No More Mr. Nice Guy

     MINNEAPOLIS (CN) – A psychiatrist who suffered traumatic brain injury in a domestic assault claims in court that her state employer told she “needed to be made an example of,” so there would be “no place in the state” where she could work.
     Tara Buhl sued the Minnesota Department of Human Services in Federal Court.
     Buhl is a board-certified psychiatrist and began working for the state in 2007, she says in her complaint.
     She suffered a domestic assault on Aug. 8, 2011, which caused traumatic brain injury, with “vertigo, severe headaches, insomnia, and impaired her ability to concentrate,” according to the complaint.
     As a result, she fell behind in her patient dictations, i.e., written reports on patients and plans of care.
     Buhl says her bosses at the Minnesota Security Hospital “knew about plaintiff’s conditions and what caused them.” She says they supported her taking days off. By December 2011, she says, she was “almost fully caught up” on her patient dictations.
     But on Jan. 6, 2012, “Dr. Alan Radke, acting in his official capacity as State Medical Director, called plaintiff at home.” He asked her, among other things, when she would return to work. “She stated that she was unsure because she was still suffering from headaches,” the complaint states. “Dr. Radke then stated that he needed to deal with plaintiff’s ‘discipline issue’ and she should turn herself in to the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. Plaintiff did not know what he was referring to.”
     Buhl says she was treated at the Mayo Clinic’s Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic that spring and summer, which determined in July 2012 that she was well enough to work part time. She returned to work at Minnesota Security Hospital, part time, on Oct. 2, 2012.
     “On Oct. 16, 2012, plaintiff was called into Dr. Steven Pratt’s office,” the complaint states. “Acting in his official capacity, he discharged plaintiff for falling behind in dictations during the prior year. He stated that it was ‘decided that [plaintiff] needed to be made an example of’ and that there would be ‘no place in the state’ plaintiff would be able to work.” (Brackets in complaint.)
     Buhl seeks an injunction and treble damages for disability discrimination and civil rights violations. She is represented by Gregg Corwin, of St. Louis Park, Minn.
     The only defendant is the State of Minnesota Department of Human Services.

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