Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Goodfellow v. Camp Netimus, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

May 4, 2017

GORDON PARKER GOODFELLOW IV, a minor by GORDON PARKER GOODFELLOW, III and LORENA GOODFELLOW, Parents and Natural Guardians, and GORDON PARKER GOODFELLOW, III and LORENA GOODFELLOW, Individually, Plaintiffs
v.
CAMP NETIMUS, INC., d/b/a CAMP SHOHOLA FOR BOYS, INC. a/k/a CAMP SHOHOLA, INC.; CANDACE KAY LEHMAN and LISA M. CHOU BRASS, Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          MALACHYE. MANNION United States District Judge.

         Pending before the court is the motion to dismiss, (Doc. VZ), of the defendants regarding plaintiffs' direct medical corporate negligence claims raised against Camp Netimus, Inc., d/b/a Camp Shohola for Boys, Inc. ("the Camp") in the amended complaint, (Doc. 10), based on an alleged defective Certificate of Merit ("COM") which allegedly fails to set forth that plaintiffs are proceeding on such a theory against the Camp. The defendants also seek to dismiss the allegations of negligence against the individual defendants as well as all allegations of recklessness. Further, the defendants move to dismiss the parent plaintiffs' loss of consortium claim regarding their minor son. For the reasons discussed below, the defendants' motion will be GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.

         I. PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND[1]

         The plaintiffs, Gordon Parker Goodfellow, III, and Lorena Goodfellow bring this action on behalf of their minor son, Gordon Parker Goodfellow, IV ("GPG"), and on their own behalf. The plaintiffs filed their complaint on July 22, 2016, (Doc. V), against defendants the Camp, and the two Camp infirmary nurses, Candace Kay Lehman and Lisa M. Chou. After defendants were served, they filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on September 23, 2016. (Doc. 9). On September 30, 2016, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. (Doc. 10). There was only one difference between the amended complaint and the original complaint, namely, ¶ 17.1 which stated that counsel erred in checking the wrong box on the original COM for the Camp and that plaintiffs had secured an expert who gave an opinion regarding the negligence of the Camp. Attached to the amended pleading were amended COMs regarding all three defendants. (Doc. 10, pp. 24-30). The amended COM for the Camp had the box for vicarious liability checked. (Doc. 10, pp. 24-25). The court then dismissed the motion to dismiss the original complaint since it was moot. (Doc. 11).

         On October 19, 2016, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss portions of the amended complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (Doc. VZ). The defendants simultaneously filed their brief in support. (Doc. 13). On November 2, 2016, the plaintiffs filed their brief in opposition. (Doc. 16). The defendants filed a reply brief on November 9, 2016, rendering their motion to dismiss ripe for review. (Doc. 17).

         This action relates to the medical treatment GPG received while attending the Camp, as an overnight camper, during the summer of 2014. GPG became sick on July 26, 2014 and was brought to the Camp's infirmary complaining about stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and a fever. The Camp's infirmary was staffed by Lehman and Chou, both licensed professionals, who believed GPG was suffering from a stomach flu. GPG remained in the Camp's infirmary from July 26 through July 29, 2014, allegedly without proper medical care. On July 29, 2014, the Camp Director brought GPG to Hawley Urgent Care where he was immediately referred to Wayne Memorial Hospital Emergency Room for a CT scan. The scan revealed that GPG had a perforated appendix which caused sepsis. GPG was then transported to Geisinger Medical Center where he received IV antibiotics to address the infection. GPG remained at Geisinger receiving antibiotics until September 24, 2014, when he was stable enough to have surgery to remove his appendix. GPG was discharged from Geisinger on September 26, 2014. For one month thereafter, GPG allegedly still had pain in his lower abdomen.

         In their amended complaint, (Doc. 10), the plaintiffs allege that Lehman and Chou were negligent for initially misdiagnosing GPG with a stomach flu, for failing to timely diagnose his condition which was appendicitis, and for failing to supervise and train Camp employees. In addition to the direct professional negligence claims against Lehman and Chou, the plaintiffs claim that the Camp is vicariously liable for the alleged negligence of the two infirmary nurses. The plaintiffs also assert claims of direct and corporate negligence against the Camp, including claims that it failed to adequately train the infirmary staff, it failed to have adequate policies and procedures in place, and it failed to consult with a physician.

         There are five counts in the amended complaint, to wit: (I) a professional medical negligence claim against Lehman; (II) a professional medical negligence claim against Chou; (III) claims of vicarious liability as well as direct corporate medical negligence claims against the Camp; (IV) a claim for emotional distress allegedly suffered by GPG against all defendants; and (V) a claim by GPG's parents against all defendants for recovery of medical bills and a loss of consortium claim by GPG's parents regarding GPG. There are also several allegations of recklessness against the defendants in the amended complaint. As relief in all five counts, plaintiffs seek compensatory damages. This court's jurisdiction is based on diversity 28 U.S.C. §1332.

         As indicated, the plaintiffs attached amended COMs to their amended complaint regarding all three defendants. (Doc. 10. pp. 24-30). The amended COMs against Lehman and Chou were filed based on Pa.R.C.P. 1042.3(a)(1) and state, in pertinent part, an expert has found that "there is a basis to conclude that the care, skill or knowledge exercised or exhibited by this defendant in the treatment, practice or work [at issue], fell outside acceptable professional standards and that such conduct was a cause in bringing about the harm [to GPG]." The amended COM filed against the Camp, which is based only on Pa.R.C.P. 1042.3(a)(2), states that "the claim that this defendant deviated from an acceptable professional standard is based solely on allegations that other licensed professionals [i.e., Lehman and Chou] for whom this defendant is responsible deviated from an acceptable professional standard" and, that an expert has found "there is a basis to conclude that the care, skill or knowledge exercised or exhibited by the other licensed professionals in the treatment, practice or work [at issue], fell outside acceptable professional standards and that such conduct was a cause in bringing about the harm [to GPG]."

         II. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         The defendants' motion to dismiss is brought pursuant to the provisions of Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). This rule provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, if the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The moving party bears the burden of showing that no claim has been stated, Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005), and dismissal is appropriate only if, accepting all of the facts alleged in the complaint as true, the plaintiff has failed to plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, " Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007) (abrogating "no set of facts" language found in Conleyv. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). The facts alleged must be sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. at 1965. This requirement "calls for enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" necessary elements of the plaintiff's cause of action. Id. Furthermore, in order to satisfy federal pleading requirements, the plaintiff must "provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief, " which "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) (brackets and quotations marks omitted) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65).

         In considering a motion to dismiss, the court generally relies on the complaint, attached exhibits, and matters of public record. See Sands v. McCormick, 502 F.3d 263 (3d Cir. 2007). The court may also consider "undisputedly authentic document[s] that a defendant attaches as an exhibit to a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are based on the [attached] documents." Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). Moreover, "documents whose contents are alleged in the complaint and whose authenticity no party questions, but which are not physically attached to the pleading, may be considered." Pryor v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 288 F.3d 548, 560 (3d Cir. 2002). However, the court may not rely on other parts of the record in determining a motion to dismiss. See Jordan v. Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel, 20 F.3d 1250, 1261 (3d Cir. 1994).

         Generally, the court should grant leave to amend a complaint before dismissing it as merely deficient. See, e.g., Fletcher-Harlee Corp. v. Pote Concrete Contractors, Inc., 482 F.3d 247, 252 (3d Cir. 2007); Grayson v. Mavview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002); Shane v. Fauver, 213 F.3d 113, 116-17 (3d Cir. 2000). "Dismissal without leave to amend is justified only on the grounds of bad faith, undue delay, prejudice, or futility." Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229, 236 (3d Cir. 2004).

         B. Motion to Strike

         Defendants' motion, insofar as it seeks to strike portions of the amended complaint, is also made pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). In Tennis v. Ford Motor Co., 730 F.Supp.2d 437, 443 (W.D.Pa. 2010), the court explained as follows regarding a Rule 12(f) motion:

Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f) "[t]he court may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." Rule 12(f) "permits the court, on its own motion, or on the timely motion of a party, to order stricken from any pleading any insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." Adams v. Cnty. of Erie, Pa., 2009 WL 4016636 at *1 (W.D.Pa. Nov. 19, 2009) quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f)). "The purpose of a motion to strike is to clean up the pleadings, streamline litigation, and avoid unnecessary forays into immaterial matters." Natale v. Winthrop Resources Corp., ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.