Judge Denies Baker College's Request for Dismissal in Vaccine Case
For Immediate Release
| Posted Mar 08, 2016
Flint, MI - The Genesee County Circuit Court has denied the request of Baker College to dismiss or otherwise highly restrict the lawsuit brought by a former nursing student who claims she was wrongly dismissed from the nursing program at Baker's Owosso campus due to discussions involving vaccines.
Nichole Rolfe is suing Baker College after she was dismissed from the school's nursing program because she questioned when Baker College instructed students to misrepresent and lie to patients in order to get them vaccinated.
The case stems from two separate classes held in 2013 by two different instructors who, within days of each other, instructed students who were in the midst of clincials with real patients to threaten and panic patients into accepting immunizations. Threats included the withholding of state medical assistance payments, denial of access to newborns, and the giving of false information.
Under Michigan law, patients have the right to choose—and reject—any and all medical treatments offered by hospitals.
During depositions, the Baker College instructors deny these instructions were given. Others in the room at the time have testified, under oath, such directives were issued.
Rolfe, a student who has paid Baker College more than $40,000 in tuition and fees, merely asked both instructors, how can nurses do that?
In the days following, the nursing department's director decided to dismiss Rolfe at an impromptu meeting right before a scheduled class.
Rolfe, in court documents, claims her dismissal was for simply questioning the illegal directions to the nursing students. Baker College argues her dismissal was for the "oppositional" and "aggressive" way Rolfe's questions were asked.
After pre-trial evidence exchanges, Baker College requested the Court to dismiss the case citing that Rolfe's evidence, being audio-recordings of meetings with administrators while at Baker College, violated Baker College's audio-recording policies. Baker College also sought to limit the amount of damages claimed by Rolfe.
In an oral decision from the bench, Judge Joseph Farah denied the motions concluding that none of the arguments warrant dismissal or the placing of limitations on the case. The decision now permits the case to go before a Genesee County jury.
"The Circuit Court's decision permits jurors to actually hear what Baker College actually did and what their instructors are teaching future Michigan nurses, the very nurses who will be caring for patients in their weakest physical condition," states Philip L. Ellison, attorney for Rolfe. "Nurses need to obey the patient's directives, not threaten or lie".
Also at the hearing, Baker College additionally sought to preclude the release of certain emails between the nursing department's director and an instructor about the case, and to prevent the last deposition of a key witness, another former nursing student. The judge denied both of Baker's requests.
The case is slated to head to trial in summer 2016.