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Jury sides with hospital on former nurse’s claims

Defense verdict

David Baugher//June 7, 2022

Jury sides with hospital on former nurse’s claims

Defense verdict

David Baugher//June 7, 2022

A Greene County jury found that a Nixa woman employed as a nursing assistant was not discriminated against when she was terminated.

“The reasons were work-related performance issues and the defendant was justified in taking the actions that they did,” said defense attorney Bryan Wade of Husch Blackwell, who represented Cox Health.

Plaintiff Vicky Franco, who was born in Mexico City, claimed discrimination based on her Hispanic heritage. She alleged in her suit that she was mocked for the way she spoke English and that co-workers would ask “intimidating and embarrassing” questions about her arrival in the United States.

Franco also alleged retaliation and discrimination based on disability after she claimed an injury from falling in a parking garage at work.

“She claimed perceived disability because she had filed a workers compensation claim and was placed on temporary or modified duty related to a temporary disability,” Wade said.

He said that emails were introduced related to her work at Lester E. Cox Medical Centers and her supervisor and coworkers testified about the circumstances leading to her termination which he said related to the unauthorized taking of patient food items. 

According to her suit, Franco consumed some bread from a patient refrigerator “but she thought they were allowed to eat food out of the patient refrigerator due to the fact that other employees did frequently.”

Wade said that there was a dispute over whether it was patient food and what exactly had occurred. He also said the plaintiff displayed “inconsistent positions” on the incident.

Wade said the charges of racially motivated slurs were denied by a coworker at trial.

Katherine Myers of Edelman, Liesen & Myers and Aaron McKee of McKee Law represented the plaintiff. Myers did not return a request for comment. A message left for McKee also produced no response.

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Employment discrimination

Venue: Greene County Circuit Court

Case Number/Date: 1731-CC00456/April 22, 2022

Judge: Jason Brown

Last Pretrial Demand: $400,000

Last Pretrial Offer: $75,000

Caption: Vicky Franco v. Lester E. Cox Medical Centers

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Katherine Myers, Edelman, Liesen & Myers, Kansas City; Aaron McKee, McKee Law, Olathe, Kansas

Defendant’s Attorneys: Bryan Wade and Ginger Gooch, Husch Blackwell, Springfield

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