8th Cir. Rejects Dr.’s Grab-Bag Retaliation Suit

Dr. Alaa Elkharwily lost his job at Albert Lea Clinic, but he didn’t go quietly.  He sued the clinic and eight related organizations and individuals alleging just about everything a terminated doctor can allege in Minnesota: defamation and violation of the Minn. Vulnerable Adults Act, EMTALA, the Minn. Whistleblower Act, and the False Claims Act.  The defendants’ case was simple: Dr. E. was forced to resign because of poor performance.

The district court dismissed Dr. E’s claims for defamation and MVAA violations and his EMTALA claim that he was terminated for refusing to transfer a patient.  It gave the defendants summary judgment on his remaining claims.

On May 20 the Eighth Cir. disposed of Dr. E’s appeal, rejecting all his claims.  The MVAA requires an immediate report of a vulnerable adult, and Dr. E. hadn’t made one.  Any defamatory statements were covered by the peer review privilege.  His EMTALA claim was contradicted by his written report to the Minn. Bd. of Med. Practice.

Regarding the claims of retaliation under the Minn. Whistleblower Act, EMTALA, and the False Claims Act, the appeals court ruled that the defense had “articulated a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for terminating Dr. Elkharwily’s employment; namely his poor job performance.”  So the summary judgment was affirmed.

This is one case where the client can’t blame his lawyer: he represented himself.

The case is Elkharwily v. Mayo Holding Co. et al., 2016 BL 161130 (8th Cir. 2016).

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