PHILADELPHIA - A fired nurse's allegations that his former employers violated the Pennsylvania Medical Care Availability are time-barred, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed on May 29.
Jared Kreiss sued Main Line Health Inc., Main Line Hospitals Inc. and Paoli Hospital, where Kreiss was a nurse for more than 10 years, in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas. That court ruled in favor of the defendants, stating that the Kreiss’ retaliatory discharge lawsuit is time-barred. While Kreiss appealed TO the Superior Court, it affirmed the decision.
Kreiss filed the challenge stating that the 180-day statute of limitations didn’t impact his lawsuit considering the MCARE Act was put into effect to provide “protections and remedies” of the Whistleblower Law, not for an injured employee. The court pointed out “at no time during the discussion at trial did Kreiss assert the 180-day limitations period in the Whistleblower Law was not incorporated into Section 13.308 of the MCARE Act.”
Kreiss filed the lawsuit 181 days after he was fired, but he insisted he filed it on the 180th day. He said he was fired on April 24, 2014, and pointed out he was told the day before that a firing would occur, but that he wasn’t actually fired that day. The lower court ruled that the 180-day clock started ticking on April 23, and the Superior Court agreed, as both Hughes and the HR manager said Kreiss was fired on April 23. Kreiss also testified that he was told he was fired on April 23.
Considering this and other factors, the court concurred that his lawsuit was time-barred.
Judge Paula Francisco Ott authored the opinion. Judges Victor Stabile and Maria McLaughlin concurred.
Kreiss' good stance with the hospital turned sour after Paoli’s vice president of administration Doug Hughes said he wanted to speak with him about a joke Kreiss made to a physician’s assistant at the hospital.
When Kreiss got on site for the meeting, he realized his entry badge didn’t work. Once in the meeting with Hughes and the HR manager, Kreiss admitted to making an inappropriate comment but insisted he didn’t mean it. After the meeting, Kreiss contacted Hughes to try to explain his story further. Hughes then told him he could resign. Kreiss refused and Hughes fired him. Kreiss appealed and attempted to get his job back was denied. He followed up with a lawsuit.