Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center in Portland Oregon was hit with a $3 million jury verdict two weeks ago for wrongful termination. Legacy terminated a thirty-four year nursing veteran after she complained to management that cost-cutting measures Legacy had enacted were jeopardizing patient care. She said after the jury verdict she hopes it sends a “big message” to Legacy that “rushing patients through” endangers them.
In 2011 Legacy’s managers began instituting quotas, dictating the amount of time nurses had to complete various procedures. During that time period they also laid off 400 employees in an effort to reduce payroll. This nurse, however, worked off the clock to complete her charting and get around the quotas. Legacy found this in violation of their quota policy and fired her.
The jury awarded her $916,000 in lost wages up to retirement age of 67, $625,000 for emotional distress, and $1.5 million in punitive damages. Oregon, like too many states, has enacted tort reform and 70% of the jury’s award for punitive damages will be paid to the state instead of the nurse.