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Gooden v. Batz

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

July 22, 2019

LYNNE GOODEN, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CHRIS BATZ, et al., Defendant.

         DECISION AND ENTRY SUSTAINING IN PART AND OVERRULING IN PART PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT (DOC. #28), DOC. #28-2 TO BE FILED WITHOUT DOCS. ##28-3, 28-4, 28-5, 28-6, 28-7 AND 34-1 AS EXHIBITS; DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS (DOCS. ##14 AND 15) OVERRULED AS ULTIMATELY MOOT, WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO REFILING ONCE PLAINTIFFS FILE THEIR SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

          WALTER H. RICE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint, filed in this Court on September 10, 2018, concerns injuries sustained by Terrell Gooden following an automobile accident on August 6, 2016, in Montgomery County, Ohio. Doc. #3. Plaintiffs are Lynne Gooden, on behalf of herself and as guardian of Terrell Gooden; Stacy Carroll, as parent and natural guardian of Kiearra, Madison, and Dezmond Carroll; and Staci Sampson, as parent and natural guardian of Mya Sampson. Id., PAGEID#320. The Complaint names a total of 19 defendants: 15 defendants in their individual and/or official capacities from either Butler Township in Montgomery County, Ohio, or the City of Vandalia, Ohio, along with the Butler Township Board of Trustees, the City of Vandalia, the State of Ohio, Department of Medicaid f/k/a Job and Family Services ("State of Ohio"), incorrectly named as "Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Tort Recovery," and "Jane and John Does who may be liable to Plaintiff but whose names are unknown." Id. PAGEID##320 and 321.[1]

         Presently before this Court is a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by the Vandalia Defendants, Doc. #14 and a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by the Butler Township Defendants, Doc. #15. Memoranda opposing each of these motions were filed by Plaintiffs, Docs. ##18 and 19, respectively, and the Vandalia and Butler Township Defendants have filed replies, Docs. ##23 and 26.

         Also, before this Court, is Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to file a Second Amended Complaint ("Motion"), Doc. #28. The Vandalia and the Butler Township Defendants have filed a joint response opposing Plaintiff's Motion, Doc. #33, and Plaintiffs have filed a Reply, Doc. #34.

         Because of Plaintiffs' Motion, any ruling on the merits of the motions for judgment on the pleadings. Docs. ##14 and 15, which relates to Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint, would be an inefficient use of judicial resources when said motions are likely to become moot if Plaintiffs' Motion is sustained. Accordingly, the Court will first consider Plaintiffs' Motion.

         I. Background Facts

         The First Amended Complaint ("Complaint") alleges that at approximately 4:06 a.m., Terrell Gooden was involved in a motor vehicle accident on Interstate 75 when his vehicle collided with the rear of a tractor-trailer. Doc. #3, PAGEID#321. When the Vandalia Fire Department and Butler Township Fire Department arrived at the scene, Terrell Gooden was "partially ejected from the passenger side window" and unconscious. Id., PAGEID#322. The Complaint further alleges that "[T]here was one hour and sixteen minutes during which Gooden received no treatment and suffered a lack of oxygen for that period of time which should have been addressed by the Defendants, jointly and severally, and was not." Id. As a result of this accident, the "Miami Valley Hospital diagnosed Gooden with severe brain injury, avulsion of scalp, facial lacerations, and other permanently disabling conditions." Id.

         Answers to the Complaint were filed by the Vandalia Defendants and Butler Township Defendants, Docs. ##5 and 6, respectively, with an Answer and Cross-Claim against the Vandalia and Butler Township Defendants filed by the State of Ohio, Department of Medicaid. Doc. #7. Answers were filed by the Vandalia and Butler Township Defendants to the Cross-Claims.

         Plaintiffs' Motion contends that Kierra Carroll, presently identified in the Complaint as a minor, must be added as a Plaintiff in her own right. Plaintiffs also assert that they have discovered additional facts and information that are "directly relevant to several claims." Doc. #28, PAGEID#538. The "facts and information" primarily concern Defendant EMS Captain Christopher Batz, as well as additional information regarding the "procedures, protocols and standards that emergency medical personnel are trained in and required to follow in performing their official duties..." Id. Finally, Plaintiffs seek leave to amend their complaint in order to assert a "federal constitutional right to life-sustaining care" which is allegedly based, in part, on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 42 U.S.C. § 18001. Id., PAGEID#540.

         Plaintiffs' Motion, Doc. #28, also includes nine exhibits. One of these, Exhibit 2, is the proposed Second Amended Complaint, Doc. #28-2, PAGEID#555. The other eight exhibits, which are identified in both the Motion as well as the Reply, Doc. #34, are exhibits referenced in the proposed Second Amended Complaint.[2] The documents, which Plaintiffs propose to include as exhibits to their Second Amended Complaint, consist of the following: (1) an Affidavit of Merit by Paul Gabriel, M.D., Doc. 28-1, PAGEID#553; (2) a Butler Township Fire Department "Employee Performance Evaluation for Chris Batz," Doc.# 28-3, PAGEID#584; (3) a Butler Township Police Department "Performance Evaluation for Christopher J. Batz," Doc. #28-4, PAGEID#613; (4) the "Personnel [F]ile for Christopher Batz," Doc. #28-5, PAGEID#679; (5) a 45 page document with the case caption and entitled "Regional EMS Protocols, Procedures, and Employment Policies Defendants are Known to Have Violated" which includes "emergency service protocols and standards from the Greater Miami Valley Emergency Medical Services Council Code of Regulations," Doc. #28-6, PAGEID#748; (6} a report letter from The Flexman Myers Clinic, Doc. #28-7, PAGEID#805; (7) the "State of Ohio Emergency, Medical, Fire, and Transportation Services Board, Regional Physicians Advisory Board Emergency Medical Services Adult Guidelines and Procedures Manual," Doc. #34-1, PAGEID##860-989; and (8) the Montgomery County Probate Court Appointment Entry of Lynne Gooden as Guardian of Terrell Gooden, Doc. #34-2, PAGEID##1062-1065.

         The Vandalia and Butler Township Defendants oppose the filing of the Second Amended Complaint arguing that (1) Plaintiffs violated the letter and spirit of S.D. Ohio Civ. R. 7.3 by failing, "in good faith," to obtain consent prior to the filing of the Motion; (2) Plaintiffs filed their Motion more than five months following the Rule 26(f) report; and (3) the proposed complaint is futile "for many of the same reasons set forth in the Butler Township Defendants' and Vandalia Defendants' respective Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings..." Doc. #33, PAGEID#828. Defendants also argue that the eight proposed exhibits are either untimely, Affidavit of Merit, Doc. 28-1, or fail to comport with Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c) and should be stricken pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P Rule 12(f): Doc. #28-3 (Butler Township Fire Department "Employee Performance Evaluation for Chris Batz"); Doc.#28-4 (Butler Township Police Department "Performance Evaluation for Christopher J, Batz"); Doc. 28-5 ("Personnel [F]ile for Christopher Batz"); Doc. 28-6, ("Regional EMS Protocols, Procedures, and Employment Policies"); Doc. 28-7 (Flexman Myers Clinic report letter); and Doc. #34-1 ("State of Ohio Emergency, Medical, Fire, and Transportation Services Board, Regional Physicians Advisory Board Emergency Medical Services Adult Guidelines and Procedures Manual")[3]

         II. Legal Analysis

         A. ...


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