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Swanson v. Correct Care Solutions, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maine

August 1, 2017



          John C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge

         In this action, Plaintiff Jacqui Swanson asserts federal and state claims of disability discrimination in employment against Defendant Correct Care Solutions, Inc. The matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 31.) Following a review of the summary judgment record and after consideration of the parties' arguments, I recommend the Court grant Defendant's motion.

         I. Background Facts

         A. Defendant's Statement of Material Facts

         Defendant Correct Care Solution (CCS) provides healthcare services to correctional institutions throughout the country. (Defendant's Statement of Material Facts (DSMF) ¶ 1, ECF No. 32.) During the relevant time period, CCS contracted with the Maine Department of Corrections (MDOC) to provide healthcare services to inmates at the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston, Maine. (Id. ¶ 2.)

         Kim Partridge was employed by CCS as the Health Services Administrator at the Correctional Facility. (Id. ¶ 3.) Jeffrey Morin was employed by the MDOC as the Superintendent of the Mountain View facility. Mr. Morin was responsible for, among other things, the safety and security of the inmates at Mountain View as well as the staff who worked at Mountain View. (Id. ¶ 4.)

         On September 1, 2014, Plaintiff applied for a position with CCS as a Registered Nurse at Mountain View. As part of that process, Plaintiff completed an employment application and attached her resume.[1] (Id. ¶ 12.) The application form, which Plaintiff read, stated that the facility “would conduct a background investigation for purposes of issuing security clearance, ” and that in the event of an unsatisfactory finding, Plaintiff would be “denied a security clearance and any offer of employment [would] be withdrawn immediately, or [her] employment with CCS [would] be terminated.” (Id. ¶ 13.) Plaintiff further “authorize[d] investigation of all statements contained in [the] application and agree[d] that if any material or willful misrepresentation or omission has been made [therein] or the results of an investigation are not satisfactory for any reason, any offer of employment made … by CCS may be withdrawn immediately, or … employment with CCS will be terminated immediately….” (Id. ¶ 14.)

         On her application, Plaintiff stated that her nursing license had been placed on probation for substance abuse and was reinstated early due to successful treatment. (Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff has a history of addiction to narcotic medications and alcohol. (Pl.'s Statement of Additional Material Facts (PSAMF) ¶ 53, ECF No. 36.) From 2008 to present, Plaintiff has not used any narcotic medications except Suboxone as prescribed. (Id. ¶ 54.)

         On September 9, 2014, Ms. Partridge interviewed Plaintiff for the Registered Nurse overnight shift position at Mountain View. (DSMF ¶ 24.) In that position, Plaintiff would be the only nurse on duty and would have keys to the medical cabinet, which contained controlled substances.[2] (Id. ¶ 25.)

         As part of CCS's hiring process, Ms. Partridge attempted to obtain a copy of Plaintiff's nursing license. (DSMF ¶ 27.) Due to a problem with the Maine Board of Nursing website, Ms. Partridge was unable to view the complete history of Plaintiff's nursing license and the prior restrictions. (Id. ¶ 28.) Before Ms. Partridge extended an offer of employment to Plaintiff, Ms. Partridge had obtained a page from the Board of Nursing web site that showed two disciplinary actions, a Consent Agreement dated May 12, 2009, and a Board Order dated March 7, 2013. (PSAMF ¶ 73; Partridge Ex. 7, ECF No. 30-8.) Ms. Partridge could have obtained more information by contacting the Board, but did not do so. (DOSMF ¶ 28.) She was able to verify that Plaintiff had a valid nursing license at the time of the hiring process. (DSMF ¶ 29.) The MDOC did a criminal background check and reported to Ms. Partridge that the check did not preclude Plaintiff's employment at the Correctional Facility. (PSAMF ¶ 75.)

         On September 23, 2014, Ms. Partridge offered Plaintiff a position as a Registered Nurse at Mountain View. (Id. ¶ 30.) The offer letter, which Plaintiff accepted and understood, specifically stated that she “must obtain and keep a valid security clearance throughout [her] employment with CCS in order to be eligible for continued employment with CCS.” (Id. ¶ 31.) Plaintiff's job description also stated that the position required Plaintiff to maintain a security clearance. (Id. ¶ 32.) The Security Policy in the Team Member Manual further stated that Plaintiff's employment was “contingent upon initial and continued security clearance as defined by institutional policies” and that “[a]ny CCS team member who loses security clearance will no longer be employable by CCS and will be terminated.” (Id. ¶ 33.) Plaintiff did not have any performance issues during her employment with CCS. (Id. ¶ 34.)

         Relatively soon after Plaintiff was hired, based on certain information received by Ms. Partridge and Mr. Morin, Mr. Morin asked a member of law enforcement to obtain some public records regarding Plaintiff. Through this effort, Mr. Morin learned that Plaintiff's nursing license had been suspended due to drug diversion when Plaintiff was employed by a previous employer. (Id. ¶ 38.)

         On October 14, 2014, Mr. Morin spoke with Ms. Partridge about the drug diversion information he obtained. Ms. Partridge informed Mr. Morin that Plaintiff had not disclosed her history of drug diversion when she applied for the position with CCS or during the interview process. (Id. ¶ 39; DOSMF ¶ 39.) At her deposition, Plaintiff recounted her conversation with Ms. Partridge about Plaintiff's history regarding the diversion of drugs as follows:

Q. Okay. And so when - when Kim Partridge interviewed you, you didn't say - you didn't say anything to her about drug diversion either?
A. No.
Q. Okay. All right. On -
A. Well, actually, I think I did because she - we talked about why my license was suspended.
Q. Okay. What -
A. I did talk to her about diversion. We didn't talk about any specific place. She didn't ask and I didn't say.
Q. What specifically did you say to her?
A. I do believe it was vague in the sense that I just said, you know, I had struggled and lost some jobs, the Board of Nursing found out about it.
Q. Okay.
A. So it was very - but she was aware that it was reported to the Board of Nursing that I was misappropriating medications.
Q. Did you - did you tell her that you had been accused of diverting drugs from a patient?
A. I can't say I used those words direct - that exactly, no.
Q. Okay. As you sit here today, can you say under oath that you used the word diverted drugs? The words diverted drugs?
A. No. I did not - I don't recall using the word diversion. I might have, I don't re - I can't say specifically, no.
Q. Okay. You just told her that your license had been suspended or revoked or?
A. Put on a probationary period because it was never suspended.
Q. Okay.
A. It was never revoked. For using drugs specifically is what ...

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