In Part I, I touched on how after completing 12 months of a 17 month accelerated Nursing Program at Cleveland State University, my daughter, Shana, was kicked out after being accused of falsifying a patient’s medical records, endangering the welfare of a patient, and lying to her instructor and the assigned nursing staff. Even though the Student Grievance Board at CSU found in favor of Shana — her dismissal was unwarranted, she was not given her due process, and animosity between the CSU faculty and Shana was definitely observed during the hearing and documented, the President of CSU failed to reinstate her siding rather with the School of Nursing.
It seems like only yesterday when Shana came home very upset informing us she had been dismissed from the Program. We asked her to explain everything that had happened and she said she had received a call that tragic morning instructing her to report to CSU where faculty members of the Nursing Program were present. She went on to tell us she was immediately handed a letter stating she was being kicked out of the nursing program due to the serious allegations mentioned above. We asked her to try to remember everything about the meeting. She said it was like an out of body experience. After reading the letter accusing her of the three (3) serious allegations, Shana asked to speak with her clinical instructor and to the patient to try to get to the bottom of these allegations, but both requests were denied. Seeing she was very upset, I asked her to try to recall the very last thing of that meeting. Without hesitation she said one of the attendees told her she was being kicked out of the Program, and then proceeded to tell Shana to “have a good day”!
The first thing that came to my mind was something more than meets the eye was going on. We decided to wait until the next day when Shana had a chance to calm down to try to find out what was really going on. The next day with clearer heads we heard plenty. More on that later.
In deciding our next move we decided to hire a law firm and pursue a civil suit against CSU in the Court of Claims of Ohio. Now I don’t know if this is just a coincidence or a well calculated plan, but trying to find a law firm in the Cleveland area willing to sue Cleveland State University was very challenging. Most of the firms declined because they stated they had had a working relationship with CSU.
Looking outside the Cleveland area we did find one attorney willing to take on our case and on March 19, 2012 signed a contract. On April 12, 2012, the attorney filed a lawsuit in the Court of Claims of Ohio – SHANA MCDADE V. CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY (2012-03425).
While I initially felt we were finally on our way in getting some justice for Shana, something unexplainable happened after hiring this attorney. Unable to get updates about this case, we happened to log onto the ‘Court of Claims of Ohio’ website in mid-August 2012, some four (4) months after filing the lawsuit. It was only then that we learned the first set of Interrogatories (a set of written questions to a party to a lawsuit asked by the opposing party) submitted by CSU’s legal defense team had been mailed to this attorney on May 11, 2012, and a ‘Motion to Compel’ was filed against Shana on August 9, 2012, because the documents had not been filled out and returned.
The following is found on the ‘Court of Claims of Ohio’ website submitted by CSU’s defense counsel:
“During the July 7, 2012 case management conference with this Court, Plaintiff’s counsel was asked about the status of the outstanding requests [Interrogatories]. Plaintiff’s counsel acknowledged that the requests had been received and that he had forwarded them to his client, but indicated that he was not able to provide any responses because Plaintiff had not returned them to him. After the conference, on July 11, 2012, Defense counsel again followed up with Plaintiff regarding the requests. (Exhibit C, attached hereto.) Defense counsel emailed Plaintiff’s counsel and conveyed that if complete responses were not received by July 20, 2012, Defendant would be forced to file a motion to compel. (Exhibit C.) Plaintiff’s counsel did not respond to this correspondence…”
As noted in a letter written by Shana to the Judge assigned to this case when contacted this attorney claimed he had mailed the Interrogatories to Shana’s home address, and had also claimed to have emailed the documents to her. Needless to say, no documents were received by Shana. What I find most interesting is not once did this attorney ever ask Shana about the status of these documents. He never inquired if she had received them, if she had any questions concerning them or what was taking her so long to return them to him. In the letter posted on the ‘Court of Claims of Ohio’ website, Shana requested a ‘motion for an extension of time’ noting that the actions of this attorney were best described as ‘suspect’, and that she felt this attorney was purposely trying to “sabotage this case”.
The letter went on to explain after printing out the Interrogatories from the website herself, Shana answered most of the questions she could figure out the answers to, and then emailed the documents to this attorney asking him to complete the legal questions. On Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 8:00PM this attorney called Shana and told her it would be best if she would answer all questions, including the legal questions, in her own words! She was also informed she had to have the documents signed, notarized and delivered to Columbus by Monday, September 24, 2012 by 4:00PM.
On Sunday, September 23, 2012, Shana completed the questions (including the legal questions) and emailed the documents to the attorney so he could email them to Columbus, along with a note explaining the originals were being delivered the next day. However, after contacting him the next day, Monday, September 24, 2012, to inquire about the second ‘Motion to Compel’ that had been posted to the website, the attorney claimed he never received the email with the Interrogatories.
Not surprisingly, Shana fired this attorney and requested a refund of all unused funds. Included along with the refund check of only 50% of what had been paid, the attorney returned Shana’s file. And inside the file were the blank Interrogatories!
…and Shana’s request for an extension of time… ‘DENIED as moot’.
Stay tuned to the next episode when I share our experience of hiring another attorney and preparing for a case that would never go to trial.