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Phillips v. Correct Care Solutions Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

January 25, 2017

CHAUNCEY PHILLIPS
v.
CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS, INC

         SECTION “L” (2)

          ORDER & REASONS

         Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. R. Doc. 8. Plaintiff opposes the motion. R. Doc. 10. The Court scheduled the Motion for oral argument, but Plaintiff's counsel failed to appear for the hearing. Thus, the Court took the matter under consideration on the briefs. Having reviewed the parties' arguments and the applicable law, the Court now issues this Order & Reasons.

         I. BACKGROUND:

         This personal injury case involves a dispute over damages that Plaintiff seeks as a result of injuries he allegedly suffered while working in Orleans Parish Prison. Plaintiff filed his Petition in Civil District Court in New Orleans on July 25, 2016. R. Doc. 1 at 1. Defendant timely removed the matter to federal court, and argues this Court has diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1332. R. Doc. 1 at 2. Plaintiff is a Louisiana citizen, while Defendant, Correct Care Solutions, LLC (“Defendant”) is a Kansas corporation with its principal place of business in Nashville, Tennessee. R. Doc. 1 at 3.

         Plaintiff alleges that while employed as a Sheriff's Deputy in Orleans Parish, he was assigned to oversee the inmates on the D-3 and D-4 tiers of the Orleans Parish Prison. R. Doc. 1-1 at 2. Defendant was the independent medical provider who managed the inmates' medical treatment. R. Doc. 1-1 at 3. Plaintiff alleges that on the day of his injury, Defendant asked him to bring designated inmates to the medical unit, despite the fact it was the medical deputy's responsibility to complete these transfers. R. Doc. 1-1 at 3. While transferring these inmates, Plaintiff contends he injured his knees and back because he had to repeatedly go up and down the stairs from the tiers to the medical unit. R. Doc. 1-1 at 3.

         According to Plaintiff, his injuries were a direct result of Defendant's negligence, including its failure to use reasonable care, properly train its staff, or modify its demands based on the limited staff at the prison. R. Doc. 1-1 at 4. Plaintiff claims he sustained severe and disabling injuries to his knees and back, and seeks to recover damages for past, present, and future pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress, medical expenses, lost wages and loss of earning capacity, as well as any other losses that are proven at trial. R. Doc. 1 at 2.

         II. PRESENT MOTION

         Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiff's claim against Correct Care Solutions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), on the grounds that Plaintiff's petition fails to state a cognizable claim. R. Doc. 8 at 1. Defendant avers that Plaintiff's claim is based on the solely on the fact Defendant asked him to escort an inmate to the medical unit, and that these allegations do not state a claim for a breach of any duty the Defendant owed Plaintiff. R. Doc. 8 at 1. Thus, Defendant contends Plaintiff's claims must be dismissed with prejudice. R. Doc. 8 at 1.

         A. Defendant Correct Care Solution's Motion to Dismiss (R. Doc. 8)

         Defendant argues it did not breach any duty it could have possibly owed to Plaintiff. R. Doc. 8-1 at 1. Defendant reports that according to Plaintiff, he was working as an Orleans Parish Sheriff's Deputy when Defendant asked him to bring certain inmates to the medical unit. R. Doc. 8-1 at 1. Defendant admits that Plaintiff indicated the medical deputy should complete the transfers, but maintains Plaintiff “voluntarily transported inmates to the medical area.” R. Doc. 8-1 at 1. Defendant avers Plaintiff was not required or compelled to make this transfer, and any alleged injury to his back and knees from going up and down the stairs was not the result of the Defendant's alleged negligence. R. Doc. 8-1 at 2.

         Defendant argues that Plaintiff's claim does not meet Louisiana's duty-risk requirements for negligence. R. Doc. 8-1 at 3. According to Defendant, to prevail on a negligence claim Plaintiff must demonstrate “(1) the conduct in question is a cause-in-fact of the alleged harm; (2) the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff; (3) the defendant breached that duty; and (4) the risk and harm caused were within the scope of protection afforded by the duty breached.” R. Doc. 8-1 at 3 (citing Millet v. Treasure Chest Casino L.L.C., 00-1843 (La.App. 5 Cir. 5/30/01), 788 So.2d 713, 715). Defendant contends Plaintiff cannot meet any of these elements.

         First, Defendant argues it was not Plaintiff's employer and did not have any other relationship with him that would create any duty under Louisiana law. R. Doc. 8-1 at 4 (citing Palermo v. Port of New Orleans, 2004-1804 (La.App. 4 Cir. 3/15/06), 933 So.2d 168, 176) (holding non-employer did not have duty to provide employee a safe workplace). Plaintiff does not allege Defendant acted with willful or wanton negligence, or created an unsafe workplace. Thus, he cannot demonstrate Defendant owed any duty to Plaintiff. R. Doc. 8-1 at 4. Second, Defendant argues that even if it somehow owed Plaintiff a duty, Plaintiff has not made any allegations that Defendant breached that duty. R. Doc. 8-1 at 5.

         Third, if there was no duty, or in the alternative, that duty was never breached, Plaintiff cannot demonstrate the alleged harm was within the scope of protection the duty provided. R. Doc. 8-1 at 4 (citing Brodnax v. Foster, 47, 079 (La.App. 2 Cir. 4/11/12), 92 So.3d 427, 433 (“[R]isk may not be within the scope of a duty where the circumstances of the particular injury to the plaintiff could not be reasonably foreseen or anticipated, because there was no ease of association between that risk and the legal duty.”). Finally, Defendant avers that Plaintiff's injuries were not foreseeable as a result of Defendant's request asking Plaintiff to help walk inmates to the medical unit. R. Doc. 8-1 at 5. Because Plaintiff has not pled facts which entitle him to relief, Defendant argues that his claims against it should be dismissed.

         B. Plaintiff's ...


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