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King v. Garfield County Public Hospital District No 1

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

April 10, 2014

DENNIS KING and TRICIA KING, husband and wife, Plaintiffs,
v.
GARFIELD COUNTY PUBLIC HOSPITAL DISTRICT NO. 1, a municipal corporation, et al., Defendants

For Dennis King, Husband, Tricia King, Wife, Plaintiffs, Counter Defendants: Ronald A Van Wert, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jeffrey Ryan Galloway, Etter McMahon Lamberson Clary & Oreskovich PC, Spokane, WA.

For Garfield County Public Hospital District No 1, a municipal corporation, Susan Morrow, Wife, James D Morrow, Andrew Craigie, Husband, Barbara Craigie, Michele Beehler, Wife, Blaine Beehler, Defendants: Susan Wilder Troppmann, LEAD ATTORNEY, Andrea L Asan, Paukert & Troppmann PLLC, Spokane, WA.

For Terence Sean McGee, MD, Husband, Kim McGee, Defendants: Michael E McFarland, Jr, LEAD ATTORNEY, Markus William Louvier, Evans Craven & Lackie PS - SPO, Spokane, WA.

For OHS Health & Safety Services Inc, a California Corporation, Defendant: Edward Joseph Bruya, Keefe, Bowman & Bruya, P.S., Spokane, WA; Jason Matthew Lamb, PRO HAC VICE, Joseph Arthur Walker, PRO HAC VICE, The Walker Law Firm, Newport Beach, CA.

For Blaine Beehler, Barbara Craigie, Garfield County Public Hospital District No 1, a municipal corporation, Andrew Craigie, Husband, Michele Beehler, Wife, Counter Claimants: Susan Wilder Troppmann, LEAD ATTORNEY, Andrea L Asan, Paukert & Troppmann PLLC, Spokane, WA.

OPINION

Page 1112

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT OHS'S MOTION TO DISMISS

THOMAS O. RICE, United States District Judge.

BEFORE THE COURT is Defendant OHS Health & Safety Services, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(c) (ECF No. 57). This matter was submitted for consideration without oral argument. The Court has reviewed the briefing and the record and files herein, and is fully informed.

BACKGROUND

This case concerns a hospital employee's termination for alleged drug diversion and use after the employee tested positive in a drug test. Plaintiff Dennis King sued his former employer, Garfield County Hospital District No. 1, as well as companies allegedly involved in the drug test. In the motion now before the Court, one of those companies, OHS Health & Safety Services, Inc. (" OHS" ), moves to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint for Damages against it. For the reasons explained below, the Court denies Defendant OHS's motion.

FACTS [1]

Plaintiff Dennis King (" King" ) is a registered nurse who was employed full-time by Garfield County Hospital District No. 1 (" GCHD" ) from March 2, 2007, until March 29, 2011. After a dental procedure, King was prescribed and was taking Tylenol with codeine. After King's shift on February 7, 2011, a narcotics count was performed and there were no discrepancies. On the following day--one of King's days off--the narcotic count revealed an additional 19ml of liquid in the morphine bottle. GCHD sent the bottle back to the manufacturer without testing.

On February 11, 2011, GCHD staff required King to take a urine drug test without any prior warning. This was one of King's regularly scheduled days off, and he had taken a prescription Tylenol with codeine approximately one hour before the test. King informed the test technician that he had ingested Tylenol with codeine. The test came back positive for codeine

Page 1113

and morphine. King was informed on February 18, 2011, that he had " extremely high levels of morphine" in his urine. He again informed a GCHD staff member that he had a valid prescription for Tylenol with codeine. On February 22, 2011, King, GCHD staff and Defendant Dr. Terrence McGee had a phone meeting about his positive test results. On March 28, 2011, Dr. McGee reported to GCHD that King had a positive finding for codeine and morphine; the next day, King was terminated from his employment with GCHD based on allegations of substance abuse.

At an unemployment hearing conducted by the Washington State Employment Security Division, Dr. McGee testified in support of GCHD and its staff's assertions that King had been terminated based on suspected drug diversion and use, as well as testifying that King may have developed a tolerance for opioids. However, the unemployment hearing examiner failed to establish that King was terminated for misconduct. The Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (" NQAC" ), to which GCHD had reported King, likewise determined that the evidence did not support allegations of drug ...


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