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HomeHealth LawWestern District of Louisiana Confirms that Defendants Can’t Destroy Range if They...

Western District of Louisiana Confirms that Defendants Can’t Destroy Range if They Are in a Completely different Case (LOL)

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We’ve began pondering that it is perhaps enjoyable to run for a seat on our county’s (elected) trial court docket bench, after we retire from our regulation agency.  (Our present marketing campaign is for our township’s college board.  If we succeed, our time period will take us nearly to the purpose at which we plan to retire).  Instances like right now’s strengthen our resolve.  In a world crammed with COVID, mass shootings, melting glaciers, and MAGA rumblings, a contact of the absurd goes a protracted solution to cross the time.  We confess that we regarded to see if the plaintiff in right now’s case was continuing professional se – that’s how little sense any of it made.  And we stored pondering how a lot enjoyable we might have had writing the opinion. 

In Atoe v. Orthopediatric United States Distrib. Corp., 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26983 (W.D. La. Jan. 26, 2023), the plaintiff filed swimsuit in state court docket, alleging claims on behalf of her minor youngster for accidents she alleged the kid sustained on account of an orthopedic surgical process she underwent.  The plaintiff claimed that the kid’s accidents had been brought on by a faulty medical system and by medical malpractice, and she or he sued the hospital and a physician together with defendants within the system’s provide chain.  At about the identical time, she went earlier than a medical overview panel that thought-about her medical malpractice claims towards the medical defendants named in her swimsuit together with one different physician.  As soon as the panel was convened, the plaintiff dismissed the medical defendants from the lawsuit, “presumably,” in response to the court docket, “to permit for exhaustion of the claims towards these malpractice defendants via the medical overview panel course of.”  Atoe, 2023 U.S. Dist. Lexis 26983 at *1-2.  That’s how medical malpractice works in Louisiana.  The remaining defendants eliminated the case to federal court docket, asserting range jurisdiction.  The defendants filed their reply in federal court docket, and the court docket entered a scheduling order that included a trial date. 

In the meantime, the medical overview panel rendered its determination, so the plaintiff was capable of file swimsuit on her previously-dismissed malpractice claims towards the hospital and the medical doctors.  However she didn’t amend her grievance so as to add these defendants; as a substitute, she filed a separate swimsuit in state court docket towards them.  As soon as that swimsuit was filed, the plaintiff moved to remand the federal continuing (towards the product legal responsibility defendants), arguing that the court docket not had range jurisdiction due to the separate lawsuit.  We child you not. 

The court docket commented: 

Plaintiffs in circumstances that contain merchandise legal responsibility and medical malpractice typically file swimsuit towards the merchandise defendants first.  These defendants are normally from out of state, so the case is filed in or eliminated to federal court docket primarily based on range jurisdiction.  After the medical overview course of is accomplished, the plaintiff will search depart to amend the grievance and add the malpractice defendants to the case.  That usually leads to the destruction of range as a result of the plaintiff/affected person and doctor/hospital are usually residents of the identical state.  However that isn’t the case right here. 

Id. at *4.  On this case, even joinder wouldn’t have destroyed range, as a result of full range existed between the plaintiff and the medical defendants.  However that’s neither right here nor there.  Clearly, the malpractice defendants, in their very own state court docket continuing, couldn’t destroy range jurisdiction within the federal lawsuit, as a result of IT WASN’T THE SAME CASE.  The court docket postulated that, given the variety between the plaintiff and the malpractice defendants, the plaintiff was probably pondering of the discussion board defendant rule.  One of many malpractice defendants was a Louisiana resident, so the case wouldn’t have been detachable whereas that “discussion board defendant” remained joined.  However that particular person’s citizenship within the discussion board state was not related BECAUSE HE WAS NOT A PARTY TO THE FEDERAL LAWSUIT.  Nor did the court docket credit score the plaintiff’s argument that it will be extra environment friendly for the court docket to remand the federal case so each circumstances could possibly be litigated collectively in state court docket.  Because the court docket emphasised, issues of judicial effectivity “don’t enable for remand,” as “[f]ederal courts have a just about unflagging obligation to train their jurisdiction.”  Id. at *6 (inner punctuation and citations omitted.).  Lastly, the plaintiff couldn’t make the most of “abstention” to hunt a keep the federal case, as a result of that doctrine applies solely to circumstances involving the identical events and the identical points.  Right here, the state and federal complaints named completely different events and asserted completely different authorized theories.

So far, the court docket was pretty restrained, although we might think about the inevitable eye rolling and chuckling.  To wit, the court docket acknowledged, “Plaintiff can file all the extra lawsuits she needs in state court docket and it’ll by no means destroy range on this case.”  Id. at *7.  Why?  BECAUSE THEY WILL NOT BE THIS CASE – THEY WILL BE SEPARATE LAWSUITS.  The court docket continued, “If plaintiff believed that it was extra environment friendly to attempt the merchandise legal responsibility and medical malpractice claims in a single discussion board, she ought to have tried to hitch the medical malpractice defendants on this case.”  Id, BUT SHE DIDN’T!!

Concluding that “not one of the arguments made by Plaintiff require[s] or enable[s] for remand,” the court docket (clearly) denied the movement.  We acquired slightly elevate from studying Atoe – undecided what that claims about us.  However we’ll take it.  Keep secure on the market.

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