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Miller v. Paris Community Hospital Family Medical Center

July 13, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge


This case is before the court for ruling on the Motion for Summary Judgment (#24) and the Motion for Leave to Supplement the Motion for Summary Judgment (#38) filed by Defendant, Paris Community Hospital/Family Medical Center (PCH). This court has carefully reviewed the parties' arguments and the documents presented by the parties. Following this careful and thorough review, PCH's Motion for Summary Judgment (#24) and Motion for Leave to Supplement (#38) are DENIED.


Plaintiff, Douglas L. Miller, was hired by North American Lighting Inc. (NAL) on March 3, 2003, as an operator in assembly. From the outset of his employment with NAL, Plaintiff was aware of NAL's drug testing policy, including the fact that he would be tested for illegal drugs such as marijuana, and a positive test would result in discharge.

On November 22, 2004, Plaintiff was selected for a random drug test. Plaintiff testified at his deposition that he knew that one of the drugs being tested for was marijuana. He also testified that he had no complaints about the way the drug test was administered or the fact that he was selected for the test. The results of this drug test were negative. Plaintiff testified that he was next selected for a random drug test in August 2005, but there is no record of the results of any drug test in August 2005.

On March 20, 2006, Plaintiff was selected for a drug test and submitted a urine sample. Plaintiff testified that, when he was in line for the drug test, his supervisor, Doug Starkey, came and moved him to the front of the line because Starkey needed him back at work right away. Plaintiff testified that he could not explain how that interfered with the drug testing process. Plaintiff testified that he provided a list of all of the medications he was taking at that time including Avenza, which was morphine, and Norco. Plaintiff testified that he expected to test positive for opiates because of the pain medication he was taking.

Susan Livvix of PCH collected the urine specimens for drug testing on March 20, 2006. PCH had a verbal agreement with NAL to conduct drug testing of employees for NAL. NAL requested that non-DOT drug screens be performed.*fn2 Livvix testified at her deposition, however, that, in performing non-DOT drug screens, PCH utilizes DOT guidelines in securing the collection site and providing for the integrity of the specimen. Livvix testified that, in terms of securing the facility where the sample was given, there was blue dye in the toilet. Livvix testified that there was no way to shut off the water supply to the sink and the toilet but that the "sample never gets out of sight of the donor or the collector at the same time." Livvix also testified that she had employees wash their hands "after" providing the sample and did not provide employees with a writing which set forth the steps of the drug collection process.

Plaintiff testified that the procedure on March 20, 2006 was not any different from the procedure for the drug test on November 22, 2004. Plaintiff testified that he would not say that the collection procedure that he underwent on March 20, 2006, was flawed. He stated, however, that he did not see the woman overseeing the drug test seal the urine specimen. He acknowledged that he signed a certification that day which stated, "I certify that I provided my urine specimen to the collector; that I have not adulterated it in any manner; each specimen bottle used was sealed with a tamper-evident seal in my presence; and that the information provided on this form and on the label affixed to each specimen bottle is correct." Plaintiff testified that he did not read the certification before he signed it. Plaintiff submitted an affidavit, dated January 22, 2009, which stated that, on March 20, 2006, the drug tester did not tell him to wash his hands before providing the urine sample and he did not wash his hands. Plaintiff stated that the water to the sink and toilet had not been shut off, there was no blue dye in the toilet, and the toilet lid and the sink had not been taped in any way.

The urine sample provided by Plaintiff was tested at PCH and showed a positive result for THC and for opiates. PCH forwarded to specimen to LabCorp for GC/MS analysis. LabCorp confirmed the presence of opiates and THC in Plaintiff's urine specimen. However, Dr. William Lynn, the LabCorp Director, testified that LabCorp's expectation is that urine specimens forwarded to LabCorp for analysis are "collected in accordance with DOT standards."

Plaintiff testified that Mr. Gilbert from PCH, who identified himself as the medical director, called him regarding the results of the drug test. Plaintiff testified that Gilbert asked him about his medications and Plaintiff told him the dosage he was taking, the name of the doctor who prescribed the medications, the pharmacy where he got the prescriptions filled and their phone numbers. Plaintiff testified that Gilbert asked him why he might test positive for THC and Plaintiff told Gilbert he "had no idea." Plaintiff testified that he knew that THC was associated with the usage of marijuana. Plaintiff testified at his deposition that he last used marijuana about 26 years ago, when he was 18 or 19 years old.

Dr. Daniel Gilbert testified that he was the medical review officer for PCH. Dr. Gilbert testified that PCH followed "the DOT guidelines when it comes to collection" of urine samples given as part of a drug screen. He testified that he contacted Plaintiff regarding the results of Plaintiff's drug test. Dr. Gilbert then contacted Plaintiff's pharmacy and verified that Plaintiff had a current prescription for each medication. Dr. Gilbert, on behalf of PCH, communicated Plaintiff's positive test result for THC to NAL. Dr. Gilbert did not report a positive test result for opiates because he had confirmed Plaintiff's prescriptions for pain medication.

On March 27, 2006, NAL terminated Plaintiff's employment after it received the report of the positive test for THC. Mark Pitchford, NAL's human resources manager, testified that any time the hospital certifies the presence of illegal drugs in an employee's system, the employee's employment is terminated. NAL submitted documentation showing that every employee who tested positive for drugs was terminated. Plaintiff testified that the positive test for THC was wrong because he had not used marijuana. He testified, however, that he was not making any claim that NAL knew the test result was wrong or that NAL was not entitled to rely on the report of the positive drug test. Plaintiff testified that he requested a copy of the positive drug screen results from PCH and a copy was provided to him.


Om October 25, 2007, Plaintiff filed his Complaint (#1) against NAL and PCH. Plaintiff alleged that NAL violated the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Plaintiff also alleged that PCH negligently performed the drug test and sought damages ...

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