CORRUPT DEFEAT OF NEW JERSEY'S CONSCIENTIOUS EMPLOYEE PROTECTION ACT

Deposition Transcript Segments of Jane Palaia, Community Medical Center 
Human Resources Department Director 

Jane A. Palaia page 6

A. Yes.

Q. How familiar are you with the events that have led to this litigation involving the discharge of Mr. Miller?

A. I am generally informed on the issue.

Q. Did you have any major role to play with respect to the decision to terminate Mr. Miller?

A. A human resources provides a consultive role to its operational individuals in the facility. And that's the role in which I functioned in this regards.

Q. Tell us precisely how you heard about the charges that were made against Mr. Miller, and what those charges were and what role you played thereafter.

MR. THIBAULT: I'll object to the
form. It's compound, but—

MR. HECKER: It is compound but I
don't think it's unreasonable.

A. I remember that morning, the morning of the events. I don't remember the precise date.
I was informed that there had been
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a drug diversion. And I was involved in a meeting to discuss the issue thereafter.

Q. When you say you heard there was a drug diversion, tell us exactly what you heard?

A. I don't remember precisely who --it may have been Lauren. I don't know precisely, honestly.

Q. And when you were told about a drug diversion, how was that described to you?

A. It just, as I said, it was that there had been a drug diversion.

Q. I mean, is that all you were told?

A. Prior to the meeting, yes. As I recollect, it was fairly early in the morning.

Q. Were you told who had supposedly diverted the drugs?

A. I honestly don't remember what the initial conversation was. I was told there was a drug diversion and that there was a meeting, and I came to the meeting. That's all I recollect.

Q. Where was the meeting held?

A. The meeting was held in the nursing conference room in the nursing administration.

Q. What day was that?
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Jane A. Palaia page 8

A. I don't remember the day.

Q. Who attended the meeting?

A. Myself, Lauren was there, Peter Chiota from the pharmacy and I believe Tony Plinio from security and Mr. Miller.

Q. So Mr. Miller attended the meeting also?

A. I believe that he was in the meeting, yes.

Q. Can you tell us what occurred at the meeting?

A. Again, there might have been two meetings, there might have been one meeting. This is quite awhile ago. My recollection was that there was a discussion of what had happened, and that there was a bunch of -different conversations about the PYXIS machine and the way in which the incident was reported.

Q. Do you remember any details at all with respect to the discussions that took place? You have indicated so far there was a series of discussions that took place at the meeting?

A. Correct.

Q. Do you recall any details in any of those conversations?

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Jane A. Palaia page 9

A. I remember that it was a drug diversion of a narcotic. I believe it was morphine. I believe that my recollection was there were two different items that had been diverted. And there were a lot of different conversations about, again, the PYXIS machine, and the reporting mechanism, and so on and so forth. But I don't really remember the details of those conversations.

Q. When you say "items" are you talking about morphine and some other drug?

A. No, two instances of morphine diversion in two different forms, my recollection is.

Q. Do you remember what the forms were ?

A. I believe one was a syringe and I don't know the other, no. I'm not a nurse. I'm not really that well versed.

Q. We're not testing you on that.

A. I'm just saying I'm not really --I know that there were two drug diversions, one was a syringe. And I honestly don't know the form of the other.
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Jane A. Palaia page 10

Q. Do you recall if the two removals occurred on the same day?

A. I don't have a clear recollection. And -- my recollection is yes, but I guess I have to say, no, because I swore that I would tell the truth, and I can't say that I would swear to it. My recollection was that it did happen on the same day, yes.

Q. Do you remember anything else about the discussions that took place at that first session because you indicated that there was more than one, at the first session?

A. I think what I said was that I wasn't -- you asked me if Mr. Miller was present, and I don't think there was a meeting without him present and then he came in, and I'm not totally clear. There was one meeting that morning. And whether different people -- I don't remember the point at which Mr. Miller came into the meeting.

Q. How many meetings were there in which you participated?

A. One.

Q. You just attended one meeting?

A. One meeting, and there might have

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Jane A. Palaia page 11

been a section of the meeting where Mr. Miller was not present and then he joined the meeting.

Q. Do you remember what Lauren Burke had to say at the meeting?

A. Well, again, there was a lot of conversations about how this particular incident was reported, the PYXIS mechanism, the inventory, the pharmacy tech. I -- no, I don't really remember precisely what Lauren said, no, I don't. I'm sorry.

 Q. Do you remember the reasons that were given, whether by Lauren or anyone else, for suspending Mr. Miller at the time?

A. Well, I know that it is our policy that when there's a drug diversion that a suspension results. And it's called "suspension pending investigation."

Q. Was there any reason given for suspending Mr. Miller other than the drug, diversion?

A. No.

Q. Was there any discussion about complaints that he had filed either with the state or with the hospital about any of the hospital procedures?
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Jane A. Palaia page 12

A. Absolutely not.

Q. Was there any complaint indicated with respect to the way he performed his duties other than the drug diversion?

A. No, not that I was aware of in that meeting.

Q. Was there any issue that arose concerning the way he charted his drug medications or the way he administered drugs to his patients ?

A. I honestly don't know. Again, there were a lot of discussions about how it was determined that this drug was missing. And precisely what that has to do with charting, I don't know. I don't know enough about it to say.

Q. Am I correct in suggesting that what you recall focused primarily or only on the drug diversion?

A. I believe what I said, and I'll say again is, I don't know what role the charting played in that particular matter. I remember that there was a drug diversion and a suspension pending investigation.

I don't recollect whether or not there was a discussion of the charting of the
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Jane A. Palaia page 13

dispersing of the drugs or not. I don't.

Q. And is it fair to say that all you do remember is the discussion about the drug diversion ?

A. There was a lot of discussion that was of a, what I would call, a technical or clinical nature. And as I'm not a registered nurse, I'm really not an authority on -- they went through a lot of different things, the PYXIS information, the information on the patients, the patients' charts. So I can't say. I don't recollect anything in particular.

Q. Did you look at any documentation when you first --

A. I don't believe there was any documentation that I was given at that meeting. I know that Lauren had information and I believe the pharmacist did as well as Mr. Cinerro.

Q. But you don't remember what the documentation said or anything?

A. No. My recollection is that it was information about the PYXIS machine and perhaps a patient's chart, but I don't remember anything more specific than that.

Q. What role did you play thereafter

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with respect to Mr. Miller's case in terms of both his suspension and his discharge?

A. My role as the chief human resources executive is to provide consultive services to the operational folks in the hospital on human resources matters. From time to time, I would consult with Lauren on the status of the case.

Q. Were you ever asked for any advice as to how to proceed in this case?

A. I believe there was one point in time when there was a question about representation at a meeting. There were some procedural questions that I was involved in. In other words, a meeting, an investigatory meeting and who could be present at the investigatory meeting. And I was involved in those discussions.

Q. Do you remember what was discussed at those meetings?

 A. No. I believe the question was raised whether or not an employee could have an attorney representation at a meeting, an internal meeting.

Q. And what was the answer to the
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Jane A. Palaia page 15

question?

A. The answer was no.

Q. And where did you develop that answer?

A. Well, from my previous knowledge of such matters. And also we did consult, my recollection is, we consulted with our corporate labor relations director I think he was at that time.

Q. And who is that?

A. Arnie Manzo.

Q. And do you remember that Arnie Manzo told you that Mr. Miller did not need to be given the opportunity to have counsel?

MR. THIBAULT: I'll object to the
form. That's not the testimony, but you can answer the question.

MR. HECKER: Well, let's go back to
that then.

Q. What exactly were you advised by Mr. Manzo?

A. I knew that there had been a request. My understanding was that there had been a request to have counsel present. And that the answer was no.
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Jane A. Palaia page 16

That is our general practice that we do not permit employees to have 
representation during meetings of that, internal meetings.

Q. But this was a meeting that, to some extent, would determine Mr. Miller's job status, was it not?

A. Well, I believe that that's why Mr. Manzo was consulted in addition to myself.

Q. And, again, what did Mr. Manzo advise with respect to counsel?


A. His advice was that counsel could not be present.

Q. And was his advice the basis for your advice?

A. I believe that Mr. Manzo replied directly -- replied to Lauren. And Lauren, in turn, replied to Mr. Miller. So I was asked the question and I gave my answer and then we consulted with Mr. Manzo.

Q. Did you do anything other than speak to Mr. Manzo about that question?

A. No.

Q. Do you know whether he consulted with the attorneys for the hospital?

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