Loyds of Dallas Enterprises, LLC v. Jennings
Dallas Court of Appeals, No. 05-15-00670-CV (February 23, 2016)
Justices Fillmore, Stoddart (Opinion), and O’Neill
Tammy Jennings was a caregiver at an assisted living facility. She alleges she was fired after reporting her employer for failing to provide adequate medication and food to the residents and for encouraging her to falsely document that additional medication and food were provided. Her employer, Loyds, moved to dismiss her suit because she failed to serve Loyds with an expert report as required in all “Health Care Liability Claims” under Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss, and Loyds appealed.
The Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed, agreeing with the trial court that Jennings had not alleged a Health Care Liability Claim. Under Chapter 74, a Health Care Liability Claim is one in which (1) a physician or health care provider is a defendant; (2) the claim at issue concerns treatment, lack of treatment, or a departure from accepted standards of medical care, or health care, or safety or professional or administrative services directly related to health care; and (3) the defendant’s act or omission complained of proximately caused the injury to the plaintiff.
The Court rejected Loyds’s argument that Jennings’s claim was based on a departure from accepted standards of health care or of professional or administrative services directly related to health care. The Court held the act at issue was not the rendition of services to the patients at the facility, but the termination of Jennings’s employment. Similarly, the Court held that in a Health Care Liability Claim, the departure from the accepted standard of care must proximately result in injury to the claimant. In this case, Jennings did not argue that the inadequate food or medication caused any injury to her. Rather, her claim is that her good-faith reporting of these violations resulted in the termination of her employment.
Jennings did not, therefore, assert a Health Care Liability Claim, and the trial court appropriately dismissed Loyds’s motion to dismiss.