Cancer patient's suit against Flaget settled out of court

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 A lawsuit against Flaget Memorial Hospital in Nelson County alleging it unlawfully fired a nurse after she was diagnosed with breast cancer has been settled out of court.

A close friend of Jennifer Sanders reported Sanders had settled with Flaget during a pretrial conference in December.

"Jennifer was not able to disclose any of the settlement with me," her friend, Malinda Carl, said.

The pretrial conference began at 10 a.m. and did not adjourn until nearly 6 p.m. Before it began, a dozen or more supporters of Sanders' gathered outside the Nelson County Justice Center. They were mostly family and friends, Carl said.

"We're here in support of her and everything she's having to go through," Carl said. One member of the crowd passed out pink Breast Cancer Awareness ribbons.

According to a letter from Sanders' daughter, Cheyenne Holbert, 19, Sanders was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer Oct. 1, 2008. Over the next eight months, Sanders underwent chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy and other treatments. But on Jan. 30, 2009, her employment as a registered nurse in the Flaget Emergency Room, where she had worked for six years, was terminated.

Sanders has been unable to find a job as an RN since then, since her record shows she was terminated, according to Carl.

In the lawsuit filed in 2009, Sanders alleged her termination violated the Kentucky Equal Opportunities Act. The complaint further alleged Flaget's conduct was willful and wanton and that Sanders and her condition were "topics of conversation among mid-level to top-level management personnel," causing her "pain and suffering, humiliation, embarrassment and mental anguish, all in violation of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)."

Sanders' attorney, Larry Raikes, told The Kentucky Standard in 2009 that Sanders was seeking reimbursement for the fringe benefits she lost, such as health insurance, and sufficient compensation for her medical bills and needs until she could find another job.

A Flaget spokesman declined to comment on the particular case at the time.

The nature of Tuesday's settlement is unclear, and further information or comments from those involved were unavailable at press time.

The case had been scheduled for trial Dec. 12.