NC: RN & hospital settle workers' comp. claim: denial of reemployment triggers 'retaliation' suit.

Author:Tammelleo, A. David
Position:Legal Case Briefs for Nurses

CASE FACTS: Kathryn Merrick was employed as a registered nurse by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority from July 17, 1999 through May 11, 2000. Prior to December of 1998, Nurse Merrick received four on-the-job injuries, which resulted in claims for workers' compensation benefits. On December 1, 1998, while at work, Nurse Merrick ruptured her Achilles tendon. As a result of that injury, Nurse Merrick was unable to return to work until November 18, 1999. The hospital did not dispute the validity of the workers' compensation claim. On May 11, 2000, Nurse Merrick voluntarily resigned her employment with the hospital in order to accept a position with her another employer. During the periods prior to, as well as after her resignation, both Nurse Merrick and the hospital had ongoing negotiations to settle her workers' compensation claim. Nurse Merrick was represented by counsel at all times. The parties reached a settlement agreement reflected in a document entitled "Agreement for Final Compromise Settlement and Release." In consideration for her signing the Settlement and Release Agreement, Nurse Merrick received the sum of $21,500. Subsequently Dr. Marsha Ford, an employee of the hospital, contacted Nurse Merrick about the possibility of part-time employment with the hospital in its Poison Control Center. Dr. Ford was not aware that Nurse Merrick had signed a Release Agreement with the...

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