Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Strynkowski v. NGS American

March 25, 2010

EDWARD R. STRYNKOWSKI, AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF KATHLEEN STRYNKOWSKI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NGS AMERICAN, INC., A MICHIGAN CORPORATION, NGS AMERICAN, INC. EMPLOYEE MEDICAL BENEFIT PLAN, AN EMPLOYEE WELFARE BENEFIT PLAN, NGS AMERICAN INC. EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLAN TRUST, AN EMPLOYEE WELFARE BENEFIT PLAN, AND CNA CONTINENTAL CASUALTY COMPANY, AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Marianne O. Battani

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. No. 51). The Court has reviewed the pleading and finds oral argument will not aid in the resolution of this dispute. See E. D. Mich. LR 7.1(e)(2). For the reasons that follow, the motion is DENIED.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Defendant NGS American Inc. (NGS), a third-party administrator of medical and disability claims, employed Plaintiff's decedent, Kathleen Strynkowski (Kathleen), as a Medical Claims Clerk from June 2000 until her termination on July 3, 2007. Plaintiff asserts that the termination violated Kathleen's rights under ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., and the Michigan Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act, Mich. Comp. Laws § 37.1101 et seq. (PWDCRA).

The incident giving rise to Kathleen's termination occurred in June 2007. The facts as recited in the Opinion and Order Granting Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment follow.

Sandy Socia, a Medical Claims Analyst, brought papers to a photocopier located near Kathleen's desk. After the copier jammed, Socia left to look for her clerk, Brenda Demo, to help clear the copier. Kathleen had observed the copier jamming, and considered it her duty to assist. After Socia left, Kathleen went to the copier and cleared the jam. She took the documents that had been jammed and threw them in a shredding bin. Kathleen understood that the documents were claim records from an NGS client seeking payment of medical expenses. She further presumed that the records were original claim documents. She knew that without the originals, the claims could not be processed and paid; however, she never attempted to retrieve identifying information. Kathleen also knew that the only means by which NGS would be likely to know which originals were destroyed would be when an insured contacted NGS inquiring about the status of his claim. Kathleen never contacted Socia about the incident.

Kathleen eventually learned from Heidi Elgabrey, a Claims Analyst, that some documents were missing for a claim Elgabrey was processing. Socia also processed claims for this particular client. Plaintiff sent an email the following work day to Dee Schatow, who supervised the claims unit where Elgabrey and Socia worked. Kathleen informed Schatow that she had witnessed Socia jamming the copier and thought Schatow should know so that Elgabrey and Demo were not blamed.

The email reads as follows:

Hi, last week Sandy Socia jammed up the copier with YG corresp. I pulled it out of the feeder. The next day Terry called for service. I'm not saying this because I'm friends with Brenda and Heidi. I didn't want Heidi and Brenda in hot water. I didn't say anything to anyone. OK KS Defs.' Ex. A1.

Kathleen did not inform Schatow that the original documents had been discarded. Schatow passed the email to Human Resources.

The next week, Elgabrey informed Schatow that she was missing documents from the client files. Schatow had searched for the documents, but they were not located. After Elgabrey suggested that Socia may have taken the documents, management called a meeting which Schatow, DargoMartino, Kroepel, Socia, Elgabrey, Demo, and Kathleen attended. At the meeting, Kathleen admitted that she had thrown the original claims records in a shredding bin. Kathleen believed she threw four to five files into the bin. When Dargo-Martino heard this information, she became upset and yelled at Kathleen.

After the meeting, Kroepel and Dargo-Martino discussed Kathleen's actions and agreed Kathleen should be terminated. They met with Kathleen and informed her she was being discharged, effective immediately, even though Schatow located some missing files after the meeting was adjourned. Doc. No. 49 at 3-4.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under the standards articulated in E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(g)(3), to obtain the requested relief, Plaintiff must demonstrate: (1) the Court and the parties have been misled by a palpable defect, and (2) the correction of that defect will result in a different disposition of the case. A "palpable defect" is an error which is obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest or plain. Fleck v. Titan Tire Corp., 177 F. Supp.2d 605, 624 (E.D. Mich. 2001); ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.