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Zamanian v. Jefferson Parish Hospital Service District No.2

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

August 14, 2017

BAHRAM ZAMANIAN
v.
JEFFERSON PARISH HOSPITAL SERVICE DISTRICT NO.2, et al.

         SECTION: A (4)

          ORDER

          JAY C. ZAINEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Rec. Doc. 10) filed by Defendant Jefferson Parish Hospital Service District No. 2. Also before the Court is another Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Rec. Doc. 14) filed by Defendant Jefferson Parish Hospital Service District No. 2. Plaintiff opposes both Motions. (Rec. Doc. 17). The Motions, set for submission on May 31, 2017 and July 12, 2017, respectively, are before the Court on the briefs without oral argument.[1]

         I. Background

         This matter arises out of the alleged wrongful termination of Plaintiff Bahram Zamanian by Defendant following an incident that took place on October 6, 2013. Plaintiff brought this lawsuit against Defendant seeking damages for alleged denial of his right to due process in violation of 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 and breach of contract, and seeking a permanent injunction ordering Defendant to: rescind its summary suspension of Plaintiff s hospital privileges, restore Plaintiffs hospital admitting privileges with all benefits due him, refrain from further harassing, retaliatory and unlawful conduct towards Plaintiff, and rescind and withdraw Report No. 5500 000109022215 filed by Defendant with the National Practitioners Data Bank. Plaintiff asserts that the Defendant violated 1)42 U.S.C.A. §1983 and the Louisiana Constitution by denying Plaintiffs right to due process, and 2) Louisiana state law for improper termination of Plaintiff s admitting privileges and breach of contract.

         At the time Defendant filed its first Motion to Dismiss, two Plaintiffs were in this matter Dr. Bahram Zamanian and Bahram Zamanian, M.D., APMC. However, Plaintiffs subsequently amended their Complaint and filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal, dismissing all claims of Plaintiff Bahram Zamanian, M.D., APMC against Defendant but maintaining Plaintiff Bahram Zamanian's claims. Thus, the Court will only address Plaintiff Bahram Zamanian's claims against Defendant.

         II. Analysis

         Defendant argues that Plaintiffs claims against it should be dismissed because 1) Plaintiffs contentions in his Complaint are conclusory and do not meet the standard under Twombly/Iqubal, 2) Plaintiffs Complaint fails to establish a property interest to assert a due process and Louisiana Constitution claim, 3) even if Plaintiff can establish a property interest, Defendant cannot be liable for the action of its employees that were allegedly in violation of Plaintiffs due process rights, 4) Plaintiffs complaint fails to set forth allegations that plausibly show that Defendant's by-laws violate due process requirements or were violated by a policymaker, 5) Plaintiffs complaint fails to set forth allegations that plausibly show that Defendant or an employee denied Plaintiffs due process rights, and 6) Defendant is entitled to immunity under the Healthcare Quality Improvement Act.

         In the context of a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs favor. Lormandv. U.S. Umvired, Inc., 565 F.3d 228, 232 (5th Cir. 2009) (citing Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308 (2007); Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974); Lovickv. Ritemoney, Ltd., 378 F.3d 433, 437 (5th Cir. 2004)). However, the foregoing tenet is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Ashcroftv. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Thread-bare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice. Id. (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550, U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

         The central issue in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss is whether, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the Complaint states a valid claim for relief. Gentilello v. Rege, 627 F.3d 540, 544 (5th Cir. 2010) (quoting Doe v. MySpace, Inc., 528 F.3d 413, 418 (5th Cir. 2008). To avoid dismissal, a plaintiff must plead sufficient facts to "state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. The Court does not accept as true "conclusory allegations, unwarranted factual inferences, or legal conclusions." Id. (quoting Plotkin v. IP Axess, Inc., 407 F.3d 690, 696 (5th Cir. 2005)). Legal conclusions must be supported by factual allegations. Id. (quoting Ashroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).

         a. Twombly/Iqbal Standard

         The Court is not persuaded by Defendant that Plaintiffs Complaint fails to meet the standard under Twombly/Iqbal. Under the Twombly/Iqbal standard, Plaintiff need only plead sufficient facts to state a claim that is facially plausible. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). He may do so by submitting factual content from which the Court may reasonably infer that Defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Id. In his Complaint, Plaintiff gives great factual detail on the incident that took place on October 6, 2013, as well as the peer review process which Plaintiff alleges violated his due process rights. Plaintiffs Complaint alleges facts surrounding the hearing on his summary suspension conducted by the Medical Executive Committee, why he was not present at the meeting, and why the Committee's grounds did not meet the standards of Defendant's by-laws. (Rec. Doc. 1). Additionally, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint which added "[n]ew paragraphs to the existing Complaint" and gave detail as to the evidence presented in the hearing and the reasoning of the medical review panels. (Rec. Doc. 13). Given the factual content in Plaintiffs Complaint and Amended Complaint concerning the incident on October 6, 2013 and subsequent review procedures, the Court finds that Plaintiffs pleadings meet the standard under Twombly/Iqbal.[2]

         b. Violation of Due Process Rights

         Defendant asserts that Plaintiffs claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and the Louisiana Constitution should be dismissed because Plaintiff fails to sufficiently establish a property interest protected by his right to due process. Even if a constitutionally protected property interest exists, Defendant asserts that Plaintiffs constitutional claims fail, advancing a number of alternative arguments. Defendant claims that Plaintiff cannot show Defendant is liable for the acts of its employees, Defendant's by-laws are in ...


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