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Sanders v. Legacy Emanuel Medical Center

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division

October 16, 2014

PAUL M. SANDERS, Plaintiff,
v.
LEGACY EMANUEL MEDICAL CENTER, an Oregon corporation; ALOYSIUS FOBI, M.D., an individual; PETYA GUEORDJEVA, M.D., an individual; ARMAN FAROGI, M.D., an individual; SUMITRA CHANDRASEKARAN, M.D., an individual; ROBERT VISSERS, M.D., an individual; MARILYN REPLOGLE, M.D., an individual; ELLEN DUPLAIN, M.D., an individual; NIKOLAS JONES, M.D., an individual; JONATHA KUKIER, M.D., an individual; KATHERINE DEMPSTER, M.D., an individual; FRANKLAND HEGGE, M.D., an individual; SHIRLEY ROFFE, M.D., an individual; and DOES 1-20 et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

MICHAEL W. MOSMAN, District Judge.

On August 18, 2014, Magistrate Judge Papak issued his Findings and Recommendation ("F&R") [44] in the above-captioned case, recommending that a judgment be entered dismissing Mr. Sanders's Motion for Default Judgment [32] and granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [28] therefore dismissing: (1) Defendants Dempster, Roffe, Gueordjeva, Chandrasekaran, Replogle, Duplain, Kukier, Hegge, and Does 3-20 because they were not named in any claims; (2) Mr. Sanders's federal causes of action, with prejudice, for failure to state a claim, and (3) Mr. Sanders's state law claims, without prejudice, due to a lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.

On September 9, 2014, Mr. Sanders's filed objections to the F&R [47]. Mr. Sanders first objects to the dismissal of Defendants Gueordjeva, Chandrasekaran, Replogle, Duplain, and Kukier because they were the treating physicians in his trips to the hospital giving rise to his federal claims. Pl.'s Objections [47] at 10. Second, he objects to the dismissal of his Motion for Default Judgment by arguing that Judge Papak's recommendation fails to properly enforce the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and therefore encourages "parlor tricks" and "fancy lawyerin[g]" Id. at 12. Finally, Mr. Sanders objects to Judge Papak's recommendation to grant Defendants' Motion to Dismiss because Mr. Sanders claims that Judge Papak incorrectly concluded that he did not and could not plead that he had an emergency medical condition as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd(e)(1). Id. at 13.

I find no merit in Mr. Sanders's objections and therefore adopt the reasoning and conclusions in Judge Papak's F&R [44] to the extent explained herein.

LEGAL STANDARD

The magistrate judge makes only recommendations to the court, to which any party may file written objections. The court is not bound by the recommendations of the magistrate judge, but retains responsibility for making the final determination. The court is generally required to make a de novo determination regarding those portions of the report or specified findings or recommendation as to which an objection is made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). However, the court is not required to review, de novo or under any other standard, the factual or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge as to those portions of the F&R to which no objections are addressed. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985); United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003). While the level of scrutiny under which I am required to review the F&R depends on whether or not objections have been filed, in either case, I am free to accept, reject, or modify any part of the F&R. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).

DISCUSSION

I. Defendants Dempster, Roffe, Gueordjeva, Chandrasekaran, Replogle, Duplain, Kukier, Hegge, and Does 3-20

Mr. Sanders did not object to the dismissals of defendants Dempster, Roffe, Hegge or Does 3-20. I have reviewed the F&R [44] and I agree with Judge Papak's recommendation, and I ADOPT the F&R [44] as my own opinion with respect to these defendants. I therefore dismiss defendants Dempster, Roffe, Hegge or Does 3-20.

With respect to the remaining unnamed defendants, an action under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act ("EMTALA") may be brought only against hospitals, and not against individual physicians and therefore, any claims brought against these defendants must be pled under state law. See Eberhardt v. City of Los Angeles, 62 F.3d 1253, 1257 (9th Cir. 1995) ("[W]e affirm the district court's ruling that the EMTALA does not allow private suits against physicians.") Nowhere, however, in any of his state law claims does Mr. Sanders assert any claims against defendants Dempster, Roffe, Gueordjeva, Chandrasekaran, Replogle, Duplain, Kukier, Hegge, and Does 3-20. First Am. Compl. [7]. Judge Papak asked Mr. Sanders at oral argument if he intended to pursue any additional claims other than the 35 enumerated claims in the First Amended Complaint against the unnamed defendants. July 29 Tr. at 4:17-7:15. Mr. Sanders confirmed that he did not intend to assert any additional claims. Id. Judge Papak therefore dismissed defendants Dempster, Roffe, Gueordjeva, Chandrasekaran, Replogle, Duplain, Kukier, Hegge, and Does 3-20 because no claims for damages were brought against them and Mr. Sanders confirmed that he did not intend to pursue any additional claims. F&R [44] at 19-20.

Mr. Sanders now wishes to take back his representation to the court. He argues that he did not understand that what he represented to the court would result in his claims against these defendants being dismissed. Pl.'s Objections [47] at 10. In his objections, Mr. Sanders argues that he would never waive his EMTALA or medical malpractice claims, and therefore he would never voluntarily waive any claims against these defendants because that would lead to dismissal of those claims.

First, Mr. Sanders need not fear because dismissal of these defendants individually will have no effect on Mr. Sanders's EMTALA and medical malpractice claims. The EMTALA claim can only be maintained against Legacy Emanuel Medical Center ("Legacy"), and the medical malpractice claims brought against Legacy for these defendants' action under a theory of respondeat superior do not depend on claims being brought against these defendants individually as well. Therefore dismissing these defendants will have no negative impact on the claims Mr. Sanders never intended to waive. Second, I have reviewed the transcript of the oral argument held on July 29, 2014 and I have determined that Judge Papak went to sufficient lengths to ensure that Mr. Sanders understood that he was waiving his claims against these defendants. If Mr. Sanders was confused about what he was agreeing to, he had every opportunity to ask Judge Papak to clarify this concession at oral argument. Mr. Sanders therefore knowingly and voluntarily waived any claims that he might have had against these defendants.

I am unpersuaded by any of the objections to this portion of the F&R raised by Mr. Sanders, and therefore adopt the F&R to the extent that it dismisses defendants Gueordjeva, ...


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