Fifth circuit finds for Hospital District in FMLA case

   Harris Health (Harris County Hospital District) obtained a favorable ruling in the case Alfred v. Harris County Hospital District on Friday, December 2, 2016.  A manager  claimed  that her demotion was caused by her taking medical leave under the “self-care provision” of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  The federal district court granted Harris Health’s motion to dismiss on the basis that Harris Health cannot be subjected to suits for damages by employees alleging violations of the “self-care provisions” of the FMLA. 

   The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the district court did not err in dismissing FMLA self-care retaliation claims against Harris Health for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on sovereign immunity.  The 5th Circuit also determined that the district court did not abuse discretion in denying plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend her complaint to add a FMLA family-care retaliation claim, to which sovereign immunity would not apply. 

   Assistant County Attorney Sara L. Thomas was the lead attorney in the trail and appeal of this case.

   The case can be viewed at