United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
THOMAS B. FLETCHER
JULIAN C. WHITTINGTON, ET AL.
MAURICE HICKS, JR. CHIEF JUDGE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. HAYES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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
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].
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].
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
[doc. # 29-1 at 3].
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].
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].
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 ...