Federal court denies appeal by nursing home owner who claimed retaliation by regulator

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An Ohio federal appeals court dismissed a case where the owner of five nursing homes alleged the state surveyor scheduled unusual inspections to retaliate against criticism.

In an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit sided with the lower court's rejection of a complaint brought by Roger King, president of the non-profit association Ohio Academy of Nursing Homes, against Kurt Hass, bureau chief of long-term care and quality at the Ohio Department of Health. King also owns several companies that operate five nursing homes in Ohio.

 

In 2000, King attended a public meeting on proposed nursing home licensure regulations and criticized inspectors "rather crudely," according to the court's decision. King alleged that Haas felt personally slighted and retaliated by arranging "unexpected, unannounced, unusual and uncommonly large and comprehensive surveys" at four of King's nursing facilities.

 

The district court partially denied Haas's motion for judgment on the pleading, but granted his motion for summary judgment on the remaining claims. The district court also imposed a $3,800 sanction on King and the association for discovery abuse. The appeals court agreed with these decisions.