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Perkins v. Princeton Community Hospital

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia

March 6, 2018

ETHELOMA RENEE PERKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
PRINCETON COMMUNITY HOSPITAL, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          David A. Faber Senior United States District Judge

         By Standing Order, this action was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Omar J. Aboulhosn for submission of findings and recommendations regarding disposition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). Magistrate Judge VanDervort submitted to the court his Proposed Findings and Recommendations ("PF&R) on January 26, 2017, in which he recommended that the court grant defendants' motion to dismiss. Plaintiff filed objections to that PF&R. By Memorandum Opinion and Order entered on July 21, 2017, the court sustained plaintiff's objections insofar as she argued that the court should order service by the U.S. Marshal and asked for further consideration of her claims against Gee and Stultz. To that end, the court ordered the matter recommitted to Magistrate Judge Aboulhosn for consideration of those two issues. Plaintiff's objections were overruled in all other respects and defendants' motion to dismiss was granted in part and denied in part.

         Magistrate Judge Aboulhosn submitted his second PF&R to the court on July 31, 2017, in which he recommended that the court grant defendants' motion to dismiss in all remaining aspects. Plaintiff filed objections on August 15, 2017, [1] and defendants responded to those objections on August 22, 2017.

         In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), the parties were allotted fourteen days plus three mailing days in which to file any objections to Magistrate Judge Aboulhosn's Findings and Recommendations. The failure of any party to file such objections within the time allowed constitutes a waiver of such party's right to a de novo review by this court. Snyder v. Ridenour, 889 F.2d 1363 (4th Cir. 1989). It is worth noting that this court need not conduct a de novo review when a party “makes general and conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in the magistrate's proposed findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). With respect to plaintiff's objections, where appropriate, the court has conducted a de novo review.

         Plaintiff's complaint arises out of defendants' part in submitting a certain document, an OIC-WC-1, to the West Virginia Workers' Compensation Bureau. According to plaintiff, she became suicidal and, on or about March 27, 2015, she was admitted to the Princeton Community Hospital, Behavioral Health Pavilion (“BHP”), for approximately seven days. See ECF No. 2 at p.2. While a patient, plaintiff was under the care of Anita Waid. See Id. Upon admission to the BHP, plaintiff alleges that she filled out an OIC-WCI for Worker's Compensation. Thereafter, on or about April 3, 2015, Jenny Stultz, a receptionist, brought plaintiff a second OIC-WCI, explaining that the first one was destroyed because it had been signed by Anita Waid who would not be working there much longer. See id. at p.3. According to plaintiff, Stultz told her that Dr. Kerry Musick needed to be the one to sign the form. See id. Stultz allegedly also told Perkins “so you're going to sue your Employer.” Id. The second form was signed by Dr. Musick who, according to plaintiff, never examined or treated her. See id.

         Plaintiff alleges that the second OCI-WCI and her discharge summary were “replete with false and misleading assertions.” that caused her claim for workers' compensation benefits to be denied. Id. After plaintiff complained, on or about October 19, 2015, Dr. Musick submitted an addendum to the discharge summary retracting the assertions that plaintiff had tested positive for cocaine on a drug screen and that she had admitted to cocaine use approximately one week prior to admission. See id. at p.4. On or about March 2016, Dr. Jeffrey T. Gee, the medical director at BHP, issued another addendum which, in essence, stated that the discharge summary overstated her issues with alcohol abuse. See ECF No. 3.

         Named as defendants in this lawsuit are: Princeton Community Hospital, Behavioral Health Pavillion, Dr. Musick, Anita Waid, Dr. Gee, and Jenny Stultz. Plaintiff asserted the following claims or causes of actions against defendants:

1. Violation of her civil rights under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, having been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment;
2. Violation of her civil rights to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment;
3. Libel, slander, and defamation of character;
4. Intentional infliction of emotional distress;
5. Medical malpractice;
6. Negligence;
7. Deliberate indifference to her serious ...

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