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The full case caption appears at the end of this opinion.

In 1999, plaintiff, Vickie R. Medley, had, for two years, been an at-will employee of defendant Polk Company in Denver, Colorado as an assistant to Sheri Paul. When she came to work on the morning of October 2, 1997, there was a phone message from her mother in Nebraska that her father had had a heart attack. Medley informed Paul and said that she was immediately leaving the office to drive to Nebraska, which she did the next day. Some two and a half weeks later, under a set of facts, many of which were undisputed, Polk, acknowledging that her father had had a heart attack and surgery on October 7, concluded that thereafter Medley had, as a practical matter, abandoned her job and discharged her on that ground. Medley brought suit alleging that her termination was a violation of her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. � 2601 et seq. (hereafter “FMLA”). That Act provides for up to 12 weeks leave for an employee who is needed to “care for…[a] parent [who] has a serious health condition[,]” � 2612(a)(1)(C), coupled with the obligation on the employee to get from the parent’s doctor a certification of the need. Medley, aware of this, took no steps to obtain the required certification. (See infra).

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