Michigan Hospital Settles Nurse's Explosive Race-Discrimination Suit, Gets Hit With Another

Even while it settled one lawsuit, the Flint, Michigan hospital faced another suit alleging it honored a man's request that no African-American nurses take care of his newborn. And a civil rights group connected with Rev. Al Sharpton vowed to proceed with a protest in front of the hospital Monday.

Late Friday, Hurley Medical Center announced it settled the suit with neonatal nurse Tonya Battle, a long-time employee, after widespread publicity (including publication of the purported note in the patient's chart, saying, "No African-American nurses to care for baby, per Dad's request.")

The second lawsuit was filed Thursday by Carlotta Armstrong, who also is a veteran nurse at the hospital, according to USA Today. "I am asking for justice," her attorney Tom Pabst told the paper. "I want to present this to a jury. I want to see what the community thinks about it. I don't want to settle this."

Initially, the hospital had denied that it had honored the father's request. But on Friday evening, the hospital CEO, Melany Gavullic (above at podium) announced a settlement to Battle's lawsuit (the hospital didn't disclose what that settlement involved). Gavullic instead read a prepared apology, saying, "We regret that our policies were not well enough understood and followed, causing the perception that Hurley condoned this conduct." She said that Hurley is "fundamentally opposed to any form of racial discrimination." She didn't address the second suit, which was filed Thursday.

Battle had alleged that the man complained to her supervisor after he found her caring for his baby. He pulled up his sleeve and showed the supervisor "some type of tattoo which was believed to be a swastika." After that, a note was attached to the baby's clipboard, advising staff that no African-American nurses could care for the child.

The Michigan chapter of Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network says that it still plans to protest outside the Hurley Medical Center on Monday, MichiganLive.com reported. Sam Riddle, the political director of NAN, claimed that it was "challenging the institutional behavioral practices of Hurley....We won't go away like a plaintiff in a lawsuit. We're here until the institutional practices of Hurley stop."

MichiganLive reported that Riddle, a former Flint mayoral candidate, was released from federal prison last year after "serving time" in a Detroit bribery case.

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A mistake was made by an employee of the hospital of honoring a request from a racist father. I would have told the man that he may want to take his wife and baby elsewhere because it was not possible to honor his request. In this day and age people have gone over the edge and killed people. What if this father came into the hospital and saw a nurse that he did not want to care for his baby hold the child and he shot her and a lot of other innocent people? I feel that the hospital has been used first by the racist father and then by one of their own employees. The nurse was not harmed by his request but she sued the hospital anyway. I am against racism but I don't have respect for this nurse as she does not have the dignity of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. She got her money, I hope it was worth it to her.

March 03 2013 at 10:46 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

It always was about the money. The shakedown just got bigger when they settled the first claim. Many people probably don't remember the shakedown protests in front of texas businesses like Texaco and Dr Pepper years ago. In the 1990s, J.J. (Jesse Jackson) was experiencing his shakedown decade. J.J. can't really put on the same kind of a show anymore, because of his own (cough, cough) indiscretions that came to light. Al Sharpton (the leader without a flock) has stepped up to collect a few donations for his network. I guess I should be grateful - one of these shakedowns every few years is much less annoying than being hassled to give to this or that foundation every time I try to spend a dime at the grocery store or even a fast food restaurant.

March 03 2013 at 6:11 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Sharptons ratings are so low at MSNBC he needs some publicity to help him out...all about the money..this black was no more emotionally damaged about this than any random person in Russia...

February 28 2013 at 3:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's about the money now.

February 28 2013 at 3:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't make excuses for racism. The father was Wrong, the hospital was Wrong and the Nurse was Right to hold the hospital accountable. Enough with the silly excuses blaming Nurse for doing the courageous and right thing and blaming Al Sharpton for his demonstration. What are you doing to step up and call out racism yourself so that everyone can work in a non-discriminatory environment and poerform at their very best? If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem!!

February 26 2013 at 2:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to soarsixtz's comment

Thank you! The truth isn't going to go over well with the racists though!

March 03 2013 at 5:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Okay, how about this people:
1. The hospital was wrong for indulging the father and his request and then noting it on the patient chart.
2. The hosptial was wrong for not allowing any black nurses to care for the baby, they should have stood up for their employees and just do the right thing. They have to pay for this injustice one way or another.
3. No you do not get to be racist or bigoted out in public and tread on other peoples rights.
4. Black people are not racists, that is something that other races(you know who you are) own totally and started and keep it going. Some Black people may not like or trust white people but that is a different story.
5. Al Sharpton is needed to bring the spotlight on these types of situations and no he does not speak for all black people. That's like saying, Rush Limbaugh speaks for all white people.
6. Stop trying to cover up and paint the picture of black people being racist, looking for money and the myth of you should just be able to move along and get over it. The covers have to pulled back off of racist/bigoted behavior when it happens so that we do not forget.
7. You have to learn from the past or you are doomed to keep repeating it.
8. It does not matter what color the nurse was, nor the father of the baby.....what matters is that bigotry cannot be given a chance to take hold because it will destroy everything it touches.

February 26 2013 at 1:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Y's comment

all good xcpt 4 blacks r no different, hate is hate, hating someone because of their race is racism, racism is hate, all people are subject to hateful racial intolerance and should reject it.

If u r black and you hate because of race, u r racist, this includes self hate...

February 26 2013 at 10:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

She should thank that guy. For the huuuuuge payday she's about to get. Cha-Ching!!

And seriously -- the person at the hospital who complied with this "gentleman's" request should probably not be entrusted with any patients, because their judgement skills don't seem to be up to snuff. Yikes!

February 26 2013 at 1:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hipyoungmom's comment

Put yourself in the manager's shoes. Showing the tattoos on the father's arm to the hospital manager is akin to making a threat. He wasn't threatening to sue the manager or hospital if his wishes were not complied with - there was going to be a beating or a shooting. If someone said " you can do xyz, or else..." and showed a gang tattoo from one of the LA gangs, I think the threat would be better understood. These are not nice people, who were simply asking for a hamburger without onion at a drive-thru diner. They do belong to gangs, and if anything they see a larger segment of the population as a threat than traditional inner-city gangs.

March 03 2013 at 6:11 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to anonymous's comment

Then, she should have gotten a superior....before giving into such nonsense and bs.

April 25 2013 at 9:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

That is how Al Sharpton makes a living is sueing for prejudice..Look here is prejudice in both black and white people .. I know many blacks that are good people and love God and country.But, to a black.. they are Black first and foremost and to me that is discrimination in itself.. If truth be told the white population of this country should be outraged that we have a law to give a black job preferrence over a white..THAT is discrimination in my book,, and if a white person where to picket at all the government buildings he would be removed im sure.or worse.

February 26 2013 at 12:55 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to laura's comment
Larry D. Joshway

Al Sharpton Has not sued anyone.

July 29 2013 at 7:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert Johnston

Really? Another Lawsuit and Al Sharpton also. Sharpton doesn't pay his taxes and files untrue allegations (twana brawley case) Riddley is a felon? Where is the harm..so a patient does not want you to care for his daughter because he thinks you are too old or not his religion, etc.. Who really cares anymore..This is just everyday life with all its sleights and arrows. Black people get away with murder in this country (see OJ) and run to get a lawyer everytime they think they can score an easy dollar...Where do I file for all the times I have been called a HONKEY or A CRACKER?? Oh yes, my little feelings were hurt and now I can get money and those mean ole white folks will just pay increased hospital bills because we in charge now! (yea, racist rant) Screw all of you who are just too lazy to work and can get away with this crap because we elected a black President and Oprah says it, so it must be true. A day of recokening is truly coming.

February 26 2013 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Robert Johnston's comment

Shame on you.

April 25 2013 at 9:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Larry D. Joshway

A day of recokening is truly comming to people like you.

July 29 2013 at 7:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


February 26 2013 at 7:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to WADE T SHARP's comment

And what of Affirmative Action? You cannot spell, yet you are, what, suggesting that someone is unqualified because of Affirmative Action?

Affirmative Action is competent action not incompetent action. It enables qualified people who have been denied a reasonable opportunity of success to be included in educational and work success. Any Affirmative Action admission or job hiring program requires that the applicant meet standard criteria of good grades, positive personnel references, good performance, etc., and exit requirements are the same as those for al others.

For example, everyone, regardless of how they entered a college program, must meet all requirements to graduate according to those listed in the college catalogue. But you are not really interested in the fact that this nurse was just as qualified as the others in that she met all criteria to graduate and earn her RN. No, you want to suggest she was unqualified because of Affirmative Action. And that is a Lie racists like yourself enjoy keeping alive. But racism is backwardness and ignorance and your post makes that perfectly clear.

February 26 2013 at 2:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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