose out of a conversation she had with a fellow employee, Dorothy Ellis. According to Ms. Ross, Ellis told her that another employee, Rose Brumfield, had pushed a patient to the ground because the patient was trying to hit Brumfield with his walker. Ellis, however, did not see the alleged battery. Ms. Ross reported the incident to the hospital administrator, but did not [14-368 La.App. 5 Cir. 3] sign the form because she too did not see the event. She also did not discuss the incident with Brumfield. Ms. Ross stated that because the hospital administrator took no action, she reported the incident to corporate compliance, who conducted an investigation. During the investigation, both the patient and Brumfield denied that the event occurred. Finding nothing to support the allegation, the hospital deemed the matter concluded.

According to the Hospital, Ms. Ross was terminated for matters unrelated to this incident.

The Hospital's motion for summary judgment alleged that there were no material issues of fact and that Ms. Ross would be unable to meet her burden of proving that any violation of state law occurred, or that the alleged violation constituted a " workplace act or practice." Therefore, it argues, the plaintiff would be unable present evidence to support the elements of La. R.S. 23:967.

Along with her opposition to the motion, Ms. Ross provided exhibits consisting of:

Exhibit 1: Ms. Ross's affidavit;
Exhibit 2: an unsworn and unsigned statement by Ellis which referred to statements ...

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