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Campbell v. Lake Regional Medical Management, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division

September 5, 2019

MICHELLE CAMPBELL, Individually, and as surviving spouse of James Richard Campbell, Jr., deceased Plaintiff,
v.
LAKE REGIONAL MEDICAL MANAGEMENT, INC., d/b/a Lake Regional Medical Urgent Care - Eldon, RENE REVELLE, FNP, KANDI WILLIAMS, LPN, KANDI PADGETT, LPN, JOHN AND JANE DOES #1-10, MICHAEL J. VIERRA, MD, LAKE REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM and LAKE REGIONAL ALLIED SERVICES Defendants.

          ORDER

          NANETTE K. LAUGHREY United States District Judge

         Before the Court is the motion by Defendant Dr. Michael J. Vierra to dismiss, or, in the alternative, for more definite statement, Doc. 14, and the motion by Defendants Lake Regional Medical Management, Inc., Rene Revell, Kandi Williams, Kandi Padgett, Lake Regional Health System, and Lake Regional Allied Services (the “Lake Regional Defendants”) for more definite statement, Doc. 11. For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss and motions for more definite statement are denied. The request by Plaintiff Michelle Campbell for ninety days to conduct discovery prior to filing her First Amended Complaint, Doc. 17, Doc. 18, is denied as moot.

         I. Background

         On June 24, 2016, Mr. James Richard Campbell, Jr., allegedly visited the Lake Regional Medical Urgent Care - Eldon complaining of shortness of breath and dizziness. According to the complaint, Mr. Campbell was diagnosed with bronchitis, treated, and sent home. Shortly thereafter in the early morning hours of June 25, 2016, Mr. Campbell died of apparent cardiac arrest.

         Mr. Campbell's surviving spouse, Plaintiff Michelle Campbell, subsequently filed suit against Defendants Lake Regional Medical Management, Inc., Lake Regional Health System, Lake Regional Allied Services, Rene Revelle, Kandi Williams, Kandi Padgett, John and Jane Does #1-10, and Dr. Michael J. Vierra, asserting claims of negligence, negligent supervision, and vicarious liability. In the complaint, Plaintiff claims that the clinic and its staff were negligent in their treatment of Mr. Campbell, including in failing to perform an adequate medical history and misdiagnosing Mr. Campbell's acute myocardial infarction, leading to a treatment that exacerbated the condition and contributed to Mr. Campbell's death. Plaintiff asserts that all Defendants are liable for negligence (Count I) and negligent supervision (Count II), and that Defendants Lake Regional Medical Management, Inc., Lake Regional Health System, Lake Regional Allied Services, and Does #1-6 are subject to vicarious liability (Count III).

         II. Standards

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Zink v. Lombardi, 783 F.3d 1089, 1098 (8th Cir. 2015) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). A claim has facial plausibility when “the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 requires “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A plaintiff is generally not required “to plead ‘specific facts' explaining precisely how the defendant's conduct was unlawful. Rather, it is sufficient for a plaintiff to plead facts indirectly showing unlawful behavior, so long as the facts pled give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests, and allow the court to draw the reasonable inference that the plaintiff is entitled to relief.” Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 595 (8th Cir. 2009) (citing Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam); Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e) permits a party to “move for a more definite statement of a pleading to which a responsive pleading is allowed but which is so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a response.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e). This rule is not intended to permit parties to cure an alleged lack of detail but rather “is intended to serve as a means to remedy unintelligible pleadings.” Resolution Trust Corp. v. Fiala, 870 F.Supp. 962, 977 (E.D. Mo. 1994). Motions for a more definite statement are “universally disfavored” due to “liberal notice pleading and the availability of extensive discovery.” Tinder v. Lewis Cty. Nursing Home Dist., 207 F.Supp.2d 951, 959 (E.D. Mo. 2001). See also Sopkin v. Mo. Nat'l Life Ins. Co., 222 F.Supp. 984, 985 (W.D. Mo. 1963); Thrasher v. Mo. State Highway Comm'n, 534 F.Supp. 103, 106 (E.D. Mo. 1981).

         III. Discussion

         Plaintiff's complaint states three causes of action. In Count I, for negligence, Plaintiff alleges that all Defendants owed a duty to Mr. Campbell, that all Defendants breached that duty resulting in injury to Mr. Campbell, and that Defendants were thereby negligent in various ways surrounding the diagnosis, care, and treatment of Mr. Campbell. Doc. 1 (Complaint), ¶ 50-54. In Count II, for negligent supervision, Plaintiff alleges that all Defendants owed a duty to Mr. Campbell, that all Defendants breached that duty resulting in injury to Mr. Campbell, and that Defendants were thereby negligent in the supervision and training of the clinic staff and in the supervision of Mr. Campbell's treatment. Id. at ¶ 60-63. In her allegations common to all counts, Plaintiff asserts that, on the day before his death, Mr. Campbell visited the Lake Regional Medical Urgent Care - Eldon and received treatment from the clinic's staff, including Dr. Vierra, Revelle, Williams, Padgett, Does, and other Defendants. Id. at ¶ 31-33.

         a. Dr. Vierra's Motion to Dismiss

         Dr. Vierra moves to dismiss Plaintiff's claims against him under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         Dr. Vierra asserts that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against him because the complaint “contains no specific allegations that he breached any duty of care to the decedent.” Doc. 14 (Defendant Dr. Vierra's Motion to Dismiss), p. 1. Dr. Vierra argues that the complaint contains no allegations concerning “the treatment he provided and how that treatment was negligent” or “how the specific treatment Dr. Vierra is alleged to have provided deviated from the general standard of care so as to support a negligence claim against Dr. Vierra, ” and that, aside from Plaintiff's naming ...


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