United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ROSENDA SAMUEL, Individually and as Special Administrator of the ESTATE OF RIENDA SUPU, and LEWIS SAMUEL, Plaintiffs,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; HAWAII HEALTH SYSTEMS CORPORATION dba HILO MEDICAL CENTER; JAMES MORRISON, M.D.; JOANN SARRUBI, M.D.; KIRK WEBER, M.D., Defendants. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Cross-claimant/Third Party Plaintiff,
HAWAII HEALTH SYSTEMS CORPORATION, Third Party Defendant, KIRK WEBER, M.D.; JOANN SARUBBI, M.D.; and JAMES MORRISON, M.D., Cross-claim Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART THIRD
PARTY DEFENDANT HAWAII HEALTH SYSTEMS CORPORATION’S
MOTION TO DISMISS
Derrick R. Watson United States District Judge
medical malpractice action, Defendant Hawaii Health Systems
Corporation (“HHSC”) seeks to dismiss the United
States’ third-party claim for contribution as barred by
Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) § 663-10.5.
Because Section 663-10.5 cannot be read in the expansive way
urged by HHSC, the motion to dismiss is DENIED. The motion is
also DENIED to the extent it alternatively seeks to stay or
sever the Third-Party Complaint. The motion is GRANTED as to
the United States’ third-party claim for indemnity.
Rosenda Samuel, individually and as administrator of the
Estate of Rienda Supu, and Lewis Samuel have asserted claims
in both state and federal court against three individual
physicians and two hospitals that treated their
eight-year-old daughter, Rienda Supu, in August and September
of 2012. Rienda first received treatment on August 29, 2012
at the Bay Clinic, Inc. dba Hilo Bay Clinic, a federally
qualified community health center, which must be sued in
federal court under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1346 and §§ 2671-2680. Complaint
¶¶ 1, 9, 18. She received subsequent treatment from
private physicians James Morrison, M.D., Joann Sarubbi, M.D.,
and Kirk Webber, M.D., and from state-employed health care
providers at Hilo Medical Center, a hospital operated by
HHSC, an agency and instrumentality of the State of Hawaii
under HRS Chapter 323F. Complaint ¶¶ 24-31.
Plaintiffs allege that Defendants’ collective
negligence caused Rienda to suffer a series of injuries
resulting from the initial failure to diagnose her group A
streptococcal infection, culminating in acute rheumatic
carditis and her death on September 18, 2012. Complaint
federal action, Plaintiffs allege claims for medical
negligence (Count I); respondeat superior liability
(Count II); negligent failure to provide informed consent
(Count III); negligent infliction of emotional distress
(“NIED”) (Count IV); and negligent hiring,
training, retention, and supervision (Count V). Plaintiffs
initially named HHSC as a defendant, but dismissed it from
the federal action based on HHSC’s Eleventh Amendment
sovereign immunity. See Dkt. No. 42 (9/22/15 Notice
of Dismissal). In the parallel state court action, Plaintiffs
bring the same claims against HHSC and Drs. Morrison,
Sarubbi, and Webber, but not against the United States.
See Samuel v. Haw. Health Sys., Civ. No. 3 CC
January 20, 2016, the United States filed a Third-Party
Complaint against HHSC, asserting state law claims for
indemnity and contribution. HHSC moves to dismiss, or
alternatively, to sever and/or stay the Third-Party
Complaint, pending resolution of the state court action that
is currently set for trial in January 2017.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a motion to dismiss
for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. Pursuant to Ashcroft v. Iqbal, “[t]o
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.’” 555 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 570
(2007)). “[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true
all of the allegations contained in a complaint is
inapplicable to legal conclusions.” Id.
Accordingly, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of
a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements,
do not suffice.” Id. (citing Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555).
The Motion Is Granted As to the Claim for
first moves to dismiss the United States’ indemnity
claim as factually insufficient to support a legal duty to
indemnify. The United States concedes that the Third-Party
Complaint does not adequately state a claim for indemnity and
does not oppose the dismissal of that claim. See
U.S. Mem. in Opp. at 5. Accordingly, the motion is GRANTED
with respect to the third-party claim for indemnity.
The Motion Is Denied As to the Claim for
also moves to dismiss the United States’ contribution
claim, contending that it is barred by both HRS §
663-10.5 and by HHSC’s sovereign immunity under the
Eleventh Amendment. Neither assertion withstands scrutiny.
HRS § 663-10.5 Does Not Bar the ...