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$50,000 Jury Award To Massachusetts Nurses Wrongfully Discharged By Correctional Medical Services

Two Massachusetts nurses, Fitzgerald and Landry, brought suit against Correctional Medical Services (CMS) for defamation of character after being fired over baseless accusations of one alleged eyewitness. The jury awarded them $50,000 collectively.

After holding a door open for a guard who was borrowing a heater, the two nurses were reported to have broken into a manager's office by an eyewitness. Both were fired and the actual report came weeks later. The nurses brought action claiming that the accusations were unfounded. CMS claimed that the eyewitness, who was coincidentally unavailable to attend the proceedings, was reliable. The CMS Regional Vice President claimed that the firings were "routine personnel matters" and were not criminally induced. The nurses claimed that their subsequent nursing home positions were not as rewarding as correctional facility employment.

On Jan. 31, 2001, a Norfolk County jury, after being briefed on the definition of breaking and entering, found that the nurses would likely have to explain their CMS departure in the future. After determining that both nurses were their family's sole providers, the jury awarded one nurse $30,000 and the other $20,000. See: Fitzgerald v. Correctional Medical Services, Inc., Norfolk County Superior Court, Case No. 98 380 (Mass.).

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Related legal case

Fitzgerald v. Correctional Medical Services, Inc.