Nurse's motion for second trial against area hospital denied

[caption id="attachment_251686" align="alignright" width="100"]  John Hopkins[/caption]

Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth on Jan. 18 denied a nurse’s request for a new trial against her former employer following a defense verdict in September.

Mary Pollard sued Anderson Hospital in 2008, alleging she was fired, on April 8, 2008.

Plaintiff’s attorney John Hopkins requested a new trial.

“We think the courts erred to deprive Ms. Pollard of a fair trial,” Hopkins wrote in support of his client.

“As we say, there were two dramatically opposed versions of what happened April 8, 2008. It wasn’t taped. It wasn’t recorded,” Hopkins said in court.

Defense attorney Wayne Skigen at trial said Pollard was not fired, but that she walked out on her employer.

“If she had been fired, she wouldn’t have left the office with her badge,” Skigen said.

Ruth said that even if Pollard was discharged, she could have been discharged for a personality conflict, but the hospital did not discharge her, he said.

According to Hopkins, the principal actor on behalf of the defense in the lawsuit was the director of nursing Pat Peverly.

An image of Ms. Peverly was presented to the jury as a kindly, matronly nurturer of her subordinates, Hopkins wrote in his reply brief in support of his post trial motion.

“Obviously the reality was something more sinister," he wrote. "As her lies under oath at the unemployment hearing clearly demonstrate, Ms. Peverly’s true nature was ruthlessly dark, engaging in conduct without self-imposing limits, believing that any means justifies an end of self-preservation. Ms. Peverly was presented to the jury in a false light."

Court documents filed by Hopkins state Pollard was summoned to a meeting in Peverly’s office. Pollard told Peverly she was not going to resign. Peverly then stated, “I expect your written resignation on my desk before you leave today,” according to Hopkins.

Pollard told Peverly she considered herself to be fired.

Hopkins contends a false impression of Peverly, a critical witness, was given to a jury, and a likewise false verdict was rendered.

Ruth said Peverly was not reported for perjury.

Skigen wrote in his reply in support of petition for costs that “the properly-introduced evidence demonstrated that plaintiff had not, and could not, come close to meeting her burden of proving that she had been fired.”

Ruth ordered that the defendant’s motion for an award of costs is to be held in abeyance and reserved until after disposition by the Appellate Court or the lapse of time to appeal.

Madison County case number 08-L-892.

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