United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
DEBBIE HIGGS, AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF MARVIS HIGGS, DECEASED PLAINTIFF
GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL SENIOR CARE, LLC D/B/A GOLDEN LIVING; ET AL. DEFENDANTS
Charles R. Simpson III, Senior Judge
case is before the court on a partial motion for judgment on
the pleadings filed by 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 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, and GPH Louisville
Hillcreek, LLC (collectively “Defendants”). ECF
No. 21. Plaintiff Debbie Higgs responded. ECF No. 22.
Defendants replied. ECF No. 23. This matter is now ripe for
review. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion
will be granted.
Higgs was a resident at Golden Living Center - Hillcreek in
Louisville, Kentucky from January 26, 2016 until February 4,
2016. Pl. Complaint, ECF No. 1, ¶ 3. Golden Living
Center - Hillcreek “is engaged in the for-profit
custodial care of elderly individuals who are chronically
infirm, mentally impaired and/or in need of nursing care and
treatment.” Id. at ¶ 6. During the
relevant time period, Marvis Higgs was “of an unsound
mind” and “looking to [Golden Living Center -
Hillcreek] for treatment of his total needs for custodial,
nursing, and medical care . . .” Id. at
¶¶ 4, 22.
Living Center - Hillcreek allegedly “failed to
discharge [its] obligations of care to Marvis Higgs.”
Id. at ¶ 25. This allegedly caused Marvis Higgs
to suffer “accelerated deterioration of his health and
physical condition beyond that caused by the normal aging
process.” Id. at ¶ 26. Specifically,
Higgs suffered from “[o]pen blisters; [s]ores; [s]kin
injuries; [i]nfections; and [d]eath.” Id.
March 6, 2017, Debbie Higgs, as Administratrix of Marvis
Higgs' estate, filed suit against Defendants in Jefferson
Circuit Court. ECF No. 1-1, p. 2. Then, on March 30, 2017,
the case was removed to this court. ECF No. 1. Defendants now
seek judgment on the pleadings as to Higgs' claims for
violation of residents' rights under KRS 216.515(26) and
negligence per se.
Court analyzes a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the
pleadings under the same standard as a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Fritz v. Charter
Twp. of Comstock, 592 F.3d 718, 722 (6th Cir. 2010).
Therefore, to survive a Rule 12(c) motion, a complaint must
contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.” Bell v. Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167
L.Ed.2d 929 (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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d.
868 (2009). While “[t]he plausibility standard is not
akin to a ‘probability requirement, ' it demands
“more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Id. The factual allegations
in the complaint must “raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Twombley, 550 U.S. at
considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the court
may examine the complaint and its exhibits, public records,
items appearing in the record of the case, and documents
incorporated by reference into the complaint and central to
the claims. Barany-Snyder v. Weiner, 539 F.3d 327,
332 (6th Cir. 2008); Bassett v. Nat'l Collegiate
Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 430 (6th Cir. 2008).
The court must view the complaint in the light most favorable
to the nonmoving party, accepting as true all well-pleaded
factual allegations and drawing all reasonable inferences in
the nonmoving party's favor. Commercial Money Ctr.,
Inc. v. Ill. Union Ins. Co., 508 F.3d 327, 336 (6th Cir.
2007). However, the court need not accept as true the
nonmoving party's legal conclusions or unwarranted
factual allegations. Id. The motion may be granted
only if the moving party is nevertheless entitled to judgment
as a matter of law. Id.
argue that they are entitled to judgment on the pleadings as
to Higgs' claims for violation of residents' rights
under KRS 216.515(26) and negligence per se. These
arguments will be considered in further detail below.
Violation of Residents' Rights Under KRS
first argue that Higgs does not have standing to state a
direct claim for violation of residents' rights under KRS
216.515(26) because such claims must be brought by a resident
or his guardian during the resident's lifetime. Higgs
fails to respond to this argument in the response motion. To
the extent that ...