A Carver County District Court judge ruled against Lakeview Clinic’s motion for summary judgment and held that Madia Law client Dr. Sam Deweese should be allowed to proceed to trial on each of the seven counts pled in his complaint.
Dr. Deweese worked as a family practice physician for nearly twenty years at Lakeview and earned high praise from his patients. He devoted his entire working life to the institution, committed himself to a high standard of excellence in his profession, and committed a large capital contribution in order to secure his partnership. Dr. Deweese alleges that Lakeview’s relationship with him changed after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in summer 2007.
Dr. Deweese believes that Lakeview’s leadership pressured, manipulated, and deceived him into relinquishing his shareholder status and only allowing him to work as an hourly employee (with a rate far below his peers). Minnesota law imposes a fiduciary duty on fellow shareholders in closely held corporations – each shareholder must act with loyalty and care toward their fellow shareholders.
Next, Dr. Deweese believes that Lakeview refused to increase his hours as it had previously promised in exchange for his shareholder status and told him that – despite his twenty years of service – he had the lowest seniority at the clinic and could be terminated at any time. In Minnesota, people are not allowed to make false promises that they have no intention of fulfilling in order to get others to enter into agreements – that’s called fraudulent inducement.
Shortly after Dr. Deweese complained to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights of disability discrimination, Lakeview removed him from his position and ordered a fitness for duty evaluation. He was terminated shortly thereafter. Therefore, his complaint also alleges disability discrimination and retaliation under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
After nearly a year of discovery – including nearly a dozen depositions and the exchange of thousands of documents – Lakeview moved for summary judgment and asked the judge to dismiss Dr. Deweese’s case without a trial. This is a common tactic by defendants in employment cases and is often successful. In this case, however, the Court ruled that Dr. Deweese had developed issues of fact sufficient to send his case to a jury on every charge.
Trial is set for June 2012.
Please note that every case is different, with its own unique facts. Just because Dr. Deweese defeated summary judgment in his case does not mean that you will obtain the same result in your case. You should contact Madia Law to discuss your disability discrimination case in detail and get an accurate assessment of its value.