Former hospital employee sues U claiming he was stabbed, then fired

Kamariea Forcier

A former University janitor is suing the University as well as a former co-worker after being stabbed while on the job in 1994.
Mychael McDowell, a University Hospital employee from 1992 to 1994, claims the University fired him after the incident in which he was injured. McDowell claims the person who stabbed him was never punished for his actions.
But Mark Rotenberg, head attorney for the University, said the employee who allegedly stabbed McDowell was fired after the incident and then rehired after filing a grievance with the University.
Another employee involved in the incident was given “a six-month suspension without pay,” Rotenberg said. “That’s a very severe punishment, to lose six months of pay. I cannot agree that he wasn’t punished.”
According to the civil complaint filed by McDowell:
At the end of his shift June 15, 1994, McDowell was in the University Hospital’s locker room and tried to joke with two of his co-workers. The co-workers found one of McDowell’s statements offensive and attacked him. One of the attackers pulled a knife during the fight.
McDowell was then fired after a two-week University investigation.
Rotenberg said no knife was found during the police investigation into the incident. McDowell’s attorney, Albert Goins Sr., said University Police investigated the incident but never charged the alleged stabber with a crime.
Goins said that McDowell was unjustly fired after an incident over which he had no control. Goins pointed to a recent incident that threatened an employee’s safety.
“When someone acted improperly and illegally with a threatening fashion, vis-a-vis President Hasselmo, all the authorities were called out as they rightfully should be to protect him. That certainly didn’t happen for Mr. McDowell. He was fired,” Goins said.
McDowell filed 15 charges against the University on June 13 in Hennepin County Civil Court, but University attorneys moved the case to the federal court system July 3. Rotenberg said many of the charges violated federal laws and should be heard by a federal judge.