United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
L. HAYES MAG. JUDGE.
G. JAMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is a “Motion for Summary
Judgment” [Doc. No. 114] filed by Defendant Madison
Parish Hospital Service District (“MPHSD”).
Plaintiff Barbara Tabor (“Tabor”) opposes the
motion in part.
following reasons, the Motion for Summary Judgment is
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
an investigative audit by the Louisiana Legislative Audit,
MPHSD created the position of Chief Financial Officer
(“CFO”). MPHSD Chief Executive Officer
(“CEO”) Scott Barrilleaux
(“Barrilleaux”) prepared a list of qualifications
to be used in the advertisement for the position. Listed as
“must haves” were a bachelor's degree in
finance or accounting from an accredited university. Listed
among “[p]referred” qualifications was a
master's degree, certified public accounting, and/or
Health Care Financial Management Association credentials.
November 12, 2012, Tabor emailed her resume to
Barrilleaux's assistant, Chastity Whitaker
(“Whitaker”) for consideration for the position
of CFO. The resume detailed that she had a B.A. in business
management from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida,
and was “currently attending & anticipate[d]”
receiving an MBA in Healthcare Administration from the
University of Phoenix. Barrilleaux interviewed Tabor and two
other candidates by telephone and then the three candidates
were interviewed in person by Barrilleaux and the Senior
Leadership Team for MPHSD. Following the interviews,
Barrilleaux hired Tabor as CFO.
and MPHSD entered into an Employment Agreement (“the
Agreement”) on or about January 22, 2013. [Doc. No.
114, Exh. H]. The Agreement was prepared by MPHSD's
attorney, Pamela Breedlove (“Breedlove”). The
Agreement provided for an initial term of two (2) years
commencing on February 11, 2013, and an automatic renewal of
one (1) year. However, Section 4.2 of the Agreement provided
that either party could terminate the Agreement without cause
upon thirty (30) days' notice. Tabor had the opportunity
to read and ask questions about the Agreement before she
began her employment in February 2013. Whitaker obtained a
criminal background check of Tabor after she accepted the CFO
position, but Whitaker did not recall it revealing anything
“negative.” [Doc. No. 114, Exh. B, Whitaker
Depo., p. 31]. Tabor's educational credentials were not
signed February 18, 2013 employment application,
Tabor responded “no” to the question of whether
she had ever been convicted of a crime. She also listed the
same educational credentials on the application as those
listed in her resume.
Tabor report to Barrilleaux. Her duties included the
preparation of financial reports for the CEO and the Board of
Commissioners (“the Board”), which governs MPHSD.
She attended Board meetings for the purposes of planning and
providing the financial reports.
Thomas Bartholomew (“Bartholomew”), who has a
background in finance and banking had concerns about her
the last week in May or the first week in June 2013, Tabor
met with Board Chairman T.J. Williams
(“Williams”) at his office, so he could sign
MPHSD checks. He raised concerns about the amounts being paid
to contractors, vendors, and legal counsel. Williams and
Tabor also discussed issues with Barrilleaux's work
performance. Williams sought Tabor's input and ask to her
to put these concerns in a letter to be presented to the
6, 2013, Tabor drafted a“Letter of Concern” in
which she made multiple allegations against Barrilleaux.
[Doc. No. 114, Exh. K]. She presented the letter to the Board
before its June 11, 2013 meeting. Tabor described the letter
as presenting her own concerns and those of other employees.
Williams had known of some of the concerns, but Tabor made
the following new allegations:
• The Interim HIM Director Kelley Chaney helped
Barrilleaux's wife, Brandy, take a coding examination;
• Brandy Barrilleaux used a MPHSD computer to study for
and take her coding examination and also took possession of a
coding reference book;
• Barrilleaux asked a hospital employee to watch his
children while he and his wife attended a doctor's
appointment in the clinic;
• Barrilleaux asked a hospital employee to pick up his
wife's prescription at a pharmacy;
• Barrilleaux watched a golf tournament on a television
in his office;
• Barrilleaux purchased steaks and other food items to
cook at his home for a dinner with hospital consultants, and
submitted the expenses after MPHSD's counsel, Breedlove,
told him they were reimbursable;
• Barrilleaux told Tabor that he wanted to hire third
party CPA Bobby Miller to review hospital billings for the
past year; and
• Barrilleaux yelled at Tabor and told her that he had
the authority to terminate her employment.
[Doc. No. 114, Exhibit D, pp. 146-149]. During the meeting,
the Board voted to place Barrilleaux on administrative leave
while it investigated the concerns raised. Barrilleaux
responded to the allegations through his attorney.
Barrilleaux was on administrative leave, Williams served as
Board appointed attorney Joy Jackson (“Jackson”)
to investigate the allegations. She did so and presented her
findings to the Board in an executive session during the July
15, 2013 Board meeting.
also issued a written advisory opinion. [Doc. No. 114, Exh.
L]. In that opinion, Jackson detailed the allegations against
Barrilleaux and offered an opinion as to each allegation, as
well as making some additional findings. She found that many
of his actions were inappropriate and in violation of his
contract, and she recommended a reprimand on certain issues
if he returned to his position. With regard to his verbal
agreement with a consultant, she noted that such agreements
should be in writing and signed because Louisiana
Constitutional Article 7, Section 14, prohibits state
entities from “donat[ing]” money. She explained
that “[w]hen the funds of the hospital are committed
without a written executed contract there may be the
potential that public funds are being donated in direct
violation of the Louisiana State Constitution. [Therefore, ]
the Louisiana Legislative Auditor recommends that all
contracts involving public funds be placed in writing.”
However, Jackson did not find, specifically, that Barrilleaux
or MPHSD violated state law.
same report, Jackson also raised concerns about Tabor. She
was concerned that Tabor had deceived and manipulated Kelley
Chaney (“Chaney”), the Interim HIM Director, into
giving an affidavit about her interactions with Brandy
Barrilleaux. She noted that Tabor had worked to undermine
receiving her advisory opinion and hearing from Jackson in an
executive session, the Board held some discussion, but then
voted to reinstate Barrilleaux.
returned to work on July 22, 2013. On that day, Barrilleaux
instructed MPHSD employee, Tracy Baur, to follow Tabor,
allegedly to ensure that she did not destroy any hospital
property. At one point, Tabor tried to close her office door,
and Bauer blocked the door with his foot, allegedly forcing
Tabor into a wall. Another employee, Ben Moore
(“Moore'), also followed Tabor around that day.
Some time around 4:00 p.m., Tabor ...