Michigan Hospital Settles Nurse's Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

4798But a second lawsuit is now pending against the Flint, Mich., hospital, which was accused of honoring a man's request that African-American nurses not be allowed to care for his newborn.

Nurse Tonya Battle speaks about the events that led to her filing a lawsuit against her workplace at a press conference at Hurley Medical Center on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 in Flint, Mich. (Photo: Jarrad Henderson, Detroit Free Press)
Hurley Medical Center settled the first suit -- with veteran neonatal nurse Tonya Battle -- Thursday after hours of negotiations between lawyers and hospital officials. Battle's lawsuit put the national spotlight on the 105-year-old teaching hospital.

The second lawsuit is from Carlotta Armstrong, who, according to her attorney, also is a veteran nurse.

"I'm asking for justice. I want to present this to a jury," attorney Tom Pabst said. "I want to see what the community thinks about it. I don't want to settle this."

Armstrong could not be reached for comment.

Battle's lawsuit accused hospital staff of posting a note on an assignment clipboard saying that African-American nurses could not care for a certain newborn. The baby's father had made the request after he found Battle caring for the baby, Battle said.

The note later was removed, but African-American nurses were not assigned to care for the infant for about a month, according to the complaint filed in Genesee County Circuit Court in January.

On Friday evening, with Battle and two other nurses at her side, the hospital's CEO, Melany Gavulic, read from a prepared statement that said, in part, "We regret that our policies were not well enough understood and followed, causing the perception that Hurley condoned this conduct.

"Hurley Medical Center is fundamentally opposed to any form of racial discrimination," Gavulic read.

She indicated that the incident may lead to staff training, though the statement offered no specifics and did not address the allegations in the second suit.

Gavulic made no other comment.

Source: USA Today | Robin Erb, Detroit Free Press
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