Burns v. Universal Health Services et al

Middle District of Florida, flmd-8:2016-cv-00702

ORDER: Dr. Vereb's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation (Doc. # {{19}}) is DENIED AS MOOT because the Court has already dismissed the Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation, including all claims that Mr. Burns purported to assert therein against Dr. Vereb. See Order for details. Signed by Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington on 5/31/2016. (KAK)

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PageID 157 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA TAMPA DIVISION KEVIN LEE BURNS, Plaintiff, v. CASE NO.: 8:16-cv-702-T-33MAP UNIVERSAL HEALTH SERVICES; SUNCOAST BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CENTER; JOSEPH ALTUCHOLF; CYNTHIA HARDEN; BRANDY HAMILTON; JUDITH SASNAUSSKAS; CHERYL PEARSON; DR. VERAB; and J. HINMAN, Defendants. _________________________________/ ORDER This cause comes before the Court pursuant to Defendant Dr. Bartholomew T. Vereb's Joinder in Notice of Removal (Doc. # 18) and Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation (Doc. # 19), which were both filed on May 27, 2016. As explained below, the Court accepts Dr. Vereb's joinder in the Notice of Removal and denies the Motion to Dismiss as moot because the Court has already dismissed the construed Complaint and has closed the case. Discussion On February 18, 2016, Mr. Burns filed a "Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation" against various corporate and individual Defendants, including "Dr. Verab," in the Circuit Court of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit in and for Manatee PageID 158 County, Florida. (Doc. # 2). In his Notice of Intent, which Defendants and the Court construed as a Complaint, Mr. Burns contended that all named Defendants violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd (EMTALA). On March 9, 2016, Universal Health and other Defendants filed various Motions to Dismiss, Motions for a More Definite Statement, and a Motion to Strike in the Manatee County state court. (Doc. ## 3, 4). Thereafter, on March 21, 2016, Defendants removed the case to this Court based on the presentation of a federal question. (Doc. # 1). Mr. Burns did not file a response in opposition to the Motions. On April 12, 2016, the Court entered an Order identifying procedural and substantive deficiencies warranting dismissal of the construed Complaint, granting Defendants' Motions, and authorizing Mr. Burns to file an Amended Complaint by May 12, 2016. (Doc. # 10). Therein, the Court noted that the construed Complaint did not contain any factual allegations "at all" against Dr. Vereb. (Id. at 6). In addition, the Court specifically held that "Altucholf, Harden, Hamilton, Sasnausskas, Pearson, Ver[e]b, and Hinman are not subject to personal liability under Federal EMTALA" and "the plain text of the EMTALA explicitly limits a private right of 2 PageID 159 action to the participating hospital." (Id. at 7)(internal citations omitted). The Court warned that "failure by Mr. Burns to file an Amended Complaint by May 12, 2016, will lead to an Order dismissing the case without prejudice without further notice as well as case closure." (Id. at 9). On May 3, 2016, Mr. Burns filed a Motion requesting an extension of time to respond to the Motions (notwithstanding the fact that the Motions had already been granted) and attached a psychiatrist's note explaining that Mr. Burns was hospitalized from March 8, 2016, through March 23, 2016, and therefore "unable to attend Court." (Doc. # 11). In an abundance of fairness to Mr. Burns, the Court granted the request for an enlargement of time by extending the deadline for the filing of the Amended Complaint from May 12, 2016, to and including May 20, 2016. (Doc. # 14). Despite being granted an extension, Mr. Burns did not file an Amended Complaint. The Court accordingly dismissed the case without prejudice on May 24, 2016, and ordered case closure. (Doc. # 17). At this juncture, Dr. Vereb joins in the removal of the case and seeks dismissal of the case. The Court allows Dr. Vereb to join in the removal of the case and confirms that the 3 PageID 160 case has already been dismissed, including any claims that Mr. Burns purported to assert against Dr. Vereb in his Notice of Intent. Dr. Vereb's Motion to Dismiss is accordingly moot. Accordingly, it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED: Dr. Vereb's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation (Doc. # 19) is DENIED AS MOOT because the Court has already dismissed the Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation, including all claims that Mr. Burns purported to assert therein against Dr. Vereb. DONE and ORDERED in Chambers in Tampa, Florida, this 31st day of May, 2016. 4