United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
CHARLES B. GOODWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court are the Motion to Dismiss of Defendant Kamil
Nemri, MD (Doc. No. 41) and the Partial Motion to Dismiss of
Defendant Lindsay Municipal Hospital Authority (Doc. No. 43).
Based on the case record, the parties’ arguments, and
the governing law, the Motions are granted in part, and
denied in part, as set forth below.
of the Pleadings
January 2005 to March 2016, Plaintiff Sheryl Kochert was
employed as a part-time “Flex Nurse” by the
Lindsay Municipal Hospital Authority (the
“Hospital”) in Lindsay, Oklahoma. Am. Compl.
(Doc. No. 40) ¶¶ 14-15, 25-26. During this time,
Plaintiff’s salary remained stagnant, and she was
passed up for promotions and other advancement opportunities
afforded to younger, less experienced nurses who were paid
the same or a higher wage. Id. ¶¶ 25-26.
Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that she was denied the
opportunity to apply for a vacant Director of Nursing
(“DON”) position and that, without posting or
otherwise advertising the position, the Hospital selected a
young nurse to fill the vacancy “over older, more
experienced nurses.” Id. ¶ 63; see
also Id . ¶¶ 17, 138. Plaintiff further
alleges that, at some point during her tenure, she became
“targeted for the creation of a hostile work
environment” by a group of younger coworkers who
“routinely met during and after work to discuss
employees whom they did not like and wanted to get out of the
hospital.” Id. ¶ 61.
in 2014, Plaintiff “made multiple complaints to her
superiors about her treatment at the Hospital and asserted
her rights under Title VII, the Age Discrimination and
Employment Act, and the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination
Act.” Id. ¶ 27. Plaintiff additionally
complained about the Hospital’s “failure to
follow state and federal guidelines” and voiced her
concern that substandard conditions at the Hospital, such as
“insufficient staffing” and “outdated or
malfunctioning equipment, ” created “risks to
patients and staff” and impaired Plaintiff’s
ability to “perform her job in accordance with state
and federal laws.” Id. ¶¶ 20-21. When
no corrective action was taken, Plaintiff escalated her
complaints to the Hospital’s Board of Directors and to
the City Council for the City of Lindsay. Id.
about February 19, 2015, Plaintiff met with the
Hospital’s Human Resources Manager, who “advised
Plaintiff that, if she continued to pursue the issues she
complained of, she would be terminated or forced to
resign.” Id. ¶ 30. Plaintiff on April 14,
2015, contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) to report the ongoing discriminatory
conduct occurring at the Hospital. Id. ¶ 31.
also lodged complaints against Dr. Kamil Nemri. In September
and October of 2015, Plaintiff reported Dr. Nemri to the
Hospital’s complaint division for giving orders that
would have “violate[d] standards of safety for patient
care and discrimination” if followed and for rendering
substandard medical treatment to a patient who ultimately
died in the Hospital’s care. Id. ¶¶
34, 45, 48; see also Id . ¶ 139. In October
2015, Plaintiff filed similar complaints against Dr. Nemri
with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Oklahoma
Board of Medical Licensure. Id. ¶ 48, 50. In
response, Dr. Nemri “threatened Plaintiff’s job .
. . and offered a reward to the employee who divulged who
made complaints about him.” Id. ¶ 51;
see also Id . ¶ 135. He also “advised
Plaintiff to get over the past and move on.”
Id. ¶ 136.
after making her complaints against the Hospital and Dr.
Nemri, Plaintiff experienced “a noticeable reduction in
her schedule.” Id. ¶ 32. “Between
October 2015 and March 2016, Plaintiffs hours were limited to
less than the minimum for a Flex Nurse, her shifts were
cancelled, and her hours were given to younger nurses.”
Id. ¶ 39. Moreover, Plaintiff was prevented
from renewing her Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support
(“ACLS”) certification, which she “is
required to have” in order to work in the Emergency
Room. Id. ¶¶ 40-41. Plaintiff alleges
“[o]n information and belief that Dr. Nemri, alone or
in combination with others, “actively interfered with
and prevented [her] from obtaining the ACLS
re-certification.” Id. ¶ 42; see also
Id . ¶ 137.
refusing to drop her complaints, Plaintiff was terminated
from her employment with the Hospital on March 11, 2016.
Id. ¶ 59. She filed this action on June 21,
2017. Id. ¶¶ 11-12.
sole claim against Dr. Nemri is for tortious interference
with her employment relationship with the
Hospital. Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Nemri
interfered with her employment relationship in the following
• by “creat[ing] a hostile work environment for
Plaintiff, ” Am. Compl. ¶ 134;
• by “threaten[ing] Plaintiff’s job after
she complained about him, ” id. ¶ 135;
• by “offer[ing] a reward to  anyone who
divulged the name of the person who made the complaints about
him, ” id. ¶ 135;
• by “advis[ing] Plaintiff to get over the past
and move on when she complained about discriminatory
treatment by Dr. Nemri, ” id. ¶ 136;
• by “actively interfer[ing] with and prevent[ing]
Plaintiff from obtaining her ACLS re-certification, ”
id. ¶ 137;
• by “participat[ing] in the decision to promote
[a younger nurse] to DON, a position that was never posted or
advertised for Plaintiff to apply for, ” id.
¶ 138; and
• by “[giving] orders during a mandatory nurse
meeting which, if followed, would violate standards of safety
for patient care and discrimination, ” thereby
“jeopardiz[ing] Plaintiff’s nursing license,
” id. ¶ 139.
alleges that, as a result of the foregoing conduct, she was:
(1) “overlooked for promotions for which she was
otherwise qualified”; (2) “placed on a punitive
work schedule, ” resulting in “lost time from
work”; and (3) “eventually discharged from her
employment.” Id. ¶ 140.
asserts six claims against the Hospital. Specifically,
Plaintiff claims that the Hospital: (1) subjected her to
unlawful age discrimination; (2) engaged in unlawful
retaliation; (3) violated the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination
Act, Okla. Stat. tit. 25, § 1350; (4) is liable under
Burk v. K-Mart Corp., 770 P.2d 24 (Okla. 1989), for
terminating Plaintiff in contravention of public policy; (5)
breached the terms of a settlement agreement she had entered
into with the Hospital; and (6) violated Plaintiff’s