Court Sides with Employee in Medical Billing Retaliation Case

An Eastern District of Michigan judge sided with a magistrate and, by extension, the plaintiff in a case alleging that the plaintiff was fired because she reported suspected medical billing fraud against defendant Saginaw Health Clinic in connection with urine testing. At issue in Wednesday’s opinion was whether the plaintiff should be subjected to an independent medical examination.

The plaintiff originally alleged that the defendant would bill for urine sample testing prior to the performance of the test. After the plaintiff voiced her suspicions that this practice was illegal, she said she found her hours reduced severely.

The exact dispute in the opinion arises from a breakdown in negotiations over the scope a proposed medical exam; the plaintiffs argued that it was unneccesary because the plaintiff’s mental state was not “in controversy.”

The defendants argued that the plaintiff had waived her right to object to a medical examination by engaging in negotiations over a potential exam’s scope; the court disagreed, citing the plaintiff counsel’s limitation that they would accept an exam only under certain conditions. The court also sided with the plaintiffs in finding that such a mental health examination was not relevant to the case; the judge found that the plaintiff has not alleged “a specific psychological injury resulting from her discharge,” only what the court refers to as “garden variety” emotional distress.

The plaintiff is represented by Gafkay Law. The defendant is represented by Secrest Wardle.