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Queens Chronicle

Lab draws out bad blood for banker

Woman who claimed discrimination at Citi has ‘nerve’ for new lawsuit

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Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 10:30 am

What started out as a routine round of blood tests has led a woman to sue two defendants in two separate incidents in one lawsuit.

Filed in March, the lawsuit by Debrahlee Lorenzana, who then lived in Little Neck, named Quest Diagnostics and Brian Olenick as the defendants, claiming that both had aggravated a rare condition known as “reflexive sympathetic dystrophy.”

In July 2012, Lorenzana went to a Quest lab in Bayside to have blood drawn. According to her affidavit, as soon as the needle was inserted, Lorenzana screamed in pain but the phlebotomist, Min Hua Wei, kept the needle inside. Lorenzana later called to complain to Quest about the incident. As of now, Wei is still employed at Quest.

Although a doctor friend recommended that she see a neurologist, Lorenzana didn’t go until a car, driven by Olenick, rear-ended her vehicle in December 2012, six months after the initial lab visit.

The pain, she claimed, intensified following the car accident.

The electromyogram that Lorenzana had done confirmed that she had RSD, a nerve disorder that results in burning pain, tissue swelling and extreme sensitivity to touch, according to the Health.ny.gov website. The condition, which gets worse over time, can be triggered by tissue injury, damage to blood vessels or high-velocity impact.

Lorenzana’s doctor said that based upon the medical history and records of the injury, it was not medically possible to determine at the time, whether the injection or the accident was the cause of the RSD, which was why Lorenzana’s lawyer, Frank Panetta, filed a suit against both.

In court documents, Panetta cites two cases as precedent for naming two defendants, including Mullet v. Sacco in which the plaintiff’s car was rear-ended by two vehicles.

In 2010, Lorenzana made headlines with a different lawsuit against Citibank in which she claimed she was fired for her curvaceous and highly “distracting” figure with bosses who told her to stop wearing items such as turtlenecks and three-inch heels. Her Facebook page has posts on the suit, with a header that reads, “too hot for Citibank.”

The case, which had Lorenzana claiming she repeatedly complained to human resources over what she felt were discriminatory remarks, went to arbitration. Citibank said it never had to pay her.

Her lawyer described Lorenzana as a hardworking woman and single parent raising a child with a disability and is now employed at another bank in Florida. Lawyers for Quest Diagnostics and Olenick did not return calls for comment.

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