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Frye v. Hamilton County Hospital

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Central Division

June 7, 2019

JEREMY FRYE, Plaintiff,
v.
HAMILTON COUNTY HOSPITAL, d/b/a VAN DIEST MEDICAL CENTER; MERCY HEALTH NETWORK, INC; WEBSTER CITY/WEBSTER CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants.

          ORDER

          C.J. WILLIAMS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on defendant Hamilton County Hospital d/b/a Van Diest Medical Center's (“the Hospital”) Partial Motion to Strike Opinions and Testimony of Expert David G. Stilley. (Doc. 59). Plaintiff filed a timely resistance (Docs. 61, 62), and the Hospital filed a timely reply to plaintiff's resistance. (Doc. 63). On May 24, 2019, defendant Mercy Health Network, Inc. joined in the Hospital's motion to strike. (Doc. 64). No. party requested a Daubert hearing, and the Court considers this matter fully submitted. For the following reasons, the Hospital's motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         I.BACKGROUND

         The factual allegations in plaintiff's complaint are set fully in the Court's order on the Hospital's Partial Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 33, at 3-5), and the Court will not recount the full factual background of plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff's complaint alleges thirteen counts related to the Hospital's termination of plaintiff's employment and the events leading up to and following plaintiff's termination. In relevant part, plaintiff claims that the Hospital, which is publicly funded, violated plaintiff's right to be free from unreasonable searches under Article I, Section 8 of the Iowa Constitution and the Fourth Amendment to the United State Constitution (Counts I and II), that the Hospital wrongfully terminated plaintiff for refusing an unreasonable search in violation of the public policy set forth in Article I, Section 8 and the Fourth Amendment (Counts XI and XII), and that the Hospital violated Iowa Code Section 730.5 by terminating plaintiff for refusing a drug test that did not meet the statutory definition of a reasonable suspicion drug test (Count XIII). (Doc. 34).

         The Hospital's drug and alcohol testing policy (the “Policy”) states in relevant part:

         D. When Drug or Alcohol Testing May be Conducted

         1. The Hospital reserves the right to conduct any form of drug or alcohol testing permitted by law including, but not limited to, pre-employment, reasonable suspicion testing, post accident testing or random testing.

         E. Reasonable Suspicion Testing

         1. Any employee for whom a reasonable suspicion exists that the employee is under the influence of alcohol or an illegal or unauthorized substance will be subject to alcohol or drug testing.

         2. For purposes of this policy, reasonable suspicion may be based upon, but is not limited to, any of the following;

a. observable phenomena while at work such as direct observation of drug use or abuse or of the physical symptoms or manifestations of being impaired due to drug or alcohol use;
b. abnormal conduct or erratic behavior while at work or a significant deterioration in work performance;
c. a report of drug or alcohol use provided by a reliable and credible source;
d. evidence that an employee has manufactured, sold, distributed, solicited, possessed, used, or transferred drugs while working or while on the employer's premises or while operating any of the employer's vehicles, machinery or equipment.

(Doc. 62-6, at 2-3). Plaintiff alleges that the Hospital requested that plaintiff submit to a reasonable suspicion drug test because of behavior that the Hospital believed was “erratic.” (Doc. 34, at 4-5). Plaintiff claims that under Article I, Section 8 and the Fourth Amendment, the Hospital “did not have probable cause to meet the standard of Procedure E.1, the ‘reasonable ...


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