On Friday, a complaint submitted to the Court of Common Pleas of Summit County, Ohio was moved to federal court after the defendants filed a Notice of Removal. The case was brought by a former employee against Argos Health , a medical billing company, alleging employment discrimination.
The defendants argued that the case should be removed based on the diversity of citizenship in the case, as they say the parties are citizens of different states, and that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.
The notice stems from a complaint filed in April which alleges that the defendants were engaging in discriminatory practices against the plaintiff.
After being relieved of his duties as a claims resolution specialist at Argos Health inc. in February 2020, David Nunley decided to take legal action against the company, claiming in court documents that he was discriminated against by his employers on the basis of both race and gender. Nunley, an African-American male, stated that there were many instances where he was reprimanded by defendant David Rothgerber for actions that fellow employees of a different race and gender were never held accountable for. Examples provided in the documents include having his phone on the desk during meetings, eating at his desk during lunch breaks, and gifting alcohol to co-workers.
Other charges include aiding and abetting against Rothgerber, as well as retaliation and negligent training, retention, and supervision on the part of Argos. The plaintiff alleges that these actions were done with malicious intent and that when he was eventually fired in February, it was done in order to deter others from seeking help with HR and speaking up about any concerns regarding unjust employment practices.
The defendants dispute some of these allegations in the notice of removal, claiming that charges cannot be brought upon Rothgerber due to a state law that was passed just two weeks prior to the plaintiff’s filing. The new law, the notice of removal says, eliminates individual liability for supervisors and managers relating to employment discrimination claims unless said supervisor is also the direct employer of said employee.
The notice also denies accusations of aiding and abetting on the part of Rothgerber, arguing that the plaintiff’s description of his time at Argos did not include language that would insinuate any planned discrimination against the plaintiff or planned removal of the plaintiff from the company.
The defendants used this rationale to argue that Rothgerber’s citizenship should play no part in which court should hear the case and claimed that the plaintiff only included him in the complaint for the purpose of keeping the case out of federal court.