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Rhodes v. Sutter Health

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 11, 2013

BETH A. RHODES, M.D., Plaintiff,
v.
SUTTER HEALTH, a California Corporation, SUTTER GOULD MEDICAL FOUNDATION, a California Corporation, THE GOULD MEDICAL GROUP, INC., a California Corporation, Defendants

Decided: April 10, 2013.

Page 1259

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1260

For Beth A. Rhodes, M.D., Plaintiff: Stephen M. Murphy, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Offices of Stephen M. Murphy, San Francisco, CA; Stephen James Purtill, Law Offices of Stephen J. Purtill, San Francisco, CA.

For Sutter Health, Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, Defendants: Maureen E. McClain, LEAD ATTORNEY, Littler Mendelson, San Francisco, CA; Maiko Nakarai-Kanivas, Littler Mendelson, PC, San Francisco, CA.

For Gould Medical Group, Inc., Defendant: Carla J. Hartley, LEAD ATTORNEY, Benjamin J. Schnayerson, Dillingham & Murphy, LLP, San Francisco, CA.

OPINION

WILLIAM B. SHUBB, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Page 1261

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND TO STRIKE

Plaintiff Beth A. Rhodes brought this action against Sutter Health, Sutter Gould Medical Foundation (" SGMF" ), and The Gould Medical Group, Inc. (" GMG" ) alleging unlawful retaliation, constructive discharge, gender harassment, gender discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, violation of California Business and Professions Code section 2056, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress (" IIED" ).

Presently before the court is SGMF's motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's eleventh cause of action for IIED pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Also before the court is SGMF's renewed motion to strike pursuant to Rule 56(c)(4). For the complete factual background of this action, see the court's February 1, 2013, Order. (Docket No. 112.) The court recounts here only those facts relevant to plaintiff's remaining claim for IIED.

After plaintiff, a radiologist employed by GMG and working alongside SGMF staff, received a letter from the chairman of her department stating that she had acted unprofessionally in a meeting and that any further unprofessional behavior would be grounds for termination, several incidents involving plaintiff and SGMF staff transpired. [1] First, a nurse eavesdropped on plaintiff and a patient. (Purtill Decl. Ex. C (" Edge Dep." ) at 298:3-15 (Docket Nos. 85-3-86-1); Ex. 53 to Edge Dep. at Sealed 28-30 (Docket No. 82).) Second, nurse Kathy Davis allegedly purposefully harmed a

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patient by failing to hold pressure at a breast biopsy site for fifteen minutes. (Rhodes Decl. ¶ ¶ 2-3 (Docket No. 84).) Davis also allegedly changed the pain scale score that the same patient had reported from " zero" to " one." (Id. ¶ 2.)

Third, technician Carolyn Plante allegedly intentionally performed a " Crown-Rump Length Measurement" incorrectly. (Id. ¶ 6.) Plaintiff alleges that Plante and Davis did these things so that plaintiff would have an inappropriate outburst in response and be fired. (Id. ¶ ¶ 2, 6.) As a result of these incidents, plaintiff felt anger, outrage, anxiety, and humiliation. (Id. ¶ ¶ 2, 7.) She internalized those feelings and alleges that they were a substantial factor in causing her to go on medical disability on or about December 16, 2010. (Id. ¶ ¶ 4, 8.)

Roberta Edge is the SGMF Director of Imaging. (Edge Dep. 21:15-16.) She supervises both Davis and Plante and was made aware of the two incidents involving those employees and plaintiff. (Id. at 239:1-17, 326:9-327:25.)

On February 1, 2013, the court granted summary judgment in SGMF's favor as to plaintiff's claims for gender harassment in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (" FEHA" ), sex discrimination in violation of FEHA, retaliation in violation of FEHA, failure to prevent discrimination in violation of FEHA, and constructive discharge in violation of public policy. (Feb. 1 Order at 25 (Docket No. 112).) It declined to rule on SGMF's motion as to plaintiff's eleventh claim for IIED until SGMF had the opportunity to depose Carol Frazier and file an amended reply, if it chose to do so. (Id. at 25-26.) SGMF has now deposed Frazier and filed its amended reply, (Docket No. 118), along with a renewed motion ...


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