United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING RE: DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO. 25)
Janet C. Hall, United States District Judge
Gregory Nastu (“Nastu”) brings this action under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a) et seq., against Stamford Health Integrated Practices (“SHIP”), and several SHIP employees. Complaint (Doc. No. 1) ¶¶ 4-11. His Complaint alleges that SHIP, a professional network of physicians in the greater Stamford area, violated the ADA by “permanently ‘blacklisting’ [him] from accessing the services of a substantial number of healthcare providers in the Greater Stamford area” on account of a “disabling psychiatric disorder.” Id. ¶¶ 40-41 (“Count One”). On the basis of largely the same facts, he alleges that the defendants negligently and intentionally caused him emotional distress, id. ¶¶ 43-47; 58-62 (“Count Two” and “Count Five, ” respectively), breached fiduciary duties to him, id. ¶¶ 48-51; 63-67 (“Count Three” and “Count Six, ” respectively), and defamed him, id. ¶¶ 52-57 (“Count Four”), in violation of Connecticut state common law.
The defendants have moved to dismiss under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss (“Motion”) (Doc. No. 25); see also Defs.’ Mem. in Support (“Defendants’ Memorandum”) (Doc. No. 25-1). Nastu has opposed the Motion. With regard to the defendants’ arguments under Rule 12(b)(1), alleging that Nastu lacks Article III standing, Nastu has indicated that he rests his opposition on his Memorandum in Support of his pending Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. Pl.’s Mem. in Opposition (“Opposition”) (Doc. No. 23) at 2 (“Plaintiff hereby incorporates by reference all the points and arguments pertaining to the issue of ‘standing’ set forth in . . . his Memorandum of Law In Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction.”); see also Pl.’s Mem. in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction (“Plaintiff’s Memorandum”) (Doc. No. 22) at 13-16. With regard to the defendants’ arguments under Rule 12(b)(6), alleging that Nastu has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, Nastu relies on his principal opposition papers. Opposition at 2-10.
For the reasons set forth below, the defendants’ Motion is GRANTED.
SHIP is a professional network of physicians of varying specializations that operates in partnership with Stamford Hospital. Complaint ¶ 11; id. Exhibit B at 33. Defendant Dr. Corinne Van Beek (“Van Beek”) is a physician affiliated with SHIP. Id. ¶ 6. Nastu came to Van Beek for orthopedic surgery in 2014 to address issues with his right shoulder and his left elbow. Id. ¶ 16. In a post-operative visit in late 2014, Van Beek identified a mass on Nastu’s left deltoid and recommended that he seek an opinion from another SHIP surgeon, Dr. Xiang Dong (“Dong”), regarding the best course of treatment. Id. ¶ 17. During a meeting with Dong in December 2014, Dong recommended that Nastu undergo further surgery to address the mass. Id. ¶ 18.
The recommendation for further surgery caused Nastu to descend into an emotional crisis. Id. Nastu made an unscheduled visit to Van Beek’s office in December 2014, after hearing Dong’s recommendation, and expressed concerns that he felt “extremely weak, light headed, dizzy, and just generally ill, and that he had also begun to experience elevated levels of stress and anxiety, sleeplessness, an inability to think clearly and feelings of hopelessness.” Id. ¶ 19. Van Beek referred Nastu to defendant Dr. Deana Elbright (“Elbright”), a primary care doctor in the SHIP network to further assess the mass on his deltoid. Id. ¶ 20.
Shortly after this meeting, Nastu returned to Van Beek for a scheduled appointment concerning new pains in his left shoulder. Id. ¶ 22. At this appointment, Van Beek reviewed an x-ray of his left shoulder, concluded he had a three-quarter thickness tear in his left rotator cuff, and advised that he would eventually have to undergo further surgery on his left shoulder. Id. ¶¶ 23-24. At this point, Nastu “began to weep loudly and uncontrollably” and, after leaving her office, he suffered from “an elevated state of depression and anxiety.” Id. ¶ 25.
On February 4, 2015, Nastu made an unscheduled visit to Van Beek’s office. Id. ¶ 26. He again wept uncontrollably and complained of pain and high levels of stress, anxiety, fear, depression, and hopelessness. Id. “During this February 4 visit, plaintiff also could not make himself stop talking, ” id. ¶ 27, and Van Beek concluded that Nastu needed to see a physician who could address his emotional issues. She consequently referred him to defendant Dr. Katherine Takayesu (“Takayesu”). Id. ¶ 28. Van Beek is alleged to have said “I’m referring you to Dr. Takayasu; try not to fall in love with her.” Id. Nastu claims that this statement “let him speechless” and that he interpreted it as a suggestion that Van Beek “believed that [Nastu] was acting like he had fallen in love with her.” Id.
At his next scheduled appointment, on February 13, 2015, Nastu “walked into the office with tears in his eyes, weeping profusely, and[ ]still obsessed with the fear of future surgery.” Id. ¶ 29. During this meeting, he also demanded to know whether Van Beek thought he was in love with her. Id. ¶ 30. Van Beek, in response to Nastu’s concededly out of control behavior, “advised [him] that the visit was over, ” and ordered him to leave. Id. ¶ 31.
“Minutes after leaving the office, [Nastu] began to regret his compulsive and uncontrollable behavior, and his seemingly accusatory statements.” Id. ¶ 32. He then sent her a letter on February 16, 2015, in which he wrote, among other things, “So if you want to talk to me, please have your office call me and I will make an appointment. If not, I will accept your decision. You have taken on a tremendous burden by being my surgeon, my M.D., and my psychologist. It is now time for me to let you go. It is going to be very hard and painful for me because I have grown very attached to you emotionally. I think I should stay away from you for awhile so I can work things out with my emotions. . . . Unless you feel I need to see you medically, I will try to stay away.” Complaint, Exhibit A (Doc. No. 1) at 27-28.
Between the date Nastu sent the letter and his next appointment with a SHIP physician (February 16, 2015), Van Beek contacted SHIP personnel to complain of Nastu’s conduct. Complaint ¶ 33. In the complaint, Van Beek accused Nastu of, among other things, “improper conduct” that had “frightened her” and that had caused her to be “concerned for her safety and the safety of her colleagues.” Id. ¶ 34. She claimed that Nastu had demanded to see her without an appointment while bringing her chocolates, that he had “tried to hug” her and told her “that he was in love” with her. Id. She further stated that the letter Nastu sent was “highly alarming” for a number of reasons, including that it had stated that Nastu wanted to meet with her “when no one is in the office so no one can hear [him] cry.” Id.
On February 24, 2015, Nastu was informed that his appointment with Elbright had been cancelled. Id. ¶ 35. Shortly thereafter, SHIP’s security director advised him that his treatment arrangement with SHIP was under review and that he was, according to Nastu, “prohibited from entering any premises of any SHIP healthcare provider, even Stamford Hospital.” Id. ¶ 36. On March 3, 2015, he went to Takayasu’s office for ...