Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bodenstab v. County of Cook

June 22, 2009

PHILIP C. BODENSTAB, M.D., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
COUNTY OF COOK, LACY L. THOMAS, AND BRADLEYLANGER, M.D., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 05 C 281-William J. Hibbler, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Manion, Circuit Judge.

ARGUED FEBRUARY 12, 2009

Before EASTERBROOK, Chief Judge, and FLAUM and MANION, Circuit Judges.

Philip Bodenstab sued Cook County and Cook County Hospital's Chief Operating Officer, Lacy Thom as, and M edical Director, Bradley Langer, after he was fired from his position as an anesthesiologist at Cook County Hospital (now known as Stroger Hospital). Bodenstab alleged he was fired in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), and for exercising his First Amendment rights. Bodenstab also sought to overturn the state administrative decision upholding his firing and argued that the termination proceedings violated his due process rights. The defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that they were justified in firing Bodenstab because he had threatened to kill his supervisor and co-workers. The district court granted the defendants summary judgment and Bodenstab appeals. We affirm.

I.

Dr. Philip Bodenstab began working as an anesthesiolo-gist at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois in 1993. On February 22, 2002, Bodenstab telephoned a friend, Jennifer Wengeler, who lived in Seattle, Washington. According to Wengeler, Bodenstab (who had recently been diagnosed with a cancerous lesion on his lip) told her that he was going to the Mayo Clinic and that if the cancer had metastasized, he was going to kill his supervisor, Dr. Winnie, and other co-workers. According to Wengeler, Bodenstab further stated that it was possible he might die in the ensuing gun battle with police. Wengeler stated that out of concern for the safety of Bodenstab and his co-workers, she contacted the Chicago Police and the Seattle FBI office.

The Chicago Police and the FBI started an investigation into the threats and alerted Cook County Hospital Medical Director (and defendant) Bradley Langer. They told Langer that the death threats were credible. Defendant Lacy Thomas also reviewed the police reports, and later participated in the decision to fire Bodenstab.

Rather than firing Bodenstab immediately, the hospital administratively suspended Bodenstab, with pay, and directed him to make an appointment with a forensic psychiatrist for a fitness of duty evaluation. Bodenstab refused. Eventually, Bodenstab and the hospital agreed that he would obtain treatment at the Professional Renewal Center ("PRC") in Lawrence, Kansas. Bodenstab completed a five-day multi-disciplinary assessment at the PRC on August 24, 2002. The multi-disciplinary assessment concluded that Bodenstab suffered from paranoid and narcissistic personality features and occupational and interpersonal stressors. After the conclusion of the assessment, on August 26, 2002, Bodenstab elected to be admitted to the PRC's "Intensive Day Treatment Program" and he continued this treatment for approximately three months.

Upon Bodenstab's discharge from treatment in late November 2002, the PRC provided Cook County with a Treatment Discharge Summary. The Discharge Summary stated that Bodenstab was fit to return to practice, but not "to a work situation that is emotionally, politically, or interpersonally charged, as such an environment would likely strain his ability to work with others in a consensual and cooperative manner." The Discharge Summary also recommended that Bodenstab continue to be monitored by a psychiatrist and enter into a longer psychotherapy program, but it appears Bodenstab did neither.

After Bodenstab's discharge from the PRC, Cook County asked its psychiatrist, Dr. Deepak Kapoor, to interview Bodenstab. Kapoor was concerned that Bodenstab exhibited paranoia and interpersonally charged issues and Kapoor felt concerned for his own safety. On January 17, 2003, the hospital informed Bodenstab that it would hold a pre-disciplinary hearing concerning his behavior. The notice specified that Bodenstab had been accused of a major infraction-threatening to kill the department co-chairperson, Dr. Winnie, and four or five co-workers. Defendant Thomas presided over the pre-disciplinary hearing. Following the hearing, Thomas concluded that Bodenstab's conduct warranted discharge. Bodenstab appealed the decision to an independent Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer affirmed the decision to terminate Bodenstab, stating that hospital management appropriately did not want to risk placing Bodenstab's co-workers in harm's way.

After he was fired, Bodenstab sued Cook County, Lacy Thomas, and Bradley Langer (hereinafter "Cook County"). He sought to overturn the administrative decision terminating him, and also alleged that his firing violated the First Amendment, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and his due process rights. The district court granted the defendants summary judgment and Bodenstab appeals.

II.

On appeal, Bodenstab challenges the district court's grant of summary judgment on each of the claims he presented. We consider each claim in turn, "bearing in mind that we review a district court's grant of summary judgment de novo and view the evidence in the light most favorable to the appellant." Hancock v. Potter, 531 F.3d 474, 478 (7th Cir. 2008).

A. ADA Claims

First we consider Bodenstab's ADA claims. Bodenstab presented several theories for recovery under the ADA, including disparate treatment, failure to accommodate, and retaliation. The district court granted Cook County summary judgment on each of these claims because, among other reasons, it ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.