United States District Court, D. Connecticut
JEAN SIMPSON, INDIVIDUALLY & AS EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM SIMPSON Plaintiffs,
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
TO DISMISS [DKT. NO. 24.]
VANESSA L. BRYANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant United States of America's Motion
to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to state a
claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). [Dkt.
No. 24.] Plaintiff Jean Simpson, individually and as
executrix of the estate of William Simpson, opposes the
Motion. [Dkt. No. 25.] For the reasons discussed below,
Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.
facts alleged in the Amended Complaint [Dkt. No. 18
(“Complaint”)] are taken as true and construed in
the light most favorable to Plaintiff for the purpose of a
motion to dismiss. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41,
September 9, 2013, Frank Defurio (“Defurio”) was
a patient of the West Haven, Connecticut Veteran's
Affairs Hospital (“Hospital”) receiving daily
doses of methadone. Complaint at ¶¶ 10-11. Defurio
had a history of psychological issues including, but not
limited to, depression, suicidal ideations, attempted
suicide, substance abuse, and paranoia. Id. at
¶ 12. On September 9, 2013, Defurio arrived at the
Hospital appearing “confused, delusional, emotionally
unstable, and/or intoxicated.” Id. at ¶
15. Hospital staff gave Defurio 100 mg of methadone, which
Plaintiff states is “known by Hospital staff to be an
intoxicating substance, and the licensed disbursement and
protocol for disbursement is regulated pursuant to 42 Code
Federal Regulations Part 8.” Id. at
¶¶ 17-18. Hospital staff then allowed Defurio to
leave the Hospital in his own vehicle. Id. at ¶
September 9, 2013, William Simpson (“Decedent”)
attended a diabetes support group at the Hospital.
Id. at ¶ 20. After the support group meeting,
Decedent exited the Hospital and walked through a crosswalk
to the adjacent parking lot, where he was struck by the motor
vehicle driven by Defurio sustaining fatal head trauma.
Id. at ¶¶ 21-23.
Simpson, Decedent's wife, brought the instant action
individually and as executrix of Decedent's estate on
December 23, 2015. [Dkt. No. 1.] Plaintiff filed the Amended
Complaint on May 26, 2016, in which she asserts that
Defendant negligently allowed Defurio to drive after
administering him methadone. Id. at ¶ 24(N).
The Amended Complaint also asserts “the Hospital
violated the standard of care to provide the Decedent with a
safe environment to receive medical treatment for his
diabetes when they directly created the dangerous condition
which resulted in Decedent's death on September 9, 2013
on Hospital property, by their negligent treatment of fellow
patient, Frank Defurio.” Id. at ¶ 24(Q).
Defendant moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint on July 11,
2016, alleging failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). [Dkt. No. 24.] Defendant
attacks both the medical malpractice and the negligence
claims for lack of probable cause. Id. at 3-5.
clarified in her Opposition that her sole allegation is that
the Hospital created “an unsafe environment for the
decedent's treatment, through the Hospital's
negligent acts regarding the treatment of another patient,
Frank Defurio.” [Dkt. No. 25 at 4.] Plaintiff asserts
the Court may decide whether to interpret that claim as one
for medical malpractice or for general negligence.
Id. at 12. Defendant's Reply and Plaintiff's
Sur-Reply both ultimately characterize Plaintiff's
general negligence claim as one for premises liability. [Dkt.
No. 26 at 1; Dkt. No. 27 at 1.]
survive a Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), the complaint must plead “enough
facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). “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.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Court must “accept all factual allegations as true
and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
plaintiff” when deciding a motion to dismiss.
Litwin v. Blackstone Grp., L.P., 634 F.3d 706, 715
(2d Cir. 2011). A court may, however, “choose to begin
by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Hayden v. Paterson, 594 F.3d 150, 161
(2d Cir. 2010).
the Complaint in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff,
the Plaintiff alleges that Hospital negligently created a
hazardous condition by administering an intoxicating
substance to a patient and allowing the patient to leave the