Locke Lord Represents El Paso Healthcare System as Client Defeats Claim of Retaliation Against Independent Contractor

Susan Kidwell (Austin) represented Las Palmas Medical Center of El Paso in a case under a provision of the Texas Health & Safety Code that prevents retaliation by a hospital against a non-employee for “reporting a violation of law.” An independent contracted nurse claimed the hospital retaliated against her for reporting that a high-risk OB failed to obtain “informed consent” from a high-risk patient before a Cesarean-section. Plaintiff witnessed no part of the consent process. The Court held that, because she only speculated about the unwitnessed consent process, plaintiff did not meet the requirement that, based on her training and experience, a reasonably prudent nurse would conclude that informed consent had not been obtained under the circumstances. The Court also denied plaintiff’s tortious interference claim, because the nurse, who worked for an independent agency, was not guaranteed nor required to accept any shifts at the hospital, and thus there was nothing to interfere with.
Posted May 8, 2017