United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
L. HAYES MAG. JUDGE
G. JAMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court are Motions for Summary Judgment filed by
Defendant The Summit Health and Rehab Services, Inc.
(“Summit”) [Doc. No. 23] and Defendant West
Monroe Guest House, Inc. (“Guest House”) [Doc.
No. 27]. Defendants move for summary judgment on all claims
asserted by Plaintiff Eva Miller (“Miller”).
following reasons, the Motions for Summary Judgment are
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
supplies personnel to nursing homes and health care
facilities for the purposes of providing physical, speech,
daily living skills, and other types of rehabilitation
services. The Guest House is one of Summit's clients. It
is a long-term healthcare facility or nursing home in West
Monroe, Louisiana. Both of these entities are private
businesses which had a contractual relationship.
hired Miller as a Rehab Technician in November 2009. The
offer letter informed her that her “[a]cceptance of
employment . . . does NOT create a fixed
term of employment and the relationship may be terminated by
either the employer or the employee at any time . . .
.” [Doc. No. 23, Miller Depo., Exh. 1]. Miller admits
that this offer letter was the only purported
"employment contract" she had.
Rehab Technician, Miller assisted licensed therapists with
patients, including transporting patients from their rooms to
the therapy room, either by walking them or by wheelchair. A
Rehab Technician is not a licensed position, nor does it
require any sort of specialized training or education. Miller
did not provide treatment, but assisted patients with
exercises under the instructions of and in the presence of a
23, 2015, Miller agreed to help Sheila Eddins
(“Eddins”), a certified nursing assistant
employed by the Guest House, with a female resident,
was a Guest House long-term care resident who had both
physical and mental disabilities and was unable to walk. P
had soiled her herself and the bed, and Eddins was having
trouble with P and needed help. Although it was not part of
P's therapeutic services, Miller had built a rapport with
P and believed she could help with P, even if she were being
uncooperative. As Miller was trying to change P, P resisted
and told Miller to stop by saying “no.” According
to Miller, P was fussing and crying and told Miller to leave
her alone. P also hit out at Miller and tried to scratch
Miller with her fingernails. Before Miller was able to remove
P's shirt, P put her hands over her face. Miller grabbed
P's hands and pulled them down as P resisted.
point, Eddins left to get fresh sheets while Miller finished
cleaning and changing P. Once P was changed and put back in
her bed, Miller told Eddins that they needed to document some
fingernail scratches they found on P's bottom and legs,
which Miller believed were self-inflicted. Miller did not see
any bruises on or near P's hands.
approximately 5:25 p.m. on June 23, 2015, a Guest House
nurse, Debra McDowell, told Maradye Rinehart
(“Rinehart”), the Guest House Administrator, that
P had sustained visible and fresh bruises to her right hand
and arm. Rinehart went to see P, and she believed that
P's bruises had been caused by pressure from
someone's fingers. A color photograph was taken of the
accordance with state law, Rinehart began an investigation
into the cause of P's bruises. When Rinehart learned that
Eddins and Miller changed P earlier that day, Rinehart
suspended Eddins and requested that Summit suspend Miller
from her Guest House assignment pending further
approximately 9:08 p.m. that same evening, Miller met in
person with Rinehart and Marta Mathis (“Mathis”),
Guest House Assistant Administrator, to discuss the incident.
Miller told Rinehart and Mathis that she had been assisting
Eddins in changing P's bedding and clothes, and P had
resisted and told Miller to stop what she was doing, but
Miller continued. Miller also told Rinehart and Mathis that P
brought up her hands to her face and that Miller pulled
P's hands and arms down. Miller physically demonstrated
on Mathis how she grabbed P and how hard she pulled P's
hands and arms down.
Guest House's security camera recorded video of the
interview. During Miller's demonstration, the video shows
Miller grabbing Mathis' hands and arms in the same areas
where the bruises actually appeared on P's hands and
arms. The force used by Miller during the demonstration was
enough to cause Mathis' upper body to rock forward from
where she was seated.
next day, June 24, 2015, Rinehart and Patches Carr, a Guest
House nurse, visited P in her room. Rinehart showed P a
picture of Miller and of Eddins and asked P if either of
these persons had hurt her. P identified Miller as the person
who hurt her.
on the investigation, Rinehart concluded that Miller caused
P's bruising by pulling P's arms and hands down after
P had expressly informed Miller to stop, but she did not
believe Miller intended to hurt P. Miller admits she did not
follow protocol and respect P's wishes when P said
“no” and to leave her alone.
approximately 4:00 p.m. on June 24, 2015, Ryan McDonald
(“McDonald”), Summit Louisiana Area Manager, met
with Miller and Rinehart at the Guest House. McDonald
informed Miller that her employment with Summit was
terminated because of this incident.
only people Rinehart spoke to regarding the incident and/or
investigation were McDonald; Dena LaBorde
(“LaBorde”), Rinehart's direct supervisor at
the Guest House; and Dianne Anders (“Anders”),
the Guest House's Director of Nursing. Miller admits she
has no facts or other credible evidence that Rinehart or any
other employee from the Guest House said anything to anyone
about Miller's termination or the reasons for the
termination. Although others were purportedly aware of her
termination or the purported reasons for the same, Miller
admits she told various co-workers (among others) about the
reasons she was terminated.
also prepared a summary of the investigation which she sent
to the State of Louisiana.
never saw Eddins or anyone else touch P in the same areas
where the bruises actually appeared on P's hands and arms
on June 23, 2015. Miller admits she has no facts or evidence
to contradict Rinehart's belief that Miller's actions
inadvertently caused P's ...