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McCammon-Chase v. Circle Family Care

July 23, 2010

NATHALIE MCCAMMON-CHASE, M.D., PLAINTIFF,
v.
CIRCLE FAMILY CARE, INC., AND DR. BRUCE PEOPLES, M.D. IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Geraldine Soat Brown United States Magistrate Judge

Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Nathalie McCammon-Chase, M.D. ("McCammon-Chase") filed a complaint against defendants Circle Family Care, Inc. ("CFC") and Dr. Bruce Peoples, M.D. ("Peoples") alleging sex discrimination, interference with rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. ("FMLA"), and pendent state law claims for breach of contract, violation of the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, conversion, and intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED"). (Compl.) [Dkt 5.] Defendants have moved to dismiss three of the counts, namely, the claims for interference with rights under the FMLA (Count I), for conversion (Count V), and for IIED (Count VI) pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). (Defs.' Mot.) [Dkt 30.] The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge. [Dkt 21.] For the reasons set out below, defendants' motion is granted.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND*fn1

A. McCammon-Chase's Employment Contract with CFC

McCammon-Chase was employed by CFC as the Director of CFC's Maternal Child Health Program. (Compl. ¶ 5.) She was supervised by the CEO of CFC, defendant Bruce Peoples, who made decisions regarding her employment. (Id. ¶¶ 7, 82.) Upon her hiring, she entered into a written employment contract with CFC which was effective from approximately September 1, 2007 through August 31, 2009. (Id. ¶¶ 11, 12; id., Ex. B.) The contract contained a 90-day notice period of intent to terminate the contract at an earlier date. (Id. ¶ 12; id., Ex. B.)

Pursuant to the parties' contract, McCammon-Chase was due to earn quarterly bonuses based on the number of deliveries she performed, and the bonuses were to be paid three weeks after the end of each quarter. (Id. ¶¶ 14, 15, 17, 72; id., Ex. B.) McCammon-Chase earned several quarters worth of delivery bonuses totaling more than $50,000 plus interest, but has not been paid any of those bonuses since December 2008. (Id. ¶¶ 16-20.)

Also pursuant to the contract, CFC was required to reimburse McCammon-Chase for certain conference, licensing and compliance fees incurred. (Id. ¶¶ 21, 72; id., Ex. B.) McCammon-Chase incurred such fees during her employment, but was not reimbursed for those expenses. (Id. ¶¶ 22-26.)

Under the contract, CFC was also required to provide additional medical provider support or, in the absence of such support, to pay McCammon-Chase $50 per hour for her performance of back-up and on-call coverage. (Id. ¶¶ 27, 72; id., Ex. B.) During a three-month period in which her business partner was on maternity leave, McCammon-Chase covered all regular, on-call and back-up shifts. (Id. ¶ 76.) Under that provision, McCammon-Chase claims she is owed more than $400,000 for the on-call and back-up shifts she worked, but has never been paid for such work. (Id. ¶¶ 30, 31.) McCammon-Chase has demanded payment on a number of occasions for all of the compensation she believes she is due, but has not been paid. (Id. ¶¶ 73, 74, 80.)

B. CFC's denial of McCammon-Chase's Requests for Sick Leave

During McCammon-Chase's employment with CFC, almost all of her sick leave requests were denied. (Id. ¶¶ 34, 36, 37.) On around July 2, 2009, after being exposed to a patient suffering from the swine flu and then manifesting swine flu symptoms herself, McCammon-Chase advised defendants that pursuant to hospital policy, she would be taking sick time to isolate herself and avoid infecting patients and others. (Id. ¶¶ 39-40, 78.) Peoples instructed her to return to work or be fired. (Id. ¶¶ 41, 78.)

McCammon-Chase filed a charge with the EEOC on July 27, 2009, and received a right to sue letter on approximately August 31, 2009. (Id.¶ 9; id., Ex. A.)

C. McCammon-Chase's Resignation

In May, 2009, several months prior to the incident described above in which she was denied sick leave, McCammon-Chase tendered her resignation. (Id. ¶ 45.) Her resignation letter stated that she would fulfill the time remaining under her contract with CFC. (Id.) McCammon-Chase alleges that she tendered her resignation because defendants breached her contract, refused to pay her wages when due, compromised the physical and emotional safety of the staff, patients, and herself, and refused to provide leave. (Id.)

After receiving notice of her resignation, Peoples told McCammon-Chase's staff that they were no longer to report to McCammon-Chase and instead would report to another CFC employee who, McCammon-Chase alleges, was not qualified for the job. (Id. ¶¶ 46, 83.) Peoples also instructed CFC staff to cease having any communications with McCammon-Chase regarding her department. (Id. ¶ 46.)

McCammon-Chase continued to work past her announced resignation date. (Id. ¶ 47.) On approximately September 3, 2009, several days after the expiration of her employment contract, Peoples terminated McCammon-Chase's employment as she was filling out patient charts, and had her escorted out of the building by security. (Id.)

LEGAL STANDARD

"To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ___ U.S. ___, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give ...


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