CHRISTOPHER S. ERICKSON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
MANAGEMENT & TRAINING CORPORATION, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Civil Appeal from the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2009 CV 247.
Michael J. Drain, (For Plaintiff-Appellant).
Adam W. Martin and Christina J. Marshall, Sutter O'Connell, (For Appellee-Management & Training Corporation).
Tammy Kastre, M.D., pro se, First Correctional Medical-Ohio, LLC, (Appellee).
DIANE V. GRENDELL, J.
(¶1} Plaintiff-appellant, Christopher S. Erickson, appeals the Judgment of the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas, granting defendant-appellee, Management & Training Corporation's, Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and dismissing all claims against First Correctional Medical-Ohio, LLC. The issue before this court is whether a claim for negligent hiring/retention may be pled as a claim for breach of contract. For the following reasons, we affirm the decision of the court below.
(¶2} On February 26, 2009, Erickson filed a Complaint against Management & Training Corporation ("MTC"), First Medical Management, LLC, and John Doe, D.D.S. The Complaint alleged that, on February 27, 2008, John Doe, D.D.S., negligently performed dental services on Erickson while he was incarcerated at Lake Erie Correctional Institution, which was operated by MTC by contract with the State of Ohio. The Complaint further alleged that the services were rendered "on behalf of Defendant Management & Training Corporation and/or Defendant First Medical Management LLC, either as an independent contractor, employee, or agent of Defendant Training [&] Management Corporation and/or First Medical Management LLC."
(¶3} On October 1, 2009, Erickson filed an Amended Complaint against MTC, First Correctional Medical-Ohio, LLC, Intellicore, LLC, and Edward Francis Norton, DDS. The Amended Complaint alleged that MTC "owns and controls a subsidiary entity known as First Correctional Medical-Ohio, LLC that provides medical and dental services to inmates at the Lake Erie Correctional Institution." The Amended Complaint further alleged that, on February 27, 2008, Dr. Norton negligently performed dental services on Erickson "on behalf of Defendant First Correctional Medical-Ohio, LLC and/or Intellicore, LLC, either as an independent contractor, employee, or agent of Defendant First Correctional Medical-Ohio, LLC and/or Intellicore, LLC."
(¶4} On March 11, 2010, the trial court issued a Judgment Entry. The court granted summary judgment in favor of First Medical Management, based on undisputed evidence that First Medical Management does not operate in Ohio and has never provided medical services at Lake Erie Correctional Institution.
(¶5} The trial court dismissed MTC from the action, without prejudice, as the Amended Complaint failed to state a cause of action against MTC. The court noted that the Amended Complaint did not claim that any medical service was performed on behalf of MTC, and that judgment was prayed for against First Correctional Medical-Ohio, Intellicore, and Dr. Norton, but not MTC.
(¶6} The trial court noted that First Correctional Medical-Ohio and Intellicore were in default of answer, and ordered Erickson to move for default within thirty days or the Amended Complaint would be dismissed for failure to prosecute.
(¶7} On March 15, 2010, Erickson filed a Motion for Default Judgment against First Medical Management.
(¶8} On April 7, 2010, Intellicore filed its Answer to the Amended Complaint with leave of court.
(¶9} On August 30, 2010, Dr. Norton and Intellicore filed a Joint Motion for Summary Judgment.
(¶10} On August 31, 2010, Intellicore filed a separate Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Summary Judgment.
(¶11} On October 13, 2010, Erickson responded to Dr. Norton's and Intellicore's dispositive motions.
(¶12} On January 10, 2011, Erickson filed a Second Amended Complaint with leave of court, adding Healthcare Benefits, Inc. as a new party defendant. The Second Amended Complaint contained two counts. Under Count I, it was alleged that Dr. Norton was "an agent of Management & Training Corporation within the terms of [a] contract with the State of Ohio." It was further alleged:
(¶13} On February 21, 2008, Defendant Edward Francis Norton, DDS, acting as an agent for Management & Training Corporation, performed a dental procedure on Plaintiff. * * * In doing so, said Defendant dentist fell below the standard of care and committed dental malpractice, and Management & Training Corporation breached its contract with the State of Ohio to provide safe, competent, and effective medical treatment to the inmates at Lake Erie Correctional Institution.
(¶14} Under Count I, it was alleged that, "[a]s a direct and proximate result of all the Defendants' combined and individual negligence, and their breach of contract with the State of Ohio, Plaintiff Christopher S. Erickson has experienced great pain and suffering and emotional distress, " in addition to medical expenses.
(¶15} Under Count II, it was alleged that MTC "was charged with the duty of providing safe, competent, and effective medical and dental services * * * to inmates housed at Lake Erie Correctional Institution pursuant to its agreement with the State of Ohio." It was further alleged that MTC breached this duty by selecting Healthcare Benefits, Inc., an Ohio corporation wholly owned and operated by Dr. Norton, to provide dental services without "properly investigat[ing], vet[ting], and/or properly examin[ing] Defendants Healthcare Benefits, Inc.'s and Dr. Norton's backgrounds and ability to perform prior to awarding them the dental ...