Court upholds dismissal of cardiologist's WPA claim that employer violated Federal law
Cardiologist Ronald VanderLaan expressed concern to his partners at Michigan Medical, PC, that the firm was violating federal law by billing for pacemaker work done by vendors without MMPC supervision or involvement. The MMPC Board ordered VanderLaan to see a psychiatrist and undergo a drug test, and suspended his salary. VanderLaan took his concerns to the U.S. Inspector General and refused to undergo the drug-testing and psychiatric evaluation that his partners were demanding he complete within 30 days. His employment was then terminated. VanderLaan's partners claimed that their actions were motivated by the unrelated fact that he was acting erratically, was hostile to co-workers, and had misbehaved at office parties. VanderLaan then filed suit under the WPA.
The Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of his Whistleblower Protection Act claim because he had no proof, beyond the timing of his dismissal, corroborating his claim that he was discharged because of his pacemaker concerns and federal report. In a typical Kirsten Kelly opinion, the Court found it "inexplicable" that VanderLaan refused to undergo drug and psychiatric examination at his partners' demand. One wonders how a judge would react if the other judges on the Court of Appeals suspended his or her salary and demanded a psychiatric evaluation and drug test within 30 days.