Conflicts of Interest; Retaliation
Simpson v. Vanderbilt (M.D. Tenn., Mar. 16, 2016)
Order and opinion by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee granting Defendant Vanderbilt University's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff Jean Simpson was employed as a faculty member specializing in breast pathology at Vanderbilt University's School of Medicine until she was terminated for performing diagnostic breast pathology consults through an external corporation that she founded while continuing to work at Vanderbilt. Simpson filed suit, asserting that male employees who engaged in outside consulting were not terminated from their employment, that Defendant only took issue with her consultation work after she complaints of gender discrimination, and that Defendant's investigation and subsequent termination of her employment were retaliatory. The Court found Defendant entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff's employment claims, concluding that Simpson failed to identify any similarly-situated male colleague to support a prima facie case of sex discrimination, and that even if she had, she was unable to demonstrate that her termination was a pretext for discrimination due to the fact that she violated University conflict-of-interest policies and made no effort to remedy her policy violations.