Psychiatrist sues Philadelphia mental health facility over breach of contract

By Jon Campisi | Oct 31, 2011

A New Jersey man who was contracted to provide psychiatric services to a Philadelphia mental health facility, and who claims he was let go in violation of his contract, has filed a federal complaint against the organization and two of its directors.

Conshohocken, Pa. lawyers Julia E. Gabis and Mandy C. Rosenblum filed the civil action Oct. 27 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Joel Carr of Maple Shade, N.J.

The defendants listed in the lawsuit are the Philadelphia Mental Health Center, and Kerey Ruggiero, identified as either its chief operating officer or executive director, and Michael J. Taylor, another director of the organization.

According to the complaint, Carr entered into a contract agreement with the mental health facility on March 19, 2010, under the terms of which he would provide psychiatric services to the organization’s clients at a rate of $135 per hour.

Carr was also to be paid for vacation time, continuing education, PMHC holidays, and he was to be reimbursed for his professional liability insurance and health insurance, the suit states.

The lawsuit claims that PMHC terminated Carr’s contract, effective immediately, on Aug. 6, 2010, although the plaintiff maintains that the contract stipulated that he was to be given 90 days notice if he were to be let go “for cause,” which would be for specific reasons stated in the contract, such as a felony conviction or if his professional license had lapsed.

Instead, Carr maintains through his civil action that company officials did not terminate him “for cause,” as was stipulated in the contract, that that they furthermore got rid of him effective immediately, meaning he was paid nothing, and received no reimbursements, for a 90-day period following the Aug. 6, 2010 termination notice.

Carr was also not paid for any accrued and unused vacation time as per the stipulations of his contract, the suit claims.

The lawsuit alleges violations of Pennsylvania’s Wage Payment and Collection Law and breach of contract.

Carr demands judgment in the form of declaratory judgment stating that the facility breached the contract, as well as compensation for unpaid wages, wage supplements, benefits, interest and legal relief.

The plaintiff has demanded a jury trial.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-06721-PD.

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