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Wise v. Pine Tree Villa, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville

April 10, 2015

KENRIC WISE, Plaintiff,
v.
PINE TREE VILLA, LLC, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS B. RUSSELL, Senior District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. (Docket No. 12). Plaintiff has replied, (Docket No. 22), and Defendants have responded, (Docket No. 30). This matter is now fully briefed and ripe for adjudication. For the following reasons, the Defendants' Motion (Docket No. 11) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

BACKGROUND

The Defendant Pine Tree Villa, LLC d/b/a Regis Woods Care and Rehabilitation Center provided nursing home care to the Plaintiff, Kenric Wise, between June 5, 2013 and March 3, 2014. The Plaintiff claims that the treatment he received "accelerated the deterioration of his health beyond that caused by the normal aging process." (Docket No. 1 at 14). He alleges injuries including pressure ulcers, overmedication, medication errors, unnecessary pain, choking, malnutrition, falls, emotional distress, and a loss of personal dignity. Id.

The Plaintiff attributes his injuries to negligence of the nursing home (Counts I-III), its administrator (Count V), and its staff (Count VI-VII). These actions, according to the Plaintiff, violated the Plaintiff's "Long Term Care Resident's Rights" under Kentucky statute (Count IV).

Count I alleges a claim of common law negligence against the Nursing Home Defendants.[1] Wise alleges that they violated their duty to provide Wise the care, services, and supervision that a reasonably careful nursing home would provide under similar circumstances. Wise provides a list of the Nursing Home Defendants' acts and omissions, including, among others, the failure to: 1) develop and follow policies to assist Wise in attaining and maintaining a high level of well-being; 2) maintain records on Wise in accordance with professional standards and practices; 3) revise Wise's care plan to reflect changes in his status; 4) provide the minimum number of qualified personnel to meet Wise's needs; 5) provide adequate nursing and other staff that was properly qualified and trained; 6) administer and secure appropriate medical care after falls; and 7) timely diagnose medical conditions. Wise also alleges that the nursing staff did not follow medication orders from hospital physicians, and improperly medicated Wise. Count I also alleges negligence per se :

Pursuant to KRS § 446.070, Plaintiff also alleges Nursing Home Defendants violated statutory and regulatory duties of care, the violations of which are actionable as negligence per se . Kenric Wise was injured by the statutory violations of Nursing Home Defendants and was within the class of persons for whose benefit the statutes were enacted and who was intended to be protected by these statutes. The negligence per se of Nursing Home Defendants included, but is not limited to, violation(s) of the following:
(a) Violation(s) of KRS § 209.005 et seq. and the regulations promulgated thereunder, by abuse, neglect and/or exploitation of Kenric Wise;
(b) Violations(s) of the statutory standards and requirements governing licensing and operation of long-term care facilities as set forth by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, pursuant to provisions of KRS Chapter 216 and the regulations promulgated thereunder, as well as the applicable federal laws and regulations governing the certification of long-term care facilities under Titles XVIII or XIX of the Social Security Act.

Count II is a claim of medical negligence against the Nursing Home Defendants. Count III is a claim of corporate negligence against the Nursing Home Defendants.

Count IV is a claim of violation of long term care residents' rights and statutory duties under KRS 216.510, pursuant to KRS 216.515(26). The allegations include violation of the following rights: 1) to be treated with consideration and respect; 3) to have a responsible party or family member informed of any accident; 3) to have an adequate and appropriate resident care plan developed; and 4) to be free from abuse and neglect.

Count V is a claim of negligence against Josh Schindler, in his capacity as Administrator of Regis Woods. The allegations include his failure to: 1) hire and train adequate numbers of qualified staff; 2) test employees for competence; 3) discipline or terminate employees that were known to be careless, incompetent, or unwilling to comply; 4) provide a safe environment; and 5) adopt policies and procedures for investigating violations and complaints. Additionally, Wise alleges that Schindler failed to "administer Regis Woods in compliance with federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and codes intended to protect nursing home residents...."

Count VI is a claim of negligence against Jane Does 1-2, unknown defendants believed to be nurses, who Wise alleges failed to provide him reasonable care. Finally, Count VII is a claim of negligence against Jane Does 3-5, unknown defendants who provided Wise with medical care and who Wise alleges breached their duty by failing to provide reasonable care under the circumstances.

STANDARD

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that pleadings, including complaints, contain a "short plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A defendant may move to dismiss a claim or case because the complaint fails to "state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court must presume all of the factual allegations in the complaint are true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Total Benefits Planning Agency, Inc., 552 F.3d 430, 434 (6th Cir. 2008) (citing Great Lakes Steel v. Deggendorf, 716 F.2d 1101, 1105 (6th Cir. 1983)). "The court need not, however, accept unwarranted factual inferences." Id. (citing Morgan v. Church's Fried Chicken, 829 F.2d 10, 12 (6th Cir. 1987)).

Even though a "complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). Instead, the plaintiff's "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Id. (citations omitted). A complaint should contain enough facts "to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. A claim becomes plausible "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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). If, from the well-pleaded facts, the court cannot "infer ...


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