Melinda J. Brown, appellant.
Regional West Medical Center et al., appellees.
Summary Judgment: Appeal and Error. An
appellate court will affirm a lower court's grant of
summary judgment if the pleadings and admitted evidence show
that there is no genuine issue as to any material facts or as
to the ultimate inferences that may be drawn from those facts
and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
___. In reviewing a summary judgment, an appellate court
views the evidence in the light most favorable to the party
against whom the judgment was granted and gives that party
the benefit of all reasonable inferences deducible from the
Limitations of Actions: Appeal and Error.
The point at which a statute of limitations begins to run
must be determined from the facts of each case, and the
decision of the district court on the issue of the statute of
limitations will not be set aside by an appellate court
unless clearly wrong.
Termination of Employment: Workers'
Compensation. To establish a prima facie case for
retaliatory discharge for filing a workers' compensation
claim, a plaintiff must establish the following elements: (1)
The plaintiff filed a workers' compensation claim, (2)
the plaintiff was terminated from employment, and (3) a
causal link existed between the termination and the
workers' compensation claim.
Termination of Employment: Workers' Compensation:
Evidence: Time. A plaintiff supports an assertion of
retaliatory motive by demonstrating proximity in time between
the workers' compensation claim and the firing, along
with evidence of satisfactory work performance and
Neb. 938] Appeal from the District Court for Scotts Bluff
County: Leo P. Dobrovolny, Judge. Affirmed.
M. Brenner, of Robert M. Brenner Law Office, for appellant.
P. Olsen, Jr., Steven W. Olsen, and John L. Selzer, of
Simmons Olsen Law Firm, PC, for appellee Regional West
Heavican, C.J., Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Funke, and
Papik, JJ., and Schreiner, District Judge.
Schreiner, District Judge
J. Brown appeals from an order of the district court granting
summary judgment in favor of Regional West Medical Center
(RWMC) and dismissing her complaint for employment
discrimination and retaliatory discharge. The district court
found that Brown's discrimination claims were barred by
the applicable statute of limitations. It dismissed her
retaliation claim on the basis that there was no evidence to
support a finding that her termination was retaliatory. For
the reasons set forth below, we affirm the judgment of the
was employed by RWMC as a customer service representative in
the patient financial services department. On August 16,
2011, Brown fell in the parking lot of RWMC as she was
leaving work, injuring her right hand and wrist. She reported
for work the following day, but was instructed to seek
medical care shortly after she arrived. Brown notified RWMC
of the injury and made a workers' compensation claim.
Despite being cleared to work with certain restrictions as of
March 21, 2012, she has not returned to work since that day.
providing Brown with 12 weeks of requested leave under the
Family Medical Leave Act, RWMC sent a letter to Brown on
December 13, 2011, advising her that she had been [300 Neb.
939] approved for an additional 8 weeks of director-approved
leave which would expire on January 7, 2012. The letter
further advised Brown that she was "not guaranteed a
return to any job" but was "encouraged to apply to
any posted open position" with RWMC.
December 16, 2011, Brown delivered a letter to RWMC asking
for reasonable accommodations to allow her to continue her
employment, either in her current department or in another
department within RWMC. RWMC responded with a letter asking
Brown to complete an employee accommodation request form in
order to determine whether she was eligible for
accommodation. Brown completed the form, writing that she had
"limited use of [her] Right hand," and requested
the following accommodation: "Want a job that I can come
back to after I am cleared by my Doctor . . . ."
January 19, 2012, RWMC sent a letter to Brown informing her
that her period of director-approved leave had been exhausted
as of January 8, 2012, and that she was being placed on
furlough until August 15. It explained that although her
position was not being held, she would remain on the
employment rolls for purposes of receiving benefits while in
furlough status. The letter further notified Brown that her
employment would terminate on August 15 unless she applied
for and secured another position with RWMC before ...