United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
RYAN HAYGOOD, DDS, ET AL.
BRIAN BEGUE, ET AL.
HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MAURICE HICKS, JR., CHIEF JUDGE.
the Court is a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss (Record
Document 214) filed by Defendants Ross H. Dies, DDS, and Ross
H. Dies, DDS, J. Cody Cowen, DDS, and Benjamin A. Beach, DDS,
A Professional Dental LLC (hereinafter referred to as
“Dr. Dies” or “Defendants”).
Defendants seek dismissal on the grounds they are statutorily
immune to suit under La. R.S. 37:791 and 42 U.S.C. §
11111; the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act
(“LUTPA”) claims are barred by prescription and
preemption; and the complaint fails to state a claim under
LUTPA upon which relief can be granted. See Record
Document 214-1 at 5. Plaintiffs Ryan Haygood, DDS and Haygood
Dental Care, LLC (hereinafter referred to as “Dr.
Haygood” or the “Haygood Plaintiffs”)
opposed the motion. See Record Document 219. For the
reasons set forth below, the Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss
is GRANTED and the Haygood Plaintiffs'
LUTPA claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
allegations in the instant suit relate to formal complaints
by patients and other dentists which eventually led to an
investigation and administrative proceeding wherein Dr.
Haygood's dental license was revoked by the Louisiana
State Board of Dentistry (“the Dental Board”).
The Dental Board initially became involved because of a
complaint against Dr. Haygood, claiming that he recommended
extensive and expensive treatment plans after
over-diagnosing/unnecessarily diagnosing patients with
peridontal disease. The investigation and resulting
administrative proceeding took place over a three year
November 8, 2010, at the conclusion of four days of
adversarial hearings, which included the presentation of
witnesses, experts and medical/dental evidence, a
three-member disciplinary panel revoked Dr. Haygood's
dental license and levied fines against him. This punishment
was imposed due to Dr. Haygood's violations of the Dental
Practice Act. See La. R.S. 37:751, et seq.
Haygood appealed the November 8, 2010 decision of the Dental
Board to the Civil District Court of Orleans Parish
(“CDC”) Docket No. 2010-12060. On May 31, 2011,
the CDC affirmed some of the findings, but remanded part of
the case to the Dental Board due to the erroneous inclusion
of charges against Dr. Haygood that were previously
dismissed. In all other respects, the CDC affirmed the Dental
Board's decision. Dr. Haygood appealed the portion of the
May 31, 2011 decision of the CDC which was affirmed to the
Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, Docket No.
August 29, 2011, the Dental Board issued a decision regarding
the remanded portion of the suit. It again levied fines
against Dr. Haygood and affirmed the revocation of his dental
license in its Amended Decision After Remand. This decision
was also appealed by Dr. Haygood to the CDC, which affirmed
the ruling on December 9, 2011. The two decisions by the CDC
(May 31, 2011 and August 29, 2011) were consolidated on
appeal to the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal. The
Fourth Circuit vacated and remanded the Dental Board's
ruling, finding that the Dental Board's independent
counsel participated in the administrative hearing in dual
roles as prosecutor and adjudicator in violation of Dr.
Haygood's due process rights.
Haygood Plaintiffs brought this lawsuit against the instant
Defendants, and others, on February 13, 2013, alleging
damages arising from constitutional violations (42 U.S.C.
§ 1983) and 15 U.S.C. § 1 and § 2 (The Sherman
Act), as well as Louisiana state law claims for defamation
and for violations of the LUTPA (La. R.S. 51:1409 et
seq.). See Record Document 1. On March 7, 2014,
the Haygood Plaintiffs filed a First Supplemental, Amended
and Restated Complaint, adding requests for declaratory and
injunctive relief. See Record Document 100. The new
grounds for relief were not directed against the instant
the instant Defendants, the Haygood Plaintiffs allege that
Dr. Dies was a direct, primary competitor of Dr. Haygood in
the Shreveport/Bossier community. See Id. at ¶
89. In June 2007, the Dental Board designated Dr. Dies as
their “expert” and forwarded medical records to
him “ostensibly for a neutral and independent
evaluation of complaints.” Id. at ¶ 92.
The Haygood Plaintiffs contend that Dr. Dies knew that his
evaluations would be used as evidence against Dr. Haygood and
that such evaluation were “studded with inaccuracies,
falsehoods, exaggerations and improper assumptions.”
Id. The evaluations were used during the 2010
administrative proceedings before the Dental Board.
March 31, 2014, this Court denied a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to
Dismiss filed by the instant Defendants. See Record
Documents 106 & 107. The motion was denied with prejudice
as to the LUTPA claims and denied without prejudice as to all
other claims against the instant Defendants. See
Record Document 106 at 3.
April 22, 2014, Defendants filed a second Motion to Dismiss,
arguing that the Haygood Plaintiffs' claims under Section
1983 were prescribed or failed under Rule 12(b)(6); the
Haygood Plaintiffs failed to state a claim for antitrust
violations under 15 U.S.C. §§ 1 & 2; and the
Haygood Plaintiffs failed to state a defamation claim under
Louisiana law. See Record Document 123.
Additionally, Defendants argued that Dr. Dies had absolute
immunity for all claims related to his alleged role as expert
for the Dental Board during the administrative proceedings
against Dr. Haygood. See id.
March 16, 2016, this Court granted the Motion to Dismiss as
to the Section 1983 claims, the Sherman Act claims, and the
Louisiana state law defamation claim. See Record
Documents 184 & 185. The Court held that the Section 1983
claims were prescribed and that the Haygood Plaintiffs had
failed to state a claim under the Sherman Act or for
defamation under Louisiana state law. See Record
Document 184 at 9, 12-13 & 15. The Court also discussed
immunity in its March 16, 2016 ruling:
Defendants have moved for dismissal of all claims against Dr.
Dies because he has absolute immunity for the Haygood
Plaintiffs' claims related to his alleged role as an
expert for the Dental Board during the administrative
proceedings. See Record Document 123-1 at 26-29. The
immunity is based on Section 791 of the Dental Practices Act
. . . . La. R.S. 37:791(A).
The Haygood Plaintiffs argued in their opposition that
Section 791 proffered qualified, not absolute, immunity; that
Section 791(A)(1) was inapplicable because they have alleged
malice; and that Section 791(A)(2) was inapplicable because
Dr. Dies knew the evaluations contained falsehoods.
See Record Document 135 at 27-32. Defendants did not
respond to the Haygood Plaintiffs' position regarding
Section 791 immunity in their reply. See Record
In light of the instant ruling, the Haygood Plaintiffs' .
. . LUTPA . . . claims against the instant Defendants are the
only remaining claims. See Record Document 106 at 3.
The instant motion did not move for dismissal of the LUTPA
claims and, more specifically, did not address Section 791
immunity in the context of LUTPA. Thus, this Court will not
reach the issue of whether the instant Defendants enjoy
Section 791 immunity as to the LUTPA claims. The Court fully
expects such issue to be the subject of future motion
Id. at 15-16.
have now filed a third Motion to Dismiss seeking dismissal of
the Haygood Plaintiffs' claims with prejudice on three
grounds: (1) they are statutorily immune to suit under La.
R.S. 37:791 and 42 U.S.C. § 11111; (2) the LUTPA claims
are barred by prescription and preemption; and (3) the
complaint fails to state a claim under LUTPA upon which
relief can be granted. See Record Document 214-1 at
5. The Haygood ...