This paper is basically a critical legal analysis of two cases, in particular, Cheryl L. Vandevender Vs Sheetz and Haimes Vs Temple University Hospital. These cases are concerned with compensation. In both cases, the plaintiffs (Vandevender, the patient, and her husband) are seeking compensation for their rights violation by the two organizations. In the Vandevender case, the plaintiff wants compensation for damages caused by the denial of permission to return to work. In the Haimes case, the plaintiffs seek compensation for medical malpractice by the hospital doctor. Appeals to the rulings of the judges in these two cases are also analyzed in the discussion, where their validity in regard to the law is critically assessed and a conclusion drawn. This paper extensively and comprehensively analyzes the facts, issues, laws, ethics, and decisions made in the two cases.
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What are the facts?
In the case of Cheryl L. Vandevender Vs. Sheetz, a Pennsylvania Corporation, the facts are that the employee (Vandevender) sustained an injury at the back while working. As a result of her perceived or actual handicap, she was denied permission by her employer to return to her job, which was a violation of the Workers Compensation Act of West Virginia and the West Virginia Human Rights Act. Thereafter, through the understanding of the law and her rights, the employee commenced an action against the employer, Sheetz, Inc. When the company appealed, the jury found that the compensation was excess, and the company was given a chance to present its argument against the earlier ruling by the judges. In the Temple Hospital Vs. Haimes case, the patient and the husband sued the hospital for medical malpractice. That was done because the patient was to undergo a computerized axiotomography, which adversely affected her health. That act, by the doctors in the hospital, was totally against the principles set out in the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure 238.
What are the issues?
In the Sheetz Vs. Vandevender case, the employee was definitely supposed to be rewarded, and this was the reason the damages for the retaliation claim were upheld by the court after the juries were satisfied with the judges’ decisions on the claims. Principles of the due process guided the court’s decision, where the judges strictly adhered to the requirements of the principles. Based on these principles, a corporate policy that was legally incorrect, and inapplicable did not intend to do any harm (Haltom & McCann, 2004). On the other hand, in the case of Haimes v. Temple University Hospital, the issues are that the hospital violated the patient’s rights as clearly stipulated in the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure 238, and that is why the trial court favored the plaintiffs. The judges, in their ruling, argued that assessing damages duty was within the jury’s province, and any interference should be avoided. According to the judges, interference should occur only in cases where an excessive amount is awarded from a law or evidence misconception. The judges stated that the amount which they directed the hospital to compensate the patient was reasonable and fair.
What laws apply?
In the Sheetz Vs. Vandevender case, refusal by the company to retain the employee was a violation of the Workers Compensation Act of West Virginia. Based on perceived handicap, the company refused to rehire the employee, therefore violating the Human Rights Act of West Virginia. On the other hand, in the Haimes v. Temple University Hospital case, by ruling in favor of Haimes, the trial court judges were abiding by the provisions of the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and the Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 238 (Bogus, 2003).
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What did the judge and jury decide?
In the case of Vandevender Vs. Sheetz, the judges, guided by the law, decided to grant Vandevender all the compensation regarding her case. However, after the company appealed in regard to the decision of the judges, all the punitive damages that were given in respect to the employee’s claims of unlawful termination and refusal to return to work were removed by the jury because they were excessive.
On the other hand, in the case of Haimes v. Temple University Hospital, the judges ruled in favor of the patient and the husband. The judges ruled that Haimes should be compensated an amount of up to $ 600,000. Since this was too much for the hospital to pay, they appealed against the ruling, and the court granted them their request. In their ruling, the judges argued that the compensation granted earlier was excess and that it would affect the public’s confidence with the justice system (Berman, 2010).
Evaluation of law application in the decision of the jury and the judge
In the case of Vandevender Vs. Sheetz, the judges, partially made an appropriate decision because they effectively applied the West Virginia Workers Compensation Act, which postulated that anybody terminated or suspended indiscriminately and unfairly by an employer, should be compensated accordingly and sufficiently. The jury also made an appropriate decision by terming the compensation as excessive, where they effectively applied the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Also, the jury effectively applied the West Virginia Workers Compensation Act by deciding to retain the punitive damages awarded in regard to the retaliation claim made by Vandevender (Biggar, 2004).
In the case of Haimes v. Temple University Hospital, by ruling in favor of the patient and the husband, the judges appropriately followed the law because their facts were guided by the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure 238. On the other hand, by granting the hospital a chance for a new trial, the jury effectively followed the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure 238.
What are the ethical issues in the cases? Do ethical issues differ from legal issues? If so, how?
In the case of Vandevender Vs. Sheetz, one of the ethical issues is evident in the way the company treated its employee. They should not have denied the employee a return to work permission because she was injured while at work. Another evident ethical issue here is in relation to the decision of the judges to grant Vandevender excessive compensation, not considering how that could affect the company financially. In the case of Haimes v. Temple University Hospital, one of the evident ethical issues is the way the hospital was involved in medical malpractice. Another ethical issue, in this case, is the way the judges granted Haimes excess compensation, completely ignoring the financial repercussion of the compensation to the company. Legal issues relate to the written principles, while ethical issues relate to the unwritten principles, and that is the difference between the two concepts.
Are the two cases frivolous or not?
The appeals by the two organizations, Sheetz and the Temple University Hospital, can be termed as frivolous because from the evidence given by the witnesses and the laws governing these situations, it is clear that they went against the law and that the possibility of winning the appeals is very low. Therefore, the appeals can be termed as frivolous.
Regardless of what you think of the lawsuits, how could the business owners have prevented them? Advice the two institutions.
These business owners could have prevented the aforementioned cases by adhering to the standard code of business ethics. In the case of Sheetz, the company should have allowed the employee back to work and treat her fairly. On the other hand, in the case of the Temple University Hospital, the hospital should have made a post-medical procedure follow up to ensure that the patient was not affected by the medical procedure in the future. My advice to these two organizations is that they should adhere to work ethics and legal ethics in their operations.
The two cases are clear examples of compensation cases. In both cases, the employee and the patient seek compensation for violation of their rights. In the Vandevender case, the plaintiff seeks compensation for damages incurred as a result of the denial of a return to work permission by her employee. On the other hand, in the Haimes case, the plaintiffs seek compensation from the hospital for medical malpractice. Also, the appeals of these two cases are frivolous because, based on the application of the law, the appellants will definitely lose in the cases.
Berman, P. (2010). Represent Yourself in Court: How to Prepare & Try a Winning Case. Carlifornia: Nolo Press.
Biggar, B. (2004). They Sued For Millions! A Study of Big Money Lawsuits Won In The Last Ten Years. Indiana: AuthorHouse Press.
Bogus, C.T. (2003). Why Lawsuits are good for America. Toronto: York University.
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Haltom, W., & McCann, M. (2004). Distorting the Law: Politics, Media, and the Litigation Crisis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Cheryl L. Vandevender Vs Sheetz, Inc. No. 23463.
Haimes Vs Temple University Hospital. No. 4408.