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Posted by: Landry Butler on Mar 2, 2017

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Katherine A. Young, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellant, Laura Lee Demastus.

Attorneys 2:

Howard B. Jackson, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellee, University Health System, Inc. dba University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Judge(s): SUSANO

Plaintiff Laura Lee Demastus brought this action against her former employer, University Health System, Inc., doing business as the University of Tennessee Medical Center (Employer). After Plaintiff had worked roughly three years as a nurse at the UT Medical Center, Employer suspected that she was illegally diverting medications. When Plaintiff’s supervisors confronted her with evidence of several suspicious transactions recorded by the medication monitoring systems, Plaintiff denied doing anything wrong or improper. She, however, could not explain the suspicious transactions. She was terminated shortly thereafter. Plaintiff brought this action under the Tennessee Disabilities Act (TDA), Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-50-103 et seq. (2016), alleging that she was fired solely because Employer perceived her to have the disability of drug addiction. Employer argued that it did not fire her because she was considered a drug addict, but because it thought she was stealing medications. Following discovery, the trial court granted summary judgment, holding that under the undisputed material facts, Plaintiff could not establish that Employer’s proffered non-discriminatory reason was a pretext for illegal discrimination. We affirm.