Nosal-Tabor v. Sharp Chula Vista Medical Ctr.Annotate this Case
Karen Nosal-Tabor was a registered nurse who previously worked in the cardiology department at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center (Sharp). In 2011, Sharp implemented "nurse-led" cardiac stress testing in which a physician is not physically present during the tests. Nosal-Tabor repeatedly refused to perform nurse-led stress tests and made numerous complaints concerning the testing to Sharp's management. Among Nosal-Tabor's complaints was that stress testing constituted the practice of medicine and that Sharp had not adopted legally adequate standardized procedures to permit its nurses to perform such tests. Sharp's management told Nosal-Tabor that Sharp had adopted legally sufficient standardized procedures, and that these procedures permitted nurses such as Nosal-Tabor to conduct nurse-led stress testing. After Nosal-Tabor continued to refuse to perform nurse-led stress testing and to complain about its implementation, Sharp disciplined her and eventually terminated her employment. Nosal-Tabor sued Sharp, alleging wrongful termination and two causes of action premised on claims of improper workplace retaliation. Sharp moved for summary judgment, which the trial court granted the motion, ruling that Nosal-Tabor presented "no credible evidence that the Standardized Procedures in place at the time of her termination were insufficient." On appeal, Nosal-Tabor claims that the trial court erred in granting Sharp's motion for summary judgment. Her primary contention is that the trial court erred in concluding that there was no evidence upon which a reasonable juror could find that Sharp had failed to adopt standardized procedures that comply with the Guidelines. Nosal-Tabor contended that this error caused the court to improperly conclude that she would be unable to establish any of her causes of action. The Court of Appeal agreed: the trial court erred in granting summary judgment for Sharp. The documents that Sharp held out as its standardized procedures did not contain several elements that are required by the Guidelines. In light of these deficiencies, a reasonable juror could find that Sharp improperly retaliated against, and wrongfully terminated, Nosal-Tabor when she complained about, and refused to perform, nurse-led stress testing pursuant to Sharp's legally deficient procedures.