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Hadeed v. Advanced Vascular Resources of Johnstown, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

December 1, 2017

SAMIR HADEED, MD, and JOHNSTOWN HEART AND VASCULAR CENTER, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
ADVANCED VASCULAR RESOURCES OF JOHNSTOWN, LLC; AVR MANAGEMENT, LLC; and WASHINGTON VASCULAR INSTITUTE, LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          KIM R. GIBSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Pending before the Court is the Motion to Refer Case to Bankruptcy Court (ECF No. 84) filed by Attorney Robert O. Lampl on behalf of Advanced Vascular Resources of Johnstown, LLC ("AVR-Johnstown"). For the reasons that follow, AVR-Johnstown's Motion (ECF No. 84) is GRANTED.

         II. Relevant Procedural and Factual Background[1]

         This case arises from disputes over the operation of a vascular services center located in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. In short, Plaintiffs, who already operated a heart and vascular center in Johnstown, entered into a series of contracts with Defendants by which Plaintiffs would operate the "medical side" of the vascular services center and Defendants would manage the "business side" of the center. The present case ensued because Plaintiffs and Defendants argue that the opposing parties in this dispute failed to comply with the duties imposed by these contracts.

         On October 20, 2017, this Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order (ECF No. 78) partially granting and partially denying both the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Plaintiffs (ECF No. 40) and the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs' Complaint filed by Defendants (ECF No. 44). See Hadeed v. Advanced Vascular Resources of Johnstown, LLC, Case No. 3:15-cv-22, 2017 WL 4998663 (W.D. Pa. Oct. 30, 2017).

         Following the Court's disposition of these motions, the claims and counterclaims in this case proceeded as follows:

"[I]n regard to the Complaint, Count 1 remains as a claim brought by only JHVC [i.e., Johnstown Heart and Vascular Center, Inc.] against only AVR-Management and only as to breach(es) of the Operating Agreement regarding mismanagement;[2]Count 2 remains as a remedy dependent on Count 1; Count 3 is dismissed in its entirety for lack of jurisdiction; Count 4 remains as a claim brought by only JHVC against only WVI [i.e., Washington Vascular Institute, LLC];[3] and Count 5 was withdrawn by Plaintiffs and is dismissed in its entirety.
In regard to the counterclaims of the Answer, Count I remains as a counterclaim under the Sublease and the GPA by AVR-Johnstown, AVR-Management, and WVI against JHVC; Count II was withdrawn and is dismissed in its entirety; Count III was withdrawn and is dismissed in its entirety; Count IV remains as a counterclaim for unjust enrichment by AVR-Johnstown, AVR-Management, and WVI against JHVC and Hadeed; and Count V is dismissed in its entirety due to the elimination of fiduciary duties by the Operating Agreement.

Id. at *31; ECF No. 78 at 61-62. Most relevant for the purposes of AVR-Johnstown's pending Motion to Refer Case to Bankruptcy Court (ECF No. 84), after the disposition of these motions, AVR-Johnstown's only remaining role in this case is as a Counter-Plaintiff bringing the counterclaims included in Count I and Count IV of the Answer. See Hadeed, 2017 WL 4998663, at *31; ECF No. 78 at 61-62.

         On November 22, 2017, AVR-Johnstown, through new counsel, [4] filed the present Motion to Refer Case to Bankruptcy Court (ECF No. 84).

         III. Discussion

         Bankruptcy courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, as defined by 28 U.S.C. § 1334 and 28 U.S.C. § 157. Section 1334 provides that "the district courts shall have original but not exclusive jurisdiction of all civil proceedings arising under title 11 [the Bankruptcy Code], or arising in or related to cases under title 11." 28 U.S.C. § 1334(b). More specifically, under Section 157(a), "[e]ach district court may provide that. . . any or all proceedings arising under title 11 [i.e., the Bankruptcy Code] or arising in or related to a case under title 11 shall be referred to the bankruptcy judges for this district." 28 U.S.C. § 157(a) (emphasis added); see In re Combustion Engineering, Inc., 391 F.3d 190, 225 (3d Cir. 2004) (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Edwards, 514 U.S. 300, 308 (1995)) ("Section 157(a) of the Bankruptcy Code permits district courts to refer most matters to a bankruptcy court, " thereby allowing the bankruptcy courts to "deal efficiently and expeditiously with all matters connected with the bankruptcy estate."); Safe Founds., Inc. v. Metal Founds. Acquisitions, LLC, Civil Action No. 12-1177, 2012 WL 6651540, at *l-*2 (W.D. Pa. Dec. 20, 2012).

         Pursuant to this authority, the judges of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania adopted a standing Order of Reference of Bankruptcy Cases and Proceedings which provides that "any or all proceedings arising under Title 11 or arising in or related to a case under Title 11 ... be and they hereby are referred to the Bankruptcy Judges of this district for consideration and resolution." See Order of Reference of Bankruptcy Cases and Proceedings Nunc Pro Tunc, ...


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