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Robinson v. Renown Regional Medical Center

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 23, 2018




         I. SUMMARY

         Plaintiff Shaun Robinson has three claims remaining after the Court's resolution of Defendant Renown Health's (“Renown”)[1] motion to dismiss: gender discrimination (claim two), harassment based on gender (claim five), and unequal pay (claim six). (ECF No. 77.) The parties have both moved for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 68, 85.) The Court has reviewed the briefs relating to these motions. (ECF Nos. 76, 81, 87, 88.[2]) For the reasons discussed herein, the Court grants Defendant's motion and denies Plaintiff's motion.


         Plaintiff Shaun Robinson, a Caucasian man, obtained a license as a Certified Nursing Assistant (“CNA”) from the Nevada State Board of Nursing on October 1, 2013. (ECF No. 85-3 at 8.) On November 18, 2013, Plaintiff was offered a CNA position in Renown's Telemetry 8 unit after interviewing with Alma Medina, a female and the Nurse Manager for Renown's Telemetry 8 unit. (ECF No. 68-5 at 1-4; ECF No. 85-13 at 3.) Medina made the decision to hire Plaintiff and was involved in Defendant's decision to terminate Plaintiff's employment less than a year later, on October 16, 2014. (ECF No. 85-13 at 3, 8-9.)

         Under Renown's policies, CNAs serve as assistants to a licensed nurse; they are required to timely and accurately communicate with the nurse assigned to the CNA's patients. (ECF No. 85-13 at 3; ECF No. 85-3 at 18; ECF No. 85-14; ECF No. 85-16.) CNAs are also required to record the patients' vital signs in Renown's medical records management system referred to as EPIC. (ECF No. 85-13 at 3.) The nurses in turn rely on the information entered in EPIC to make decisions about patient care, and “if vital signs are entered incorrectly, the consequences to the patient could be extremely dangerous.” (Id.)

         In Renown's Telemetry 8 unit, CNAs are required to record patient's vitals every four hours. (ECF No. 85-13 at 3.) During Plaintiff's shifts, vitals were taken three times a day for normal patients-at 8:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. (ECF No. 85-3 at 34.)

         In Plaintiff's 90-Day Introductory Evaluation (“Evaluation”), he was given a “needs development” rating in 7 of the 9 areas covered in the Evaluation. (ECF No. 85-21.) Plaintiff did not agree with the Evaluation and provided a response to demonstrate his disagreement. (ECF No. 85-22.)

         In late August 2014, Allie Saunders, a female supervisor and Charge Nurse, informed Medina that Plaintiff failed to follow Saunders' instructions relating to a patient who was a high fall risk, required assistance getting out of bed, and required turning every two hours. (ECF No. 85-13 at 5.) That same day, Medina also learned from a float nurse that Plaintiff failed to record any vital signs for one of that nurse's patients. (Id.) As a result, Plaintiff was given a Notice of Corrective Action on September 9, 2014 (“the Corrective Action”). (Id.; ECF No. 85-40.) Plaintiff disagreed with the issues raised in the Corrective Action. (ECF No. 85-3 at 31.)

         On October 1, 2014, Registered Nurse (“RN”) Krista Stryker, a female, reported to Saunders that the medical records of Stryker's assigned patient who was being monitored for sepsis reflected that Plaintiff had switched the patient's noon vital signs with the 4:00 p.m. vital signs. (ECF No. 85-13 at 6-7; ECF No. 85-39; ECF No. 85-48 at 11.) In particular, Stryker had noticed that Plaintiff had flopped the patient's noon vitals with the patient's 4:00 pm. vitals; Plaintiff did not make any notes to explain the reason for the switch. (ECF No. 85-48 at 11-12.) That morning, during the CNA bedside report Stryker had directed Plaintiff to take the patient's temperature, which he did. (ECF No. 85-3 at 34.) In the midafternoon, Stryker called Plaintiff to ask him why he had not entered the patient's noon vitals, and he verbally relayed the noon vitals to Stryker. (Id.). Plaintiff initially entered the patient's noon temperature of 100.9 degrees at 4:44 p.m. (ECF No. 49; ECF No. 7; ECF No. 85-52; ECF No. 85-53.) About two hours later, at 6:13 p.m., Plaintiff changed the noon temperature from 100.9 degrees to 97 degrees. (Id.) At the same time, Plaintiff input 100.9 degrees as the patient's 4:00 p.m. temperature. (Id.) Plaintiff failed to include any explanation for these changes in EPIC as required.[3] (ECF No. 85-3 at 35; ECF No. 85-13 at 7.) Plaintiff asserted that he made a mistake in recording the vitals and decided to correct his mistake, and he tried to contact Stryker “and used the chain of command[] but was not successful.”[4] (ECF No. 85-13 at 7-8; ECF No. 87 at 7-8.)

         During Plaintiff's next scheduled shift on October 8, 2014, Medina met with Plaintiff concerning the October 1, 2014 incident. (ECF No. 85-13 at 7-8.) After their discussion, Medina suspended Plaintiff pending further investigation. (Id.) On October 16, 2014, Plaintiff's employment was terminated for falsification of company records and incompetence in job performance. (ECF No. 85-67.)


         “The purpose of summary judgment is to avoid unnecessary trials when there is no dispute as to the facts before the court.” Nw. Motorcycle Ass'n v. U.S. Dep't of Agric., 18 F.3d 1468, 1471 (9th Cir. 1994). Summary judgment is appropriate when the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits “show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). An issue is “genuine” if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis on which a reasonable fact-finder could find for the nonmoving party and a dispute is “material” if it could affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Where reasonable minds could differ on the material facts at issue, however, summary judgment is not appropriate. See Id. at 250-51. “The amount of evidence necessary to raise a genuine issue of material fact is enough ‘to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial.'” Aydin Corp. v. Loral Corp., 718 F.2d 897, 902 (9th Cir. 1983) (quoting First Nat'l Bank v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 288-89 (1968)). In evaluating a summary judgment motion, a court views all facts and draws all inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Kaiser Cement Corp. v. Fishbach & Moore, Inc., 793 F.2d 1100, 1103 (9th Cir. 1986).

         The moving party bears the burden of showing that there are no genuine issues of material fact. Zoslaw v. MCA Distrib. Corp., 693 F.2d 870, 883 (9th Cir. 1982). Once the moving party satisfies Rule 56's requirements, the burden shifts to the party resisting the motion to “set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256. The nonmoving party “may not rely on denials in the pleadings but must produce specific evidence, through affidavits or admissible discovery material, to show that the dispute exists, ” Bhan v. NME Hosps., Inc., 929 F.2d 1404, 1409 (9th Cir. 1991), and “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Orr v. Bank of Am., NT & SA, 285 F.3d 764, 783 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)). “The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

         Further, “when parties submit cross-motions for summary judgment, ‘[e]ach motion must be considered on its own merits.” Fair Hous. Council of Riverside Cty., Inc. v. Riverside Two, 249 F.3d 1132, 1136 (9th Cir. 2001) (quoting William W. Schwarzer, et al., The Analysis and Decision of Summary Judgment Motions, 139 F.R.D. 441, 499 (Feb. 1992)). “In fulfilling its duty to review each cross-motion separately, the court must review the evidence submitted in support of each cross-motion.” Id.


         Plaintiff seeks summary judgment on two of his three remaining claims-gender discrimination and gender harassment. (ECF No. 68.) Defendant moves for summary judgment on all three remaining claims-gender discrimination, gender harassment, and discrimination in compensation. (ECF No. 85.) Plaintiff did not respond to Defendant's motion with respect to his Equal Pay Act claim. (ECF No. 87.) The Court agrees with Defendant that summary judgment on Plaintiff's Equal Pay Act claim is appropriate because Defendant has offered undisputed evidence that Plaintiff was not ...

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