In 2015 junior doctor Lynda Emmerson was dismissed by Northland District Health Board ("NDHB") for misappropriating a prescription form and prescribing morphine to her partner.
Dundas Street represented NDHB in the successful defence of her dismissal challenge in the Employment Relations Authority in 2016.
The case was then further complicated by a number of different causes of action taken by Emmerson including claims of bullying, lack of supervision, damages for loss of future earnings, and a defamation hearing against her former managers.
The appeal in the Employment Court in late 2018 took four weeks.
Emmerson had admitted the use of methamphetamine during proceedings taken against her by her professional body and in the defamation proceedings. Dundas Street was able to get that testimony admitted as evidence.
The Court agreed with Dundas Street that the impact of this subsequently discovered conduct would have contributed to the decision to dismiss, and while it found the dismissal to have had technical flaws, Emmerson was awarded only $3,600 in remedies.
This was the first decision of its kind in New Zealand employment law.