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Higgs v. Golden Gate National Senior Care, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky

August 14, 2017

DEBBIE HIGGS, as Administratrix of the Estate of Marvis Higgs, Deceased PLAINTIFF
v.
GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL SENIOR CARE, LLC d/b/a GOLDEN LIVING; GGNSC LOUISVILLE HILLCREEK, LLC d/b/a GOLDEN LIVING CENTER - HILLCREEK; GGNSC ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES, LLC d/b/a GOLDEN VENTURES; GGNSC HOLDINGS, LLC d/b/a GOLDEN HORIZONS; GGNSC EQUITY HOLDINGS, LLC; GGNSC EQUITY HOLDINGS II, LLC; GOLDEN GATE ANCILLARY, LLC; GGNSC CLINICAL SERVICES, LLC; GPH LOUISVILLE HILLCREEK, LLC; RENAY ADKINS, in her capacity as Administrator of Golden Living Center - Hillcreek;-and JOHN DOES 1 THROUGH 5, UNKNOWN DEFENDANTS NO. 3

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Charles R. Simpson III, Senior Judge

         I. Introduction

         This matter is before the Court on the motion of Defendant Renay Adkins to dismiss all claims against her under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), ECF No. 3. Plaintiff Debbie Higgs, as Administratrix of the Estate of Marvis Higgs, responded, ECF No. 7. Adkins replied, ECF No. 10.

         Higgs also moved to remand the case to the Jefferson County, Kentucky Circuit Court, ECF No. 8. Defendants Golden Gate National Senior Care, LLC, d/b/a Golden Living, GGNSC Louisville Hillcreek, LLC d/b/a Golden Living Center - Hillcreek, GGNSC Administrative Services, LLC, GGNSC Holdings, LLC, GGNSC Equity Holdings, LLC, GGNSC Equity Holdings II, LLC, Golden Gate Ancillary, LLC, GGNSC Clinical Services, LLC, GPH Louisville Hillcreek, LLC, and Adkins (collectively, “Defendants”) responded. Higgs did not reply.

         Because these motions involve similar issues and the same facts, the Court will address them in a single memorandum opinion and order. The Court will begin by considering Higgs' motion to remand the case to the Jefferson County Circuit Court and then will address Adkins' motion to dismiss the claims. For the reasons explained below, the Court will deny Higgs' motion to remand the case to the Jefferson County Circuit Court. The Court will grant Adkins' motion to dismiss the claims that are asserted against her.

         II. Background

         A. Allegations in the Complaint

         Marvis Higgs was a resident of Golden Living Center - Hillcreek. Compl. ¶ 3, ECF No. 1-1. He lived at the facility between January 26, 2016 and February 4, 2016, excluding periods of hospitalization. Id. Marvis Higgs was of unsound mind and looked to Defendants “for treatment of his total needs for custodial, nursing, and medical care.” Id. ¶¶ 4, 22.

         Because of Defendants' alleged wrongful conduct, Marvis Higgs “suffered accelerated deterioration of his health and physical condition beyond that caused by the normal aging process.” Id. ¶ 26. For example, he suffered open blisters, sores, skin injuries, and infections. Id. Defendants' alleged wrongful conduct also caused Marvis Higgs “loss of personal dignity, extreme pain and suffering, degradation, mental anguish, [and] disfigurement, ” as well as his death. Id. ¶¶ 26-27.

         Higgs filed suit in the Jefferson County Circuit Court. She asserts claims of negligence, medical negligence, and corporate negligence against Defendants, as well as a claim of administrator negligence against Adkins. Id. ¶¶ 58-65. She additionally asserts a wrongful death claim against Defendants. Id. ¶¶ 66-69. Higgs seeks punitive and compensatory damages, and costs and other appropriate relief. Id. ¶ 72.

         B. Procedural History

         Defendants removed the case to this Court under the diversity statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Not. Removal 1, ECF No. 1. Defendants then filed an answer to Higgs' claims. Answer 1, ECF No. 2.

         III. Higgs' Motion to Remand the Case to the Jefferson County Circuit Court

         Higgs has moved to remand the case to the Jefferson County Circuit Court. Mot. Remand 1, ECF No. 8. Higgs asserts that both she and Adkins are domiciled in Kentucky and thus that there is not complete diversity. Mem. Supp. Mot. Remand 3, ECF No. 8-1. Defendants, however, contend that Adkins was fraudulently joined to prevent removal to this Court. Resp. Opp. Mot. Remand 1-3, ECF No. 11. Defendants explain that Higgs cannot assert a colorable claim against Adkins because she was “never employed at the nursing home facility at any point during Marvis Higgs' residence.” Id. at 3. As part of her motion to dismiss, which Defendants incorporate in their response to the motion to remand, id. at 2., Adkins includes an affidavit in which she states that she served as an administrator of Golden Living Center - Hillcreek between April 7, 2014 and January 19, 2016, leaving five days ...


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