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Andrew Arnold v. Beth Abraham Health Services

June 16, 2011

ANDREW ARNOLD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BETH ABRAHAM HEALTH SERVICES, INC. YONI KONO, MAUREEN CONNOLLY, KERI FRAZIER- WHITE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Denise Cote, District Judge:

OPINION & ORDER

Andrew Arnold filed this employment discrimination action against his former employer Beth Abraham Health Services ("Beth Abraham") and others. The defendants have moved for summary judgment on the one remaining claim in which Arnold asserts that he was fired in violation of the Jury System Improvements Act of 1978, 28 U.S.C. § 1875 (the "Act"). For the reasons that follow, the motion for summary judgment is granted.

BACKGROUND

Beth Abraham is a non-profit organization located in the Bronx that provides residential and community-based health care services for adults. It includes a program of all-inclusive care for the elderly called Comprehensive Care Management ("CCM") in which physicians, nurses, social workers and others work together to address the needs of the patients and residents.

During Arnold's employment at Beth Abraham it had a written policy allowing employees to take time off for jury duty but requiring them to inform Beth Abraham "immediately" upon receipt of the jury duty notice. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the organization and the employees' union, employees on jury duty receive their regular pay.

Arnold has not identified any employee other than himself against whom Beth Abraham discriminated because of jury duty. In 2007, 147 employees took jury duty leaves of absence.

Beth Abraham hired Arnold in October 1997 to work as a temporary Authorization Specialist in the CCM program. On February 10, 1998, it hired him as a full-time Authorization Specialist. As an Authorization Specialist, Arnold's main duty was to input information obtained from doctors, nurses and others into a single, electronically-stored document called a care plan, using a computerized system called CHAMP. State regulations and the organization's policies provided timeframes for entry of the data. Meetings were held regularly to discuss and assess each patient's care plan, and to evaluate a patient's treatment and progress. Authorization Specialists attended these meetings.

During his employment at Beth Abraham, Arnold was counseled repeatedly regarding his performance. Each time that he was given a written warning, Beth Abraham managers met with him to discuss the warning. Among the written descriptions of his poor performance in maintaining records are the following. In his 2003 performance evaluation, Arnold was advised that he needed to follow the care plan submission policies and procedures. On May 13, 2004, he was warned about his failure to enter care plans in the CHAMP system or entering them as much as two months' late. His 2004 evaluation noted that he needed to increase productivity and decrease errors in care plans. It added, "Arnold will continue to improve workplace area & decrease clutter." Arnold's 2005 evaluation noted that he needed to decrease his error rate when making entries on a care plan and to decrease workplace clutter "everyday by clearing the day[']s work off his desk."

In 2006, Beth Abraham's warnings to Arnold became even more pointed. On March 22, 2006, Arnold was advised in writing that he needed to input interim orders on a daily basis. On June 7, Arnold was warned regarding his failure to properly process care plans and other failures. He was warned in writing that unless there was sustained improvement in his work, he would be disciplined or fired. Arnold's 2006 Performance Evaluation noted that he "continues to disregard the process for printing and submitting careplans to participants' medical records . . . . He will not follow the established routine for generating careplans." It added that he needed to maintain "an organized and orderly work area to facilitate the established workflows of CCMC."

On February 21, 2007, Beth Abraham issued a "final" written warning to Arnold. It read in pertinent part,

On or about October 11, 2006, a plan of correction was discussed and agreed upon by you, your manager and the [Union] delegates. Despite numerous weekly meetings and discussion between yourself, managers, and delegates -- you have failed to show any significant improvement in the following areas:

1. Review and tracking of care plan in Care Plan Tracking Log

2. Discharging of medication from medication profile

3. Timely completion and filing of ...


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