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Krizek v. Queens Medical Center

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

August 6, 2019

HELENA KRIZEK, Birth Mother of BIANCA HELEN KRIZEK DECEDENT Plaintiff,
v.
QUEENS MEDICAL CENTER, HAWAII RESIDENCY PROGRAM HRP; DR. MATTHEW DUMOUCHEL; DR. NOBUHIRO ARIYOSHI; DR. ITTIKORN SPANUCHART; DR. WENDY W. HSU; DR. HAO CHIH HO; DR. CHRISTOPHER HAPPY; DR. T. SCOTT GALLACHER; ARE NAMED AND SUED IN THEIR OFFICIAL & INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, Defendants.

         ORDER: (1) DENYING DEFENDANT DUMOUCHEL'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, ECF NO. 69; (2) GRANTING DEFENDANT HAPPY'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS, ECF NO. 72; AND (3) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JOINDER OF CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU AS DEFENDANT, ECF NO. 127

          J. Michael Seabright Chief United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On July 18, 2018, Plaintiff Helena Krizek (“Helena Krizek”), birth mother of decedent Bianca Helen Krizek (“Bianca Krizek”), filed a Complaint alleging claims arising from the death of Bianca Krizek against Defendants Queen's Medical Center (“Queen's”), Hawaii Residency Program (“HRP”), Dr. Matthew DuMouchel (“DuMouchel”), Dr. Nobuhiro Ariyoshi (“Ariyoshi”), Dr. Ittikorn Spanuchart (“Spanuchart”), Dr. Wendy W Hsu (“Hsu”), Dr. Hao Chih Ho (“Ho”), Dr. Christopher Happy (“Happy”), Dr. T. Scott Gallacher (“Gallacher”) (collectively, “Defendants”), in their official and individual capacities. ECF No. 1.

         Currently before the court are DuMouchel's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, Happy's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, and Helena Krizek's Motion for Joinder of City and County of Honolulu as Defendant. ECF Nos. 69, 72, 127. Based on the following, the court DENIES DuMouchel's Motion, GRANTS Happy's Motion, and DENIES Helena Krizek's Motion.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         The parties do not appear to dispute the following: Bianca Krizek was treated at the Queen's Emergency Room on December 28, 2015, and was hospitalized and transferred to the Queen's Intensive Care Unit the next day. See ECF No. 97-1 at PageID #714. It appears that Bianca Krizek remained hospitalized until her death on February 5, 2016. See ECF Nos. 97-13, 97-17 at PageID #755; see also Compl. ¶¶ 68-73. On April 28, 2017, Helena Krizek filed her Inquiry Regarding Rendering of Professional Services (the “Inquiry”) with the Medical Inquiry and Conciliation Panel (the “MICP”). See ECF No. 97-14. The MICP terminated the proceedings on September 21, 2017. See ECF No. 97-15.

         B. Procedural History

         Helena Krizek filed a pro se Complaint on July 18, 2018 alleging the following claims for relief: (1) gross negligence; (2) negligence; (3) fraud in concealment; (4) and “nonfeasance/misfeasance/malfeasance.” ECF No. 1. Helena Krizek subsequently retained counsel, and on February 5, 2019, Margaret Dunham Wille filed a Notice of Appearance, and Helena Krizek has appeared through counsel since that date. See ECF No. 64; see also ECF No. 66.

         On March 27, 2019, DuMouchel filed his Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 69. On April 4, 2019, Happy filed a Statement of No Opposition to DuMouchel's Motion. ECF No. 74. On April 18, 2019, Gallacher, Ho, Hsu, and Queen's filed a Statement of No Position. ECF No. 82. On May 24, 2019, Helena Krizek filed her Opposition. ECF No. 97. On May 31, 2019, DuMouchel filed his Reply. ECF No. 104.

         On April 3, 2019, Happy filed his Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. On April 18, 2019, Gallacher, Ho, Hsu, and Queen's filed a Statement of No Position. ECF No. 83. On May 24, 2019, Helena Krizek filed her Opposition. ECF No. 98. On June 3, 2019, Happy filed his Reply. ECF No. 105.

         On July 15, 2019, Helena Krizek filed her Motion for Joinder of City and County of Honolulu as Defendant. ECF No. 127. On July 17, 2019, Gallacher, Ho, Hsu, and Queen's filed a Statement of No Position. ECF No. 129. On the same day, Ariyoshi, HRP, and Spanuchart also filed a Statement of No Position. ECF No. 130. On July 22, 2019, the City and County of Honolulu (the “City”) filed a Statement of No Opposition. ECF No. 132. On the same day, Happy and DuMouchel each filed a Statement of No Position. ECF Nos. 133, 134.

         A hearing was held on the Motions on July 29, 2019.

         III. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         A. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is proper when there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) mandates summary judgment “against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to the party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); see also Broussard v. Univ. of Cal. at Berkeley, 192 F.3d 1252, 1258 (9th Cir. 1999).

         The moving party “bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion and of identifying those portions of the pleadings and discovery responses that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323). “When the moving party has carried its burden under Rule 56[(a)], its opponent must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts [and] come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

         “An issue is ‘genuine' only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis on which a reasonable fact finder could find for the nonmoving party, and a dispute is ‘material' only if it could affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” In re Barboza, 545 F.3d 702, 707 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). When considering the evidence on a motion for summary judgment, the court must draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Friedman v. Live Nation Merch., Inc., 833 F.3d 1180, 1184 (9th Cir. 2016).

         B. Judgment on the Pleadings

         “A motion for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) is a means to challenge the sufficiency of the complaint after an answer has been filed.” Rohm v. Homer, 367 F.Supp.2d 1278, 1281 (N.D. Cal. 2005) (quotation marks and citation omitted). A party may make a motion for judgment on the pleadings at any time after the pleadings are closed, but within such time as to not delay the trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). Because the issue presented by a Rule 12(c) motion is substantially the same as that posed in a 12(b)(6) motion-whether the factual allegations of the complaint, together with all reasonable inferences, state a plausible claim for relief-the same standard applies to both. See Cafasso v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., 637 F.3d 1047, 1054 & n.4 (9th Cir. 2011); see also Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine Inc., 867 F.2d 1188, 1192 (9th Cir. 1989) (holding that Rule 12(c) and Rule 12(b)(6) motions differ in time of filing but are otherwise “functionally identical, ” and applying the same standard of review).

         A Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal is proper when there is either a “lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged.” UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Shelter Capital Partners LLC, 718 F.3d 1006, 1014 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990)). “To survive a [Rule 12(b)(6)] 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.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Weber v. Dep't of Veterans Affairs, 521 F.3d 1061, 1065 (9th Cir. 2008). This tenet-that the court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in the complaint-“is inapplicable to legal conclusions, ” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Rather, “[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.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Factual allegations that only permit the court to infer “the mere possibility of misconduct” do not show that the pleader is entitled to relief. Id. at 679.

         A motion for judgment on the pleadings is properly granted when there are no disputed issues of material fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Ventress v. Japan Airlines, 603 F.3d 676, 681 (9th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted). Judgment on the pleadings is not appropriate if the court considers matters outside of the pleadings; in such cases, the motion must be converted to a Rule 56 motion for summary judgment, and the non-moving party must be granted an opportunity to respond. See Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d 1542, 1550 (9th Cir. 1989). The court may, however, “consider certain materials-documents attached to the complaint, documents incorporated by reference in the complaint, or matters of judicial notice-without converting the motion . . . into a motion for summary judgment.” United States v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir. 2003).

         IV. ...


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