954 A.2d 1051 (Me. 2008), Pen-07-652, Costain v. Sunbury Primary Care, P.A.

Docket Nº:Docket No. Pen-07-652.
Citation:954 A.2d 1051, 2008 ME 142
Opinion Judge:SILVER, J.
Party Name:Kimberly COSTAIN v. SUNBURY PRIMARY CARE, P.A.
Attorney:Allan K. Townsend, Esq. (orally), Peter Thompson & Associates, Portland, ME, for Kimberly Costain. Allan K. Townsend, Esq. (orally), Peter Thompson & Associates, Portland, ME, for Kimberly Costain., Robert C. Brooks, Esq. (orally), Anna Welch, Esq., Verrill Dana, LLP, Portland, ME, for Sunbury Pr...
Case Date:September 09, 2008
Court:Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
 
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Page 1051

954 A.2d 1051 (Me. 2008)

2008 ME 142

Kimberly COSTAIN

v.

SUNBURY PRIMARY CARE, P.A.

Docket No. Pen-07-652.

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine.

September 9, 2008

Argued: April 9, 2008.

Page 1052

Allan K. Townsend, Esq. (orally), Peter Thompson & Associates, Portland, ME, for Kimberly Costain.

Robert C. Brooks, Esq. (orally), Anna Welch, Esq., Verrill Dana, LLP, Portland, ME, for Sunbury Primary Care, P.A.

John P. Gause, Commission Counsel, Maine Human Rights Commission, Augusta, ME, for amicus curiae Maine Human Rights Commission.

James A. McCormack, Esq., Taylor, McCormack & Frame, LLC, Portland, ME, for amicus curiae New England Legal Foundation.

Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and CLIFFORD, ALEXANDER, LEVY, SILVER, MEAD, and GORMAN, JJ.

SILVER, J.

[¶ 1] Kimberly Costain appeals from the dismissal of her amended complaint by the Superior Court (Penobscot County, Hjelm, J. ). The complaint alleged that Costain's employment with Sunbury Primary Care, P.A., was terminated in violation of the Whistleblowers' Protection Act (WPA), 26 M.R.S.A. § § 831-840 (1988 & Supp.2002), and the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA), 5 M.R.S.A. § § 4551-4634 (2002 & Supp.2004).1 Costain argues that her participation in an investigation was a protected action under the WPA and therefore she has a cause of action under the WPA and the MHRA. We affirm the judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

[¶ 2] Costain alleges that from 2000 to 2002, while she was a patient at Sunbury, she engaged in a personal relationship with her doctor, who was employed at Sunbury at that time. In 2002, a complaint was filed with the Maine Board of Osteopathic Licensure against the doctor. Costain was asked to participate in the Board's investigation, and she did.

[¶ 3] At the time Costain participated in the investigation of the doctor, she was not employed by Sunbury. She began working for Sunbury as a rehabilitation aide in early 2005. Several weeks later, Sunbury terminated Costain's employment after learning that she had participated in the investigation of the doctor. Costain filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission and received a right-to-sue letter.

[¶ 4] Costain filed a complaint in the Superior Court alleging a violation of the WPA. Sunbury moved to dismiss the complaint, whereupon Costain moved to amend the complaint to include a count alleging a violation of the MHRA. The court granted the motion to amend and dismissed the amended complaint with...

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