Federal Suit by Virginia Physician Fired by State Mental Health Facility Dismissed

Horner v. Dep't of Mental Health, No. Civ.A. 5:02CV00099, 2003 WL 21391678 (W.D. Va. May 1, 2003); 18(13) Virginia Lawyers Weekly 306 (Sept. 1, 2003)

A lawsuit filed by a physician who was fired by a Virginia state mental health facility was dismissed by the Western District of the U.S. District Court in Virginia.  The physician, who was an internist at Western State Hospital from 1995 until May 2001, claimed he was fired because of his criticisms of the patient care provided at the facility.  In response, the physician initiated a grievance procedure under Virginia state law, see DMHL, v. 22, n. 2, p. 29, and also filed a lawsuit in federal court.  The federal district court concluded it was without jurisdiction to hear this case because the physician's claims were "inextricably intertwined" with the retaliation claims set forth in his grievance and his federal claim did not differ in any substantial part from the essential facts presented in the state proceedings.  While noting his grievance was subject to state appellate review and, ultimately, to review by the United States Supreme Court, the court concluded lower federal courts were not authorized to review it....

Found in DMHL Volume 23 Issue 1