REBUTTALS TO BRNS ASSERTIONS

February 21, 2024

REBUTTALS TO BRN’S ASSERTIONS

Plaintiff files this surplus document as an Exhibit in further support of her First Amended Complaint. Through this document, Plaintiff seeks to debunk all assertions made by the BRN. Plaintiff states as follows:

  1. Petition and Order Compelling Mental and/or Physical Examination (EXHIBIT 63- BRN’s Accusation)
BRN’S ASSERTIONS PLAINTIFF’S REBUTTALS
Plaintiff’s ability to safely practice as a Registered Nurse may be impaired due to mental and/or physical illness. (Exhibit A- pg. 3) Plaintiff vehemently opposes the stated averment. The BRN has no proof that Plaintiff was impaired.

On or about July 2021, the BRN interviewed Plaintiff. BRN then received Plaintiff’s complete medical record on August 3, 2021. Upon receiving Plaintiff’s records, the Board found no issue. Nowhere in Plaintiff’s history of nursing was there any record of bad patient care or any medical errors.

Plaintiff has a recommendation letter sent by Julie Bonsack, Plaintiff’s travel nurse recruiter on July 22, 2022. (Exhibit 56- Julie Bonsack’s letter). In the letter, Julie stated that Plaintiff received a good recommendation from supervisor Jennifer Ty. Julie further quoted Jennifer Ty, who stated expressed their thrill to have Plaintiff work with them, and that they would love to keep or have her come back as the need arises.

Plaintiff also received a letter on July 25, 2022 from Cheyenne Haggard, her recruiter. (Exhibit 58- Cheyenne’s Letter). In the letter, Cheyenne acknowledged that Plaintiff had worked with her as a travel nurse at Clovis Community Medical Center, Clovis, CA. She further noted that Plaintiff had received good recommendations from her supervisor Jennifer Tyo, Laura Benesch at Palmdale Regional, and Natalie P, a Charge RN at Clovis Community Medical Center. The said individuals were excited to work with Plaintiff.

On March 11, 2021, Jennifer Tyo, Plaintiff’s supervisor at Providence Little Company of Mary San Pedro, noted that Plaintiff has been able to maintain a composed demeanor, even working in stressful situations. (Exhibit 47- Jennifer Tyo’s letter).

On March 21, 2023, Plaintiff received a verification of employment from Danelle Manderfeld. (Exhibit 62-Danelle’s letter). In the letter, Danelle stated that Plaintiff met the requirements for her job and qualified for rehire with Atlas Medstaff.

Further, on April 27, 2022, Tina Griffith wrote a recommendation letter, where she noted that Plaintiff was a self-starter, reliable, and excelled under pressure. (Exhibit 60- Tina Griffith’s letter).

Plaintiff worked as a per diem nurse at Kaiser West LA Emergency department from January 2020 to October 2020 The verification of employment from Danelle Manderfeld notes that Plaintiff had been employed on a fulltime basis as a travel nurse with Atlas Medstaff at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Centre SCAL in Los Angeles, California, for the time periods of 12/3/2018 to 12/28/2019. (Exhibit 62-Danelle’s letter).
On or about August 28th, 2020, several staff members reported to the manager that Plaintiff was possibly having a mental break down. The correct version of facts for the August 28, 2020 incidence is that Plaintiff was engaged in a casual conversation with Mr. Edwards, a previous co-worker, when Plaintiff mentioned that she had been harassed by two males within the last year at another job she held before. At that time, Plaintiff considered Mr. Edwards to be a friend since they often worked in the same shift as nurses. It is after this incidence that Mr. Edwards started making negative remarks about Plaintiff to the hospital’s patients and staff, in an effort to discredit her and make her appear as incompetent and incapable of performing her duties as a nurse. Plaintiff sent her supervisor, Sarah Poetter an email detailing her bullying. (Exhibit 3- Email to Sarah Poetter- June 2020).

Plaintiff then met with the HR, where she discussed her concerns regarding Mr. Edwards. (Exhibit 4- Email from HR- July 2020).

The staff and management of Kaiser then started making the false allegations against Plaintiff, that she is not mentally capable of fulfilling her duties. (Exhibit 5- Text Message from Michael Zackos; Exhibit 6- Email from HR regarding the August 28th dismissal; Exhibit 7- Email from Michael Zackos; Exhibit 8- Email regarding sick hours).

On or about September 9, 2020, an EEOC investigator, Lourdes Keppel, contacted Plaintiff and advised her that she was investigating her complaint and would reach out to her shortly. In the meantime, Plaintiff continued to receive phone calls from a few of her co- workers advising her that Xavier Edwards was continuing to spread rumors about her, claiming that she was psychotic and that she was mentally unstable. (Exhibit 18- Email from EEOC investigation; Exhibit 19- EEOC investigation fact sheet; Exhibit 20- Email from EEOC investigator; Exhibit 25- Email to EEOC Investigator; Exhibit 31- Email to EEOC investigator regarding closing of investigations; Exhibit 41- EEOC Conclusion to Investigation).

On January 29, 2021, Plaintiff was denied her accommodation request. (Exhibit 43- Kaiser Denies Accommodation request). On February 11, 2021, a Clarification Note was sent to the HR. The note stated that Plaintiff had no specific functional limitations that would preclude her from performing her nursing duties. (Exhibit 44- Clarification Notice sent to the HR). The foregoing notwithstanding, the HR still maintained that they would engage a third-party healthcare to perform a medical assessment on Plaintiff. (Exhibit 45- HR response to clarification note). The HR further stated that Plaintiff would further remain on unpaid medical leave.

Plaintiff believes that these actions by the management at Kaiser were acts of retaliation against her and their effort to portray Plaintiff as mentally unbalanced because she had complained about bullying by her co-worker, Xavier Edwards. Furthermore, Plaintiff believes that her mistreatment was substantially motivated by hostility to her ethnic background and foreign accent, and for this reason, the staff at Kaizer attempted to portray Plaintiff as having suffered a psychotic break and also portray her as unfit to work as a registered nurse.

The manager subsequently met with Plaintiff during which she displayed concerning behavior which included bizarre ideas about voodoo and vampires. The psychologist’s notes showed clearly that Plaintiff’s fear of black magic was valid and was based on her cultural/religious belief, harassment, abuse at work, and her unexplainable car accident. (Exhibit 2- Psychologist’s Notes- Nov. 2020; Exhibit 46- Psychologist Notes referencing August 28, 2020).

Further, having been subjected to a fitness for duty examination, the Emergency Room Physician issued an assessment note, which provided inter alia, that Plaintiff is cognitively intact, and has the mental capacity to perform her duties. (Exhibit 49- Emergency Room Physician Assessment Note; Exhibit 50- Email to HR regarding fitness for duty examination).

This prompted the manager to release Plaintiff from her licensed duties and request that she submit to a fitness for duty exam before she could return to work. There was no good cause to subject Plaintiff to the fitness for duty exam. One should therefore be subjected to a mental examination only if such an examination is the least intrusive means of determining a physician’s mental condition.  See Kees v. Medical Board, 7 Cal. App. 4th 1801 (Cal. Ct. App. 1992). Also, “[t]he only guideline set forth in section 820 is simply “[w]henever it appears that . . . the licentiate’s ability to practice is impaired due to mental illness…”” Alexander D. v. State Bd. of Dental Examiners, 231 Cal.App.3d 92, 98 (Cal. Ct. App. 1991).

Plaintiff maintains that the BRN’s resort to subjecting her to the examination was an unduly intrusive means of determining her mental condition.  First, Kaiser’s fitness for duty policy provides that there must be evidence for the inability to perform the requirements of the job. If there is no such evidence, there is no basis for a fitness for duty examination. (Exhibit 13- Fitness for Duty Policy).

Next, as Plaintiff already stated, the BRN had already interviewed her, and accessed her medical records, but never found any issue with Plaintiff’s record. Nowhere in Respondent’s history of nursing was there any record of bad patient care or any medical errors. Besides, Plaintiff attests that the Board made no attempt to ascertain the veracity of the allegations made against her. Instead, the Board’s first step was to order Plaintiff to a Section 820 examination.

Plaintiff further states that the mere fact that the Board sent her an Order compelling her to undergo a Section 820 examination, was an excess of the Board’s powers. As already stated, the Board is bound to first resort to less intrusive means, before subjecting licentiates to Section 820 examinations.

Plaintiff further asserts that Loretta Melby will need to be examined for making the said averments.

Plaintiff was asked several times to submit to the exam, but she failed to comply and was therefore placed on administrative leave During the meeting on November 6, 2020, Plaintiff received a suspension letter indicating that Plaintiff was placed on an unpaid investigatory suspension to pave the way for an investigation against me. There was no mention of the dismissal on August 28, 2020, or any form of acknowledgment of the clearance note submitted on September 4, 2020. (Exhibit 14- Clearance Note). Much to Plaintiff’s dismay, she was instead placed on suspension for a Level Two medication error for improper disposal of a medication vial. (Exhibit 23- Plaintiff placed on Level 2 Suspension; Exhibit 24- Pay Deposit During Level 2 Suspension). As a nurse with over ten years’ experience, Plaintiff asserts that there was no actual medication error. This is a clear act of perjury on Kaiser and an act of malicious intent to cover up the illegal suspension on August 28, 2020. Plaintiff knows this because a level 2 medication error standardly does not carry a suspension disciplinary action. (Exhibit 2- Psychologist’s Notes- Nov. 2020)

In a subsequent meeting on November 10th, there was no mention of the August 28, 2020, incident. During that November 10th meeting, the management focused on getting Plaintiff to sign the suspension letter, or ultimately face escalating disciplinary actions that would lead to immediate termination. Knowing that their actions were wrong both legally and morally, Plaintiff continued to refuse to sign any suspension letters, as it was evident this was a sly cover-up for the verbal dismissal on August 28, 2020. Plaintiff’s suspension letter was then increased to level 3. (Exhibit 29- Increase of Suspension to level 3; Exhibit 30- Level 3 Suspension letter). Despite being pressured, bullied, intimidated and being the recipient of intense fear tactics to sign the suspension letter during the November 10th meeting, Plaintiff still refused. Due to this, the management had targeted and effectively terminated Plaintiff’s employment as of November 10, 2020. (Exhibit 11- Email to HR- September 1, 2020; Exhibit 12- Second Email to HR; Exhibit 15- Email to Poetter regarding returning to work).

As a result of failure to comply, Plaintiff was subject to termination but before that could occur, she submitted her resignation. Plaintiff submitted her resignation and surrendered her license out of frustration. The Board’s Order compelling her to a Section 820 examination, coupled with her case in Court, have occasioned Respondent extensive emotional and/or mental harm and suffering. (Exhibit 16- Email from Sarah Poetter accepting Plaintiff’s resignation; Exhibit 17- Email regarding mental health clearance; Exhibit 55- Termination Letter).
After Plaintiff separated from Kaiser, she began sending disturbing and threatening emails to various staff members. The emails referenced her being in a crisis, being psychotic, needing therapy, and having extreme rage. Plaintiff also threatened revenge against the former manager and was asked several times to cease from further communication with Kaiser staff.

 

The psychologist’s notes showed clearly that based on Plaintiff’s harassment, abuse at work, and her unexplainable car accident, her fear of black magic was valid and was based on her cultural/religious belief. (Exhibit 2- Psychologist’s Notes- Nov. 2020). The psychologist further stated that Plaintiff’s thought process was within the normal limits, and that her reaction was normal based on the circumstances that she was subjected to. (See also Exhibit 38- Psychologist Notes- December 29, 2020; Exhibit 40- Email to Sarah Poetter regarding Clearance Note).

Further, after Kaiser received the psychologist notes on December 29, 2020, the HR sent Plaintiff a letter. (Exhibit 42- HR Response to clearance note). In the response, the HR refused to acknowledge the observations of the psychologist and instead determined not to send Plaintiff back to her work.

Plaintiff further asserts that the distress emails were sent in November 2020, after the last meeting with the HR on November 10, 2020, which caused Plaintiff so much distress that she was forced to seek therapy to cope with the mental anguish and emotional trauma. (Exhibit 26- Plaintiff schedules therapy; Exhibit 27- Therapy appointment; Exhibit 28- Therapy appointment; Exhibit 31- Therapy appointment letter; Exhibit 32- Therapy appointment letter).

Plaintiff further asserts that the BRN was notified that the chosen psychiatrist, appeared to be confused and objected to be evaluated by a confused individual to which no response was received and BRN proceeded to revoke Plaintiff’s RN license.

It is therefore Plaintiff’s assertion that the vileness of this statement goes to show just how racist and evil these people are. They caused the distress then to use it to shame her. A truly unstable person will not survive this level of psychological assault and mental anguish.

 

 

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