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Hardy v. Christy Smith Car Insurance

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Beckley Division

May 4, 2018




         The Court has reviewed the Plaintiff's pro-se Complaint (Document 2), wherein the Plaintiff alleges that officers of the Raleigh County Sheriff's Department discriminated against him and that employees of Raleigh General Hospital, Jan Care Ambulance Service, MedExpress, and the Raleigh County Department of Health and Human Resources committed medical malpractice and negligence in dealing with him after a car accident. His complaint also alleges products liability against Dodge, the manufacturers of the automobile, and includes a complaint against the insurer of the automobile's owner. By Standing Order (Document 3), this action was referred to the Honorable Omar Aboulhosn, United States Magistrate Judge, for submission to this Court of proposed findings of fact and recommendation for disposition, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636. On May 15, 2017, Judge Aboulhosn submitted his Proposed Findings and Recommendation (PF&R) (Document 5), wherein it is recommended that this Court deny the Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (Document 1), dismiss the Plaintiff's complaint, and remove this matter from the Court's docket. The Plaintiff filed his objections to the PF&R[1] (Document 6) on May 18, 2017. For the reasons stated herein, the Court finds that the Plaintiff's objections should be overruled and the Magistrate Judge's PF&R adopted.


         Magistrate Judge Aboulhosn's PF&R sets forth in great detail the procedural and factual history surrounding the Plaintiff's claims. The Court now incorporates by reference those facts and procedural history. To provide context for the ruling herein, the Court provides the following summary.

         The Plaintiff, Tajiia Hardy, brought this action against the following Defendants: Raleigh General Hospital (RGH), the Raleigh County Sheriff's Department, Jan-Care Ambulance Service, MedExpress, Raleigh County Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Lt. T.L. Miles and Cpl. R. Talley of the Raleigh County Sheriff's Department, John and Christy Smith as owners of the automobile he was in when the accident occurred, Dr. Mohamad Kalov, M.D., Jessica Sharp, Kristina Killen, J. Mingo Winters (whom the Plaintiff refers to as “fired attorney”), Jose S. Romero of RGH, the unnamed insurers who provided John and Christy Smith with car insurance, and Dodge automobile manufacturers along with “every seller [of Dodge automobiles] in the distribution chain.” (Compl. at 2-4.)

         According to his complaint, the Plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident on February 3, 2016. (Id. at 8.) Mr. Hardy was a passenger seated in the back of the automobile owned by John and Christy Smith when the automobile struck a telephone pole. The Plaintiff explains that the airbags in the vehicle did not deploy, and the Plaintiff was able to exit the vehicle and wave for help to pull the automobile back from the pole. (Id.) The Plaintiff alleges that when the police and ambulance arrived on the scene, he was “detained” on the ground while police officers searched the car. Upon searching the trunk of the automobile, police officers found drugs in the purse of Ms. Smith. Mr. Hardy did not know the drugs were in her possession. After being examined[2] by an EMT, Mr. Hardy was told he could go home and that he could go to the hospital the following morning if he was still experiencing pain. Shortly thereafter, a law enforcement officer whom Mr. Hardy refers to as a “drug specialist” took him home. (Id. at 10.)

         The next morning, Mr. Hardy went to the emergency room at Raleigh General Hospital. The doctor who performed the examination informed him he had sore muscles from the accident and gave him an excuse for three days off work to rest and recover. According to Mr. Hardy, no blood work was done and no x-rays or MRIs were taken. He returned to work after three days, but because his soreness and pain persisted, he went to MedExpress. At MedExpress, he was examined and informed by a nurse that his spine was crooked. He alleges that the nurse “…basically right then told me it was broke.” (Id.) He further alleges that while listening to a conversation between the nurse and the doctor at MedExpress, he overheard them talking about the Plaintiff's broken back and deciding whether or not to tell him about it. (Id. at 11.) Based on that conversation, Mr. Hardy alleges that the staff at MedExpress knew his back was broken at the time, but were hiding it from him.

         Given what he alleges was a broken back, Mr. Hardy began interactions with the DHHR regarding his “DHHR papers” that he received in the mail. (Id.) Because his employer would not sign off on the DHHR paperwork, Mr. Hardy eventually quit his job and began the process of “get[ting] [his] medical card and stamps.” (Id.) He alleges that these issues involved a “3 month wait for a 30 day process.” (Id. at 12). During this process, he asserts that several doctors between RGH, MedExpress, and Access Health in Charleston, West Virginia, improperly handled his complaints and failed to transfer his records appropriately. He also contends in his Amended Complaint (Document 4) that he began the process of filing for Social Security and disability benefits, and that it took seven months before he received an answer. Based on all of these allegations, Mr. Hardy complains that the police officers involved in the traffic stop discriminated against him, that all of the medical professionals committed negligence and malpractice, and that the DHHR and Social Security Administration acted in a manner that caused him great injury. He seeks $250, 000, 000 in damages from the listed Defendants.


         This Court “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). However, the Court is not required to review, under a de novo or any other standard, the factual or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge as to those portions of the findings or recommendation to which no objections are addressed. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). In addition, 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). When reviewing portions of the PF&R de novo, the Court will consider the fact that Petitioner is acting pro se, and his pleadings will be accorded liberal construction. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Loe v. Armistead, 582 F.2d 1291, 1295 (4th Cir. 1978).


         Upon review of the Plaintiff's complaint and his petition to proceed in forma pauperis, the Magistrate Judge recommended dismissing the complaint based on it being frivolous.. Judge Aboulhosn first found that the Plaintiff failed to comply with the Medical Professional Liability Act (MPLA), which requires him to serve the medical malpractice Defendants, by certified mail, with a Notice of Claim and a Screening Certificate of Merit thirty (30) days before he filed this lawsuit. Because he failed to comply with these requirements, Judge Aboulhosn recommended dismissing the Plaintiff's medical malpractice/negligence claims. The Magistrate Judge further found that the Plaintiff's complaint as a whole fails to comply with the requirements of Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. He reasoned that, even construing the Plaintiff's complaint liberally, the Plaintiff stated no set of facts for which relief could be granted. Specifically regarding Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the insurers of their automobile, and Dodge, the Magistrate Judge found that Mr. Hardy set forth no set of facts that would support liability of any of these defendants for his alleged injuries. Judge Aboulhosn found that Mr. Hardy failed to state that the automobile he was riding in during the accident was even manufactured by Dodge, much less that Dodge had anything to do with the accident or the Plaintiff's injuries. Thus, Judge Aboulhosn recommended dismissal of the Plaintiff's claims against these defendants.

         Regarding the Plaintiff's claims against DHHR and the Social Security and Disability offices, the Magistrate Judge again noted that the Plaintiff set forth no set of facts that support any claim, and further found that the Plaintiff's complaint fails to precisely state the nature of his claims against the DHHR. Because the Plaintiff merely claims that all of these Defendants are part of some large conspiracy against him, without any facts to support such claims, Judge Aboulhosn also recommended dismissal of these claims.

         With respect to the Plaintiff's discrimination claims against the various law enforcement officers who responded to the car accident, Judge Aboulhosn assumed from the sparse facts stated in the complaint that the Plaintiff was attempting to bring a discrimination claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, although this statute is never specifically invoked. He found, based on the facts alleged, law enforcement officers had a legitimate interest in investigating the scene of a car accident for narcotics. He further found that, by the Plaintiff's own allegations, law enforcement officers drove the Plaintiff home after their investigation and never charged him with any crime. However, Judge Aboulhosn reasoned that this Court should apply the Younger abstention ...

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