Nursing home is victorious in 'retaliation' court claim

Share this content:
A woman hired as an occupational therapist says Genesis used her background check improperly.
A woman hired as an occupational therapist says Genesis used her background check improperly.

A Texas nursing home has prevailed in a lawsuit that claimed it had retaliated against a resident after family members complained about her care. 

The family levied allegations that included breach of contract and retaliation. However, the court found the plaintiffs' expert report deficient, effectively destroying much of their case.

The resident, Yevgeniya Kumets, was admitted to Trinity Care Center, operated by PM Management-Trinity NC LLC, after having a stroke, according to court papers. The family alleged that inadequate care at the center caused the resident to have another stroke, and that Trinity discharged her to retaliate after family members voiced objections to her treatment.

The trial court dismissed the claims related to negligent care, but not the retaliation claim, saying it did not fall under the “healthcare liability claim” that had been dismissed due to the deficient expert report.

The Texas Supreme Court subsequently ruled that a claim for retaliation or discrimination is not always a healthcare liability claim, but in this case, it was. 

“We do not decide in this case that a claim for retaliation or discrimination under the Health & Safety Code is always an HCLC, or even that the Kumetses' claim for breach of fiduciary duty was an HCLC,” the opinion reads. In this case, however, the retaliation claim was “based on the same underlying facts” as the other claims, and
the courts should have dismissed the claim along with the others.

The Texas Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals' judgment respecting the retaliation claim, affirmed the remainder of the judgment and remanded the case to trial court with orders to dismiss. It also ruled that the family pay “appropriate” attorneys' fees and costs of court for the provider.