United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
C. CACHERIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant Reston Hospital
Center, LLC's (“RHC”) Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint. [Dkt. 16.] For the
following reasons, the Court will deny RHC's motion to
Rodriguez (“Plaintiff” or
“Rodriguez”) brings this suit against RHC for
alleged violations of the False Claims Act
(“FCA”), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3730 et.
seq., and the Family Medical Leave Act
(“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et.
seq. The following facts are taken from Plaintiff's
Amended Complaint and, for the purposes of this motion, are
began his employment at RHC in 1995 as an x-ray technologist.
Am. Compl. ¶ 6. In 2003, RHC promoted Rodriguez to
Hospital Operations Imaging Manager, a position he held for
more than ten years. Id. ¶¶ 7, 59.
Rodriguez directly supervised over 100 staff employees in
this position and earned $97, 000 per year. Id.
of its accreditation, RHC is required to complete yearly
competency assessments for all of its employees. Am. Compl.
¶ 11. The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of
Healthcare Organizations (“JCAHO”) conducts
inspects every three years to ensure RHC's compliance.
Id. ¶ 15. In fact, RHC risks losing its
accreditation if yearly competencies are not completed.
Id. ¶ 16. During monthly management meetings in
2013, Rodriguez learned that his direct supervisor and the
Assistant Director of Radiology, Donald Bauer
(“Bauer”), had not yet completed his competencies
for the year. Id. ¶¶ 18-22. In early 2014,
Debbie Simmons, the Director of Radiology and Rodriguez's
second-in-line supervisor, confirmed that Bauer had not done
so. Id. ¶ 24. Then, in February 2014, Bauer
approached Plaintiff, stated that he had not yet completed
his 2013 competencies, and asked Rodriguez to backdate
several of the competencies to 2013. Id. ¶ 26.
Rodriguez refused. Id. ¶ 27. After learning
that several other employees were also asked to backdate
competencies, Rodriguez approached them and told them that he
refused to sign the backdated assessments and advised them to
do the same. Id. ¶ 42.
March 2014, RHC posted an opening for a staff technologist in
Rodriguez's department. Am. Compl. ¶ 43.
Rodriguez's wife, Sheila, also worked at RHC, and she
informed a former colleague, Belinda Hooven-Fossie
(“Hooven-Fossie”), of the opening. Id.
¶ 44. Hooven-Fossie applied and did well during the
interview, but Rodriguez removed her from consideration about
discovering that another hospital had previously terminated
Id. ¶ 46. Once a representative from Human
Resources determined that Hooven-Fossie was, in fact, still
hirable under RHC policy, Rodriguez prepared a hire sheet for
her and brought it to Simmons for approval. Id.
¶¶ 48-49. Before a hiring decision was made,
however, another technologist, Nicole Pestell
(“Pestell”), asked Rodriguez about the open
position. Id. ¶ 53. He told her that it
required weekend hours. Id. ¶ 54. Pestell was
eventually hired. Id. ¶ 55. When the hiring
process concluded, Simmons initiated an investigation into
Rodriguez's conduct regarding the open position, alleging
that Rodriguez discouraged Pestell from applying in order to
get a referral bonus for Hooven-Fossie. Id.
following month, on April 15, 2014, Simmons demoted Rodriguez
to Computed Tomography (“CT”) Technologist,
decreasing his salary by $10, 000 per year. Am. Compl.
¶¶ 59-60. RHC's stated reason for the demotion
was Rodriguez's attempt to use his authority to hire an
employee he had referred for an open position so that he
could earn a referral bonus. Id. ¶¶ 50,
61. Additionally, RHC based its demotion decision on
Rodriguez's alleged improper reporting of an incident of
workplace violence earlier in 2014. Id. ¶ 46.
his demotion, Rodriguez was required to register as a CT
Technologist, which required completing 125 CT exams that
were then signed off by another technologist, supervisor, or
radiologist. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 78, 80. However,
Plaintiff alleges that Simmons imposed more stringent
requirements, allowing only a radiologist to sign off on his
exams. Id. ¶ 81. He began his new position on
April 21, 2014. Id. ¶ 82. Plaintiff alleges
that he was provided with only six weeks of training, rather
than eight weeks, and placed on the midnight shift, which
limited his ability to interact with patients to complete the
exams required for his credentials. Id. ¶¶
83-85. In addition, Plaintiff alleges that he provided
completed CT exams to Simmons to review in late August 2014,
but she never reviewed or returned the exams. Id.
¶¶ 86, 88-94.
September 17, 2014, Rodriguez emailed Simmons to notify her
of some ongoing shoulder issues. Am. Compl. ¶ 95. He
informed Simmons that he would undergo shoulder surgery on
October 2, 2014, and needed to take several months of FMLA
leave to recover. Id. ¶ 96. Following his
surgery and recovery, Rodriguez received approval to return
to work from his doctor on February 24, 2015. Id.
¶ 102. However, Simmons required Rodriguez to complete a
“return to work” plan prior to coming back to
RHC, which “shocked” Rodriguez as it was
“not typical at RHC.” Id. ¶¶
103-04. Nevertheless, Rodriguez returned to work on February
25, 2015-one day later-after completing the required plan.
Id. ¶ 107.
March 2015, Rodriguez turned in additional CT exams for his
application to re-register as a CT technologist. Am. Compl.
¶¶ 108-09. He continued to ask Simmons to return
the exams he had submitted to her in August 2014 so that he
could use them to meet his credentialing requirements.
Id. ¶ 112. Simmons never did so. Id.
terminated Rodriguez on April 25, 2015. Am. Compl. ¶
110. RHC's reason for his termination was that Rodriguez
had not obtained proper credentials for the CT position.
Id. ¶ 111.
initiated the instant case on June 6, 2016. [Dkt. 1.] The
Amended Complaint alleges: (1) wrongful discharge involving
retaliation under the FMLA; (2) interference under the FMLA;
and (3) retaliatory discharge under the FCA. [Id.]
On November 4, 2016, Defendant filed the instant motion to
dismiss. [Dkt. 16.] Plaintiff filed his opposition on
November 15, 2016, to which Defendant replied on November 21,
2016. [Dkts. 19, 21.] Oral argument was held on February 22,
2017. This motion is now ripe for disposition.