BOSTON (CN) – A hospital administrator is immune from a lawsuit by a medical examiner who claimed he was fired for criticizing the hospital’s practices, the 1st Circuit ruled. Judge Lynch said the hospital had valid reasons to fire him, including an e-mail he sent to the assistant district attorney that mentioned urination and farting.
The judge characterized medical examiner Abraham Philip as a “either a constant complainer or a constant seeker of improvement” in his office.
Lynch agreed with the district court that administrator John Cronin was protected by qualified immunity because he did not merely fire Philip for exercising his First Amendment rights.
One reason is that Philip dripped blood onto a death certificate when he stepped out of an autopsy in order to sign it. That earned Philip a one-day suspension.
While Philip claimed he was fired for e-mailing then-Gov. Mitt Romney about improper organ-harvesting practices, Lynch ruled that the main reason for his termination was his response to the suspension.
Philip e-mailed the assistant district attorney (ADA) asking for a case file to be handed over with a witness in the room, “to prevent weird charges of having urinated on the chart or farted while working on the chart leveled at me by the head honcho.”
Lynch wrote: “Not only was the e-mail to the ADA embarrassing and unprofessional, but it also posed a risk of further embarrassing an office trying to regain its reputation for professionalism.”