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Maine federal court permits whistleblower case against Correctional Medical Services, Inc. to go trial

On February 4, 2011, Judge Woodcock, of the U.S. District Court in Bangor, ruled that a jury could reasonably find that Correctional Medical Services, Inc. fired a whistleblower named Thomas Halkett because he blew the whistle on Correctional Medical Services’ (CMS) allegedly unlawful activity.

CMS provides health care to prison inmates across the country. It is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Halkett is a licensed clinical professional counselor. In connection with his employment at CMS, he provided mental health care to inmates from Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport, Maine.

Throughout the course of his employment, Mr. Halkett repeatedly complained about what, he believed to be, illegal breaches of confidentiality laws. For instance, he complained that some nurses illegally removed documents from the medical file of an inmate. He alleged that these nurses removed the documents in order to defend themselves against a complaint filed with the Maine Board of Nursing. Judge Woodcock held that there was enough evidence for a jury to reasonably conclude that CMS fired Mr. Halkett because of his opposition to these illegal activities. CMS denies these allegations. As such, a jury will likely have to decide what actually happened.

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