United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MARC J. GRENIER, AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF LAURA D. SHEEHAN, Plaintiff,
THE STAMFORD HOSPITAL STAMFORD HEALTH SYSTEM, INC., AND EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIANS OF FAIRFIELD, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION GRANTING IN PART
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [DKT.
Vanessa L. Bryant United States District Judge
Marc Grenier (“Grenier”), in his capacity as
administrator of the estate of Laura D. Sheehan, brings this
medical malpractice claim against Defendants Stamford
Hospital, Stamford Health System, Inc., and Defendant
Emergency Medicine Physicians of Fairfield
(“EMP”) (collectively, “Defendants”)
under Connecticut law, for injuries and the ultimate death of
Sheehan while in the care of Defendants. [Dkts. 1, 10, 75.]
In Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, he claimed federal
question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and
supplemental jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
[Dkt. 10 at 1.] Although Defendants challenged jurisdiction
in their Rule 26(f) Report, they have not affirmatively
asserted any challenge to the court's jurisdiction. [Dkt.
28 at 2.] Defendants move for summary judgment, asserting
Plaintiff has disclosed no expert witnesses and cannot
prevail on his medical malpractice claim without one. [Dkt.
69.] Plaintiff's sole response to Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment is that this Court no longer has subject
matter jurisdiction over this matter, as Plaintiff amended
his Complaint to withdraw his federal claim under the
Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, 42 U.S.C.
§ 1395dd., et seq, leaving only state law
claims. [Dkt. 78 (Opposition to Motion for Summary
Judgment); Dkt. 75 (Amended Complaint.] Defendants, in an
apparent retraction of their earlier challenge to the
Court's jurisdiction, replied that the Court should
exercise its discretion to retain jurisdiction in this matter
as substantial time and resources have already been expended
litigating this matter in federal court. [Dkt. 81.] For the
reasons set forth below, the Court holds that it retains
subject matter jurisdiction. In addition, unless Plaintiff
produces an admissible expert opinion supporting his medical
malpractice claim within 7 business days of the date of this
Order, by June 2, 2017, the Court will enter summary judgment
for the Defendants on June 5, 2017.
brought his Complaint on July 3, 2014, alleging Defendants
Stamford Hospital and Stamford Health System, Inc. violated
the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act
(“EMTALA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd., et
seq. . [Dkt. 1.] On October 7, 2014, Plaintiff filed an
Amended Complaint to add a second claim alleging Stamford
Hospital, Stamford Health System, Inc., and Emergency
Medicine Physicians of Fairfield County LLC committed medical
malpractice causing Plaintiff's decedent's wrongful
death in violation of Connecticut General Statute §
52-555. [Dkt. 10.] Plaintiff included with the amendment an
Order from the Connecticut Superior Court extending the
statute of limitations for the medical malpractice claim.
Id. at Ex. A.
moved to dismiss count one of the Amended Complaint on
December 1, 2014. [Dkt. 24.] Plaintiff filed an Objection
[Dkt. 27] and Defendants filed a Reply in Further Support
[Dkt. 29]. On September 29, 2015, the Court denied
Defendants' Motion in a fifteen-page decision, finding
Plaintiff had asserted a claim for EMTALA violations. [Dkt.
parties requested significant Court intervention in the
discovery process. On November 27, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a
Motion to Compel production of certain documents and
interrogatory responses. [Dkt. 41.] Contemporaneous
therewith, Defendants filed a Motion for Protective Order
concerning the same documents. [Dkt. 46.] The Court held a
hearing on January 8, 2016 and took the motion under
advisement to afford the parties an opportunity to resolve
the disputed issues. [Dkt. 55.] On January 29, 2016, the
Court held a follow-up telephonic hearing, at which the
parties conveyed that they could not agree on the extent to
which the Defendants could assert privilege over peer review
materials under Connecticut law. [Dkt. 58.] The Court found
the privilege applied in a fourteen-page Memorandum of
Decision on July 20, 2016. [Dkt. 60.]
20, 2016, the Court amended the Scheduling Order to extend
all deadlines to accommodate the complexity of discovery.
[Dkt. 63.] On December 28, 2016, Plaintiff moved to amend the
complaint to withdraw his EMTALA claim because “after
conducting documentary discovery on the claims, [Plaintiff]
does not wish to devote [his] resources to further litigation
of the EMTALA claim in light of the discovery and in light of
the fact that any discovery will not be enhanced by the
EMTALA claim.” [Dkt. 68 at 3.] Plaintiff's motion
also stated “[i]t should be noted that removal of the
federal claim will have the effect of also removing federal
question jurisdiction from this case.” Id. at
1. Defendants did not object to the Motion to Amend. [Dkt.
71.] The Court granted Plaintiff's Motion to Amend on
January 19, 2017, but did not decide the amendment's
impact on jurisdiction. [Dkt. 74.]
the same time frame, on January 3, 2017, the Court referred
the parties to a Magistrate Judge for a settlement
conference. [Dkt. 70.] On January 27, the parties informed
the Magistrate Judge that settlement discussions would not be
productive and no settlement conference was scheduled. [Dkt.
days after Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend, inclusive of the
New Year's holiday, Defendants filed their Motion for
Summary Judgment asserting Plaintiff cannot prevail on his
medical malpractice claim absent expert testimony. [Dkt. 69.]
Plaintiff filed an Opposition to Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment on January 23, 2017. [Dkt. 78.] The
three-page Opposition does not address the merits of
Defendants' claim that Plaintiff cannot prevail on his
medical malpractice claims without expert evidence.
Id. Rather, the Opposition only asserts the Court no
longer has subject matter jurisdiction over this case since
Plaintiff withdrew his federal EMTALA claim. Id.
Defendants respond urging the Court to exercise its
discretion and retain jurisdiction over this action as
"[s]ignificant judicial resources and efforts on the
part of the defendants have been expended to date.”
Statement of Law
federal courts possess subject matter jurisdiction over
“civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States, ” known as federal
question jurisdiction, and over “civil actions where
the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,
000 . . . and is between - (1) citizens of different states;
(2) citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign
state [with certain exceptions]; (3) citizens of different
States and in which citizens or subjects of a foreign state
are additional parties; and (4) a foreign state . . . as
plaintiff and citizens of a State or of different States,
” known as diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §
1331 (federal question jurisdiction); 28 U.S.C. § 1332
(diversity jurisdiction). In addition, federal courts have
supplemental jurisdiction over “all other claims that
are so related to claims in the action within such original
jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or
controversy . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a); see
also Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545
U.S. 546 (2005) (“[I]t is well established - in certain
classes of cases - that, once a court has original
jurisdiction over some claims in the action, it may exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over additional claims that are
part of the same case or controversy.”). This holds
true unless the claims concern new parties to be added to the
case who would destroy diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C.
1367 codified two Supreme Court decisions discussing the
parameters of pendent and ancillary jurisdiction, upon which
the supplemental jurisdiction is based. Mine Workers v.
Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 725 (1966), codified in 28 U.S.C.
§ 1367(a), articulated pendent jurisdiction, which
applies where a case is properly in federal court through
federal question jurisdiction and the plaintiff also asserts
a state-law claim which would not fall under the federal
court's original jurisdiction on its own. In such cases
the federal court may exercise pendent jurisdiction to hear
all claims as long as they arise out of the same case or
controversy. 28 U.S.C. 1367(a); Gibbs, 383 U.S. at
725. Even where claims qualify for pendent jurisdiction under
Section 1367(a), federal courts maintain discretion to
exercise or decline to exercise pendent jurisdiction.
Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343,
349-40 (1988) (citing Gibbs, 383 U.S. at 726-27).
Courts considering whether to exercise pendent jurisdiction
over state-law claims consider whether doing so would promote
judicial economy, convenience, and fairness to the parties
without violating principles of comity. Carnegie-Mellon
Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 349-40 (1988).
"[T]he doctrine of pendent jurisdiction thus is a
doctrine of flexibility, designed to allow courts to deal
with cases involving pendent claims in the manner that most
sensibly accommodates a range of concerns and values. "
Carnegie-Mellon, 484 U.S. at 351.
Owen Equipment & Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437
U.S. 365, 376-77 (1978), codified in 18 U.S.C. §
1367(b), defined the subcategory of supplemental jurisdiction
known as ancillary jurisdiction. Ancillary jurisdiction
allows the addition of claims against new parties (whether
raised through joinder, intervention, impleader, cross-claim,
or counterclaim) which would not, on their own, trigger the
federal court's original jurisdiction, as long as those
claims arise out of a “common nucleus of operative
fact.” City of Chicago v. Int'l College of
Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 165-66 (1997). However, where
the new parties would destroy diversity, they may not be
added, even if the claims against them arise out of a common
nucleus of operative fact with claims properly in federal
court. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(b); Owen, 437 U.S. at
district court has exercised supplemental jurisdiction but
later dismisses all claims over which it had original
jurisdiction, “[t]he district courts may decline to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction” over the remaining
claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1376(c)(3). The Court is not,
however, required to decline jurisdiction. On the contrary,
“[t]he discretion implicit in the word
“may” in subdivision (c) of § 1367 permits
the district court to weigh and balance several factors,
including considerations of judicial economy, convenience,
and fairness to litigants.”Purgess v. Sharrock,
33 F.3d 134, 138 (2d Cir. 1994) (citing Castellano v. Bd.
of Trustees, et al.,937 F.2d 752, 758 (2d Cir. 1991).
“[A]s a general proposition, . . . if all federal
claims are dismissed before trial, the state claims should be
dismissed as well.” Motorola Credit Corp., 388
F.3d at 56. However, a court acts within its discretion in
retaining jurisdiction where all federal claims are dismissed
“late in the action, after there has been substantial
expenditure in time, effort, and money in ...