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Yuan v University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Case No. 01-09-00947-CV (TX Ct. App. 1, Jan. 26, 2012)

Dr. Jiuhong Yuan appeals the summary judgment of his suit against the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health) in which he alleged retaliation for having filed a report of sexual harassment. Yuan contends the summary judgment was error because he had established a prima facie case and there exist questions of material fact precluding summary judgment. We affirm.

Background



Dr. Yuan is a research associate in UT Health’s Department of Surgery, Division of Urology. In September 2005, the Division of Urology and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology began a collaborative research project based in the lab of the project’s principal investigator, Dr. Yang Xia, an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Yuan collected and analyzed data for the project, reporting to both Dr. Xia and Dr. Run Wang, the Director of the Division of Urology.

According to Dr. Yuan, the collaboration between the Division of Urology and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology proceeded smoothly until his discovery in March 2006 that Drs. Xia and Rodney Kellems, Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, were having an affair. No longer comfortable reporting to Dr. Xia in her office, Dr. Yuan began communicating via email and through his supervisor, Dr. Wang. According to Dr. Yuan, both Drs. Xia and Kellems felt that Dr. Yuan was being disrespectful of Dr. Xia and complained to Dr. Wang about his behavior and demanded an apology. After Dr. Wang advised him to do so for the sake of the project, Dr. Yuan apologized.




 

 

Judge(s): Jim Sharp
Jurisdiction: Texas First Court of Appeals
Related Categories: Employment
 
Court of Appeals Judge(s)
Harvey Brown
Terry Jennings
Jim Sharp

 

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groups, due both to budget constraints and conflicts between her and dr. yuan. 2 her colleagues did not unanimously agree change was appropriate, dr. davis yuan filed a complaint with ut health alleging sexual harassment and research according to dr. yuan, was to gauge his reaction to their most recent encounter, be the first author of that manuscript. after dr. wang advised him to do so for the sake of the project, dr. yuan genuine issue of fact if reasonable and fair-minded jurors could differ in their 11 moreover, the report stated dr. yuan's research misconduct allegations were more be amended to include dr. yuan, i will ask you and the colleague's decision not to list dr. yuan as the first author of the paper. dr. yuan show that the stated reasons were pretextual and that the real reason was cleared as you know, i just want to make sure whether you and [dr. yuan] still in the paper submitted by dr. xia, this was in violation of ut health's stated policy, and on november 1, 2007, dr. yuan filed a complaint with the texas health's motion for summary judgment. whether drs. xia and kellems violated the university's sexual harassment policy. communicating via email and through his supervisor, dr. wang. according to dr. in january 2008, dr. xia emailed dr. wang stating: ". . . you mentioned on appeal from the 157th district court realty, inc. v. siegler, 899 s.w.2d 195, 197 (tex. 1995). the evidence raises a 4 burden of showing that the articulated, legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for davis' to correlate state law with federal law in employment discrimination cases.'"). however, as to whether dr. yuan has met his burden with respect to the second the jci that no change in authorship is warranted. if yuan collected and analyzed data for the project, reporting to both dr. xia and dr. trial court case no. 2008-53937 on august 23, 2007, dr. yuan was informed that ut health had concluded name should have been included as an author in a paper recently submitted to and 9 current manuscript because the manuscript did not involve the in-vivo data that he internal complaint was pending, dr. xia prepared and forwarded to dr. wang a wang or dr. yuan as co-investigators. he also alleges that dr. xia presented the the project's principal person and deserved identification as an author. jci then their contribution. he further complains that his reputation in the scientific until his discovery in march 2006 1 does not support such an inference. although dr. davis stated that he was dr. xia's paper was published by the journal of clinical investigation (jci) no. 01-09-00947-cv conclusively negate at least one of the essential elements of each of the plaintiff's of jci. 1997)). when, as here, the trial court's summary judgment does not state the basis court of appeals then to notify me as to whether or not it is the unanimous dr. wang responded, thanking dr. xia for the offer but declining because he dr. yuan's contention is that when dr. davis weighed in on the authorship 7 authors on this paper review the [ut health] guidelines, authors to notify jci of your request for a correction to conclusion to be drawn from the evidence. see city of keller v. wilson, 168 v. harris county, texas decision of the authors that the authorship of this paper material at an international meeting without notifying them or crediting them for for the issue, we review the entire record in the light most favorable to the nonmovant, investigation is over and cleared. now the school's investigation is over and in march 2008. dr. yuan was not listed as an author. angered by the omission of yuan, both drs. xia and kellems felt that dr. yuan was being disrespectful of dr. crediting favorable evidence if reasonable jurors could do so, and disregarding xia and complained to dr. wang about his behavior and demanded an apology. worth 2006, no pet.). dr. yuan must establish that, absent his protected activity, dr. jiuhong yuan appeals the summary judgment of his suit against the statute. see tex. lab. code ann. 21.001 (west 2006); autozone, inc. v. reyes, was appropriate for him to be listed as a co-corresponding author for dr. xia's were dr. yuan to establish a prima facie case of retaliation, the burden s.w.3d 802, 816 (tex. 2005). by dr. xia and colleagues was handled appropriately" and saw "no need to establishes that dr. davis forwarded jci's email to dr. xia and her colleagues and granted ut health's motion for summary judgment. adverse," i.e., "the employer's actions must be harmful to the point that they could mcmillon v. texas dep't of ins., 963 s.w.2d 935, 940 (tex. app.--austin 1998, and texas courts follow the federal statutes and cases in applying the texas he engaged in a protected activity, (2) ut health took an adverse employment for a revised authorship list. the summary judgment evidence conclusively background first district of texas the adverse employment action would not have occurred when it did. see id.; should be changed. if it is not the unanimous decision of 6 that drs. xia and rodney kellems, chair of the "confident that the selection of individuals to be included as authors of the paper wang and yuan to publish a second manuscript based upon the in-vivo data submitted on may 30, 2007. authors of the paper by dr. xia and colleagues was handled appropriately. i see no no pet.). dr. yuan need not establish that the protected activity was the sole cause email to jci was pretextual and that the real reason was retaliation. the trial court recites the criteria to be used to determine authorship of research publications. ------------------------ at houston, appellee notice of right to file a civil action dated july 10, 2008, and on september 5, and because of conflicting witness accounts, no determination could be made i am requesting that you and your colleagues who are requesting guidance with respect to the authorship dispute and advising him that project and consult the "medical school legal service" before joining dr. xia's will not be become involved in authorship disputes." 272 s.w.3d 588, 592 (tex. 2008) ("by adopting the act, the legislature `intended raise a genuine issue of material fact precluding summary judgment. see centeq contends that dr. kellems also pressured him to give dr. xia all of the project's earlier that you may reconsider to be coauthor in the manuscript if the school's according to dr. yuan, the collaboration between the division of urology activity. herbert v. city of forest hill, 189 s.w.3d 369, 377 (tex. app.--fort consider changes to the authorship of the paper," examined in context, the courts to consider entire record). dr. davis was a messenger, conveying the respect to the first element of his retaliation claim--whether dr. yuan engaged in a memorandum opinion health moved for summary judgment on the grounds that (1) dr. yuan suffered no s.w.3d at 827. we indulge every reasonable inference and resolve any doubts in need to consider changes to the authorship of the paper." a correction to the division of urology. in september 2005, the division of urology and the manuscript for publication on the topic of the collaborative research project research that expressly stated the university policy: "university administration adverse action taken against him. responded, stating that although she was disappointed that dr. yuan would not affirmative defense. cathey v. booth, 900 s.w.2d 339, 341 (tex. 1995). a matter knott, 128 s.w.3d 211, 216 (tex. 2003). conclusions in light of all of the summary judgment evidence. see goodyear tire collaborative research to submit a nih grant application that failed to list either dr. research at the university of texas health sciences center at houston" that appropriately characterized as a dispute regarding authorship and the roles and associate professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology. dr. jim sharp in the authorship decision. jci policy required written agreement of every author there is unanimous agreement that the authorship should causes of action or (2) conclusively establish each essential element of an investigation has asked me to respond to an allegation made by dr. yuan that his on may 30, 2007, based upon this history dating from spring 2006, dr. was done in retaliation for dr. yuan's filing his workforce commission complaint. alleged retaliation for having filed a report of sexual harassment. yuan contends believed it not appropriate for him to be listed as co-author of the manuscript. he if the movant meets its burden, the burden then shifts to the nonmovant to notified jci of the named authors' decision. see id. at 827 (requiring appellate jci policy required all of the authors' written agreement to issue a correction. jiuhong yuan, m.d., appellant his name from the list of credits, dr. yuan contacted jci complaining that he was of dr. xia and dr. yuan's dispute with regard to the order of authorship. dr. xia institution for a decision. he also noted, ". . . it is the policy of [ut health] not to for the court's decision, we must uphold the judgment if any of the theories co-authorship listings. she also professed in an email her willingness to 8 contends that support of dr. xia harms him and constitutes ut health's materially to establish a prima facie case of retaliation, dr. yuan must show that: (l) take an institutional position with respect to the authorship of papers that include dispute and notified jci that dr. yuan should not be listed as an author on the s.w.3d at 816 (stating matter is conclusively established if reasonable people the nonmovant's favor. see sw. elec. power co. v. grant, 73 s.w.3d 211, 215 generated during their collaborative project the previous year and dr. yuan could author. dr. wang forwarded the message to dr. yuan, asking his consideration of department of biochemistry and molecular biology began a collaborative research publish in the journal. panel consists of justices jennings, sharp, and brown. deserves first author and co-corresponding author." employment action. mccoy v. texas instruments, inc., 183 s.w.3d 548, 555 (tex. the majority of the facts detailing dr. yuans' allegations against drs. xia and the civil rights division of the texas workforce commission issued a shifts to ut health to articulate a non-discriminatory reason for the adverse the summary judgment was error because he had established a prima facie case and for purposes of this summary judgment, ut health concedes that with 3 the texas labor code discrimination provisions are modeled after federal law, letter of 03/18/08 i am confident that the selection of individuals to be included as adverse employment action against him. because dr. yuan cannot make a prima contacted dr. peter davis, ut health's executive vice president for research, discriminatory reason for an employment action, the burden returns to dr. yuan to a defendant moving for traditional summary judgment must either (1) the next working day, in a meeting with dr. kellems, the purpose of which, keller, 168 s.w.3d at 82224. to determine if the nonmovant has raised a fact indicated that he would forward the email to dr. yuan and urge his serious run wang, the director of the division of urology. & rubber co. v. mayes, 236 s.w.3d 754, 755 (tex. 2007) (per curiam); city of summary judgment evidence to raise a question of material fact with respect to this opinion issued january 26, 2012 after reviewing the entire record in the light most favorable to dr. yuan, the shortly thereafter, dr. xia informed dr. wang that she wanted to publish a paper established if reasonable people could not differ as to conclusion to be drawn from dr. davis' email suggests that he was siding with dr. xia and endorsing her misconduct on the part of drs. xia and kellems. in july 2007, while dr. yuan's community was damaged when dr. kellems contacted the asian journal of employment action is one that a reasonable employee would find to be "materially yuan did not present evidence raising a fact issue as to whether dr. davis took an retaliation. see quantum chem. corp. v. toennies, 47 s.w.3d 473, 482 (tex. ---------------------- discrimination was a motivating factor in an adverse employment decision"). the working relationship with drs. xia and kellems was strained further in dr. yuan is a research associate in ut health's department of surgery, in an email to drs. yuan and xia, dr. wang stated that he did not believe it accepted for publication in jci." dr. davis pointed out that jci does not get dr. yuan never responded. review dr. yuan's enumerated concerns and the we affirm the trial court's judgment. the authors that a change should be made, i will notify ut health's davis, in turn, contacted dr. xia and the other ten authors conclusion dr. wang the co-corresponding author on the current manuscript: "[s]end me the department of biochemistry and molecular biology, were having an affair. no justice and the department of biochemistry and molecular biology proceeded smoothly had been involved in generating and he declined her offer of co-authorship because original data. dr. yuan maintains that he and dr. wang decided to complete the nonmovant, and indulging every reasonable inference in dr. yuan's favor, dr. kellems are taken from dr. yuan's internal report of sexual harassment, which he of ut's employment actions. herbert, 189 s.w.3d at 377. an adverse could not differ as to conclusion to be drawn from evidence). after dr. xia and 2001) (stating plaintiffs pursing claims under tchr must "show that action against him, and (3) it did so because of his participation in the protected its investigation into his allegations of sexual harassment and research misconduct information that is included in the jci paper. i ask you actionable adverse employment action, and (2) even if he had, he did not meet his decision to exclude him from the list of authors. the summary judgment evidence the summary judgment record makes clear that dr. davis was not involved dr. yuan contends that in may 2006 dr. xia used data from their is conclusively established if reasonable people could not differ as to the 10 discrimination" under federal law. burlington n. & santa fe ry. co. v. white, 548 authors' decision to the jci. see id. at 816 (stating matter is conclusively reporting sexual harassment. issue, dr. yuan offers an alternative interpretation: one could reasonably infer that collaborate on a second manuscript in which dr. yuan would be listed as the first evidence is clear that he neither endorsed nor sided with dr. xia, but simply element of his claim--that he suffered an adverse employment action. decline to be coauthors in the manuscript. please let me know by e-mail." (adenosine signaling and priapism) and her offer to both drs. wang and yuan of workforce commission accusing ut health of retaliating against him for 12 informed jci that no change in authorship was warranted. rather than competent discussion evidence). protected activity--dr. yuan established a prima facie case. the parties disagree, early september 2006, when dr. yuan ran into them at an out-of-town restaurant. manuscript, dr. yuan believed that he was entitled to be listed as first author and 2 13 the university of texas health science center contrary evidence unless reasonable jurors could not. see city of keller, 168 u.s. 53, 57 (2006) (internal quotations omitted).2 1 and production of all original research materials in his possession. dr. yuan consideration. dr. wang forwarded the message to both drs. yuan and kellems. facie case of retaliation, we hold that the trial court did not error in granting ut agree to co-author the manuscript, she was still happy to work with both drs. position and dr. yuan the first author position, contingent upon his cooperation based upon their collaboration. she offered dr. wang the second to the last author andrology and accused him of using the project's data in an article he sought to responsibilities of scientists and a trainee engaged in a collaborative research dr. yuan informed dr. kellems that he felt that dr. xia owed him an apology for the demeaning way she treated him. authorship list was never made. 2008, dr. yuan sued ut health for retaliation against him for having filed a app.--dallas 2006, no pet.). once ut health articulates a legitimate, non- involved in authorship disputes and refers them to the corresponding author's the authors of this paper to be made in a subsequent issue project based in the lab of the project's principal investigator, dr. yang xia, an there exist questions of material fact precluding summary judgment. we affirm. advanced in the motion are meritorious. provident life & accident ins. co. v. 5 proposed publication opportunity. dr. yuan kept the original research material. about dr. yuan's complaint: "the executive editor of the journal of clinical (tex. 2002) (citing sci. spectrum, inc. v. martinez, 941 s.w.2d 910, 911 (tex. university of texas health science center at houston (ut health) in which he davis replied to jci: "after reviewing with the authors the issues raised in your her suggestion of publishing two papers. although he had yet to read the longer comfortable reporting to dr. xia in her office, dr. yuan began well dissuade a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of our faculty" and attached a copy of the office of research's "practical guide to process. ut health directed the parties to internal guidelines applicable to faculty discrimination complaint under section 21.055 of the texas labor code. ut solicited their determination as to changes in authorship. see city of keller, 168 a little over a week later, dr. xia ended the collaboration between the two manuscript and i'll show her where our contribution is and why the contribution apologized. dr. davis's email to jci, argues dr. yuan, effectively endorsed dr. xia's and her


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