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Cumberland County officials challenge lawsuit by fired nursing home administrator

Cumberland County officials are firing back at the former director of the county nursing home who is suing them in federal court on claims that her civil rights were breached and she was subjected to a hostile work environment.

Karen DeWoody wasn’t wrongly fired from the Claremont Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, those officials contend in a response filed to her U.S. Middle District Court suit this week. Her November 2014 termination was justified, they claim, and was “due to her poor judgment and decision-making skills.”

County officials argue that those supposed failings were illustrated by what they deemed DeWoody’s mishandling of an August 2014 incident in which a resident of the home in Middlesex Township was left unattended in the sun for hours. The resident, who had congestive heart failure and hypertension, was found drooling and unresponsive in his wheelchair. He had a body temperature of 106.3 degrees.

County officials claim in their court reply that DeWoody didn’t report the incident to the state Department of Health. The resident’s family did. DeWoody also failed to notify the county commissioners, they contend.

“The county commissioners voted to terminate Ms. DeWoody due to her poor judgment and decision making skills as demonstrated by her handling of the August 2014 incident,” the county’s court filing states.

County officials also deny DeWoody’s claim that she was subjected to discriminatory statements about women. She never made a complaint to them about such alleged abuse, they claim.

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