Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Fletcher v. Whittington

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

May 23, 2019

THOMAS B. FLETCHER
v.
JULIAN C. WHITTINGTON, ET AL.

          S. MAURICE HICKS, JR. CHIEF JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          KAREN L. HAYES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the undersigned Magistrate Judge, on reference from the District Court, is a motion to stay filed by Defendant Russell Roberts, MD. [doc. # 29]. The motion is opposed. For reasons explained below, it is recommended that the state law negligence claim against Roberts be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE, and it is ordered that the motion to stay be DENIED.

         Background

         Between September 3, 2017 and September 8, 2017, Collin J. Fletcher was a pretrial detainee at Bossier Maximum Security Facility in Plain Dealing, Louisiana. While detained, he was suffering from alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal and under the medical care of Roberts and Dr. Anita Flye, another defendant. On September 8, 2017, he was found dead in a padded holding cell. On September 4, 2018, Plaintiff Thomas Fletcher, the decedent's father and administrator of his estate, filed the above-captioned lawsuit against Roberts and sixteen other defendants, asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Louisiana state law. Fletcher alleges that the defendants' actions caused his son's death. [doc. # 1]. On January 9, 2019, Fletcher filed an Amended Complaint, which is the operative pleading. [doc. # 16].

         On the same day he filed suit, Fletcher initiated a medical review panel proceeding against Roberts and Flye in accordance with the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act (“LMMA”), La. R.S. §§ 40:1231.1-.10. [See doc. # 29-2]. On April 22, 2019, Fletcher filed the instant motion to stay all proceedings in this case until the medical review panel issues its opinion. [doc. # 29].

         Roberts contends that a stay is appropriate because Fletcher's federal and state law claims

arise from and involve the same incident, decedent and defendants. Plaintiff's federal claims and the medical malpractice proceedings initiated against Dr. Roberts are so intertwined that they cannot be reasonably separated. Separate litigation could potentially result in inconsistent judgments, should these proceedings move forward without the conclusion of the medical review panel proceedings initiated by plaintiff.

[doc. # 29-1 at 3].

         Fletcher and Defendant Bossier Parish Police Jury (BPPJ) both filed oppositions to Roberts' motion. [docs. # 36, 37]. Fletcher does not oppose a stay solely of the state law claims asserted against Roberts pending the issuance of an expert opinion from the medical review panel. [doc. # 36]. BPPJ opposes any stay of these proceedings because (1) the non-medical and medical malpractice claims involve different legal bases; (2) the discovery related to the non-medical and medical malpractice claims will focus on different issues; and (3) a stay will prejudice the non-movants. [doc. # 37].

         On May 17, 2019, Roberts filed a reply, claiming that a stay will not prejudice the opposing parties and noting that federal courts in Louisiana have consistently stayed federal claims pending the outcome of medical review panels. [doc. # 38].

         Law and Analysis

         I. Negligence Claim

         Federal Rule of Civil 12(b)(6) sanctions dismissal when plaintiff fails “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” A pleading states a claim for relief when it contains, inter alia, “a short and plain statement . . . showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A court may sua sponte dismiss a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) “as long as the procedure employed is fair.” Carroll v. Fort James Corp., 470 F.3d 1171, 1177 (5th Cir. 2006) (citations omitted). Fairness requires “both notice of the court's intention and an opportunity to respond.” Id. Addressing a claim in a Report and Recommendation is fair because the plaintiff is given sufficient notice of and the opportunity to respond to the possible dismissal of the claim before the district judge acts. McCoy v. Wade, No. CIV.A.06 2292, 2007 WL 1098738, at ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.