United States District Court, D. Oregon
A.M., a minor, by and through her Conservator, Tim Nay; and R.M., a minor, by and through his conservator, Beagle and Associates of Oregon, Inc., Plaintiffs,
Physicians' Medical Center, P.C.; Brent W. Heimuller, M.D.; and United States of America, Defendants.
Paulson, Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys Of Attorneys for
K. Olson, Law Office of Erin Olson, PC, Of Attorneys for
Elkins McKelvey and Joanna C. Robinson, Lindsay Hart, LLP, Of
Attorneys for Defendants Physicians' Medical Center, P.C.
and Brent W. Heimuller, M.D.
J. Williams, United States Attorney, and Susanne Luse,
Assistant United States Attorney, United States
Attorney's Office, Of Attorneys for Defendant United
States of America.
OPINION AND ORDER
MICHAEL H. SIMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
A.M. and R.M. have filed a motion to determine the
sufficiency of Defendants' responses to Plaintiffs'
requests for admission. Plaintiffs challenge the sufficiency
of the responses served by (1) Defendants Physicians'
Medical Center, P.C. (“PMC”) and Brent W.
Heimuller, M.D. (“Dr. Heimuller”) and (2)
Defendant United States of America. For the following
reasons, Plaintiffs' motion is denied.
Rule 36(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
“[a] party may serve on any other party a written
request to admit, for purposes of the pending action only,
the truth of any matters within the scope of Rule 26(b)(1)
relating to: (A) facts, the application of law to fact, or
opinions about either, and (B) the genuineness of any
described documents.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(1). The scope
of Rule 26(b)(1) includes “discovery regarding any
nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the
case.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1).
served with a request for admissions, a party must answer or
object to the request. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 36(a)(3).
The party may not treat the request as “a mere
procedural exercise requiring minimally acceptable
conduct” and must provide “full and efficient
discovery, not evasion and word play.” Marchand v.
Mercy Med. Ctr., 22 F.3d 933, 936 (9th Cir. 1994). If
the party cannot admit or deny a matter, its answer must
“state in detail” why. Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(4). If
the party objects to a request, its answer must state the
grounds for the objection, and a “party must not object
solely on the ground that the request presents a
genuine issue for trial.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(5)
(emphasis added). “The requesting party may move to
determine the sufficiency of an answer or objection. Unless
the court finds an objection justified, it must order that an
answer be served.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(6).
A.M. is a nine-year-old girl, born in August 2009. Plaintiff
R.M. is an eight-year-old boy, born in December 2010. In
January 2011, when A.M. was almost one and one-half years old
and R.M. was about one month old, the Oregon Department of
Human Services (“ODHS”) removed Plaintiffs from
their parental custody and placed them in foster care. In May
2012, ODHS placed Plaintiffs in the foster home of John and
Danielle Yates. In August 2013, John and Danielle Yates
became the durable guardians for A.M. and R.M. While in the
Yates' home, A.M. and R.M. allegedly were subjected to
starvation, withholding of food as discipline, withholding of
medical care, isolation, physical abuse, verbal and emotional
abuse, and disparagement of family of origin. In December
2014, ODHS removed Plaintiffs from the Yates' home and
placed them in the care of their paternal aunt, J.M. Based on
their condition, J.M. promptly took Plaintiffs to Randall
Children's Hospital, where they were found to have many
markers of chronic starvation and malnutrition. At some point
thereafter, the State of Oregon prosecuted John and Danielle
Yates for child abuse.
Valley Farm Workers Clinic, Inc. (“YVFWC”) is a
Washington nonprofit corporation, doing business through a
network of community health centers operating services and
programs in Washington and Oregon. Among the services offered
are nutrition services for caregivers and expecting mothers,
including growth tracking to ensure children are growing at a
healthy rate, nutrition education and advice for caregivers,
and assistance finding healthcare and other community
services. YVFWC is a recipient of federal funding from the
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants,
and Children (“WIC”) and operates several WIC
clinics including the Newberg WIC Clinic in Newberg, Oregon.
YVFWC and its employees are qualified for protection under
the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) under
section 224 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, as
amended by the Federally Supported Health Centers Assistance
Act of 1992 and 1995. A.M. was seen at the Newberg WIC Clinic
at numerous times between October 15, 2009 and August 14,
2014. R.M. was seen at the Newberg WIC Clinic at numerous
times between March 14, 2011 and August 14, 2014.
the FTCA, 28 U.S.C. § 1346 et seq., Plaintiffs
assert a claim of negligence against Defendant United States
based on the actions of the YVFWC, a federally-deemed entity.
Plaintiffs allege that YVFWC was negligent in failing to: (a)
coordinate nutrition care for Plaintiffs with their health
care providers; (b) follow-up on the high-risk level
identified for Plaintiffs due to their low weight, small
stature, and slow growth; (c) identify, implement, and follow
through with a plan for future intervention that addressed
the risks to Plaintiffs; (d) make a mandatory report of child
abuse or neglect, as required under Oregon law and ...