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Tater-Alexander v. Amerjan

May 4, 2009

MICHAEL TATER-ALEXANDER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LONNIE R. AMERJAN, INDIVIDUALLY CITY OF CLOVIS, A MUNICIPAL AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; CORPORATION; TINA STIRLING, CAPACITY; COMMUNITY REGIONAL INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL MEDICAL CENTER, AN ENTITY OF MANSFIELD, AN INDIVIDUAL; UNKNOWN FORM; DR. THOMAS MARILYN JO GREENE, AN INDIVIDUAL; AND DOES 1 THROUGH 100, AS ENTITIES OF UNKNOWN FORM AND UNKNOWN CAPACITIES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE: DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S FIRST, THIRD, NINTH, TWELFTH, AND FOURTEENTH CAUSES OF ACTION(DOC. 64)

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Michael Tater-Alexander ("Tater-Alexander") raises a multitude of federal and state law claims stemming from the Defendants alleged refusal of emergency medical care and the disclosure of his confidential medical diagnosis.

This matter is before the court on a motion to dismiss, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), filed by Defendant Dr. Thomas E. Mansfield ("Mansfield"). Plaintiff opposes the motion.

II. BACKGROUND.*fn1

A. The Parties

Plaintiff is an individual and resident of the City of Clovis. (SAC ¶ 8.) Plaintiff suffers from certain physiological disorders impairing his neurological and musculoskeletal systems. (Id. ¶ 9.) Plaintiff asserts that he is limited in many of his major life activities and that his disorder is exacerbated when he is subjected to cold temperatures. (Id. ¶¶ 10, 22, 35.)

Defendant Community Regional Medical Center ("Community Medical") is a not-for-profit health care provider located in Clovis, California. (Id. ¶ 14.) Defendant Dr. Mansfield, a board certified medical doctor, and Greene, a registered nurse, provide medical services to patients at Clovis Community Medical Center. (Id. ¶¶ 17-19.) Defendant City of Clovis is a municipal corporation within the State of California. (Id. ¶¶ 22-25.) Defendants Lonnnie Amerjan and Tina Stirling are peace officers employed by the City of Clovis. (Id.)

B. Summary of the Complaint

At approximately 8:00 p.m. on March 17, 2007, Plaintiff presented at Community Medical's emergency department complaining of abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and an inability to drink liquids. (Id. ¶ 29.) Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Mansfield and Nurse Greene, who requested that he put on a hospital gown prior to an examination. (Id. ¶ 34.) Plaintiff refused and told Mansfield and Greene that he suffered from a certain disorder, which caused him severe pain when subjected to cold temperatures. (Id. ¶ 35.) Plaintiff requested that Mansfield and Greene perform the examination with his clothes on. (Id.) Mansfield and Greene refused to exam Plaintiff unless he put on a hospital gown. (Id.)

Plaintiff then informed Mansfield and Greene of his disorder and the accommodations provided to him on prior occasions at Community Medical. (Id. ¶ 36.) Plaintiff specified that he had never been required to dress in a hospital gown. (Id.) Nonetheless, Mansfield and Greene reiterated that unless Plaintiff dressed in a hospital gown, they would not examine him. (Id. ¶ 37.) Plaintiff alleges that Mansfield and Greene then accused him of being a drug-seeker and malingerer and Mansfield expressed distaste for Plaintiff personally, including his lifestyle. (Id. ¶ 38.)

Between 9:00-10:30 p.m., Officers Sterling and Amerjan, responding to a call about an uncooperative patient, arrived at Community Medical Center. (Id. ¶¶ 41, 45.) Stirling approached Plaintiff, who was now in a hospital bed, and asked him why he refused to put on a hospital gown. (Id. ¶ 42) Plaintiff stated that he suffered from a disorder that caused him to experience severe pain when subjected to cold temperatures. (Id. ¶ 42) Stirling inquired as to Plaintiff's disorder, but he refused to disclose it. (Id. ¶ 43) At this time, Plaintiff, Stirling, Aberjan, and Greene were the only individuals in the room. (Id.)

Greene, Stirling, and Amerjan then moved into an adjacent hallway to conduct a conversation. (Id. ¶ 48) Following the conversation, Greene, Stirling, and Amerjan returned to Plaintiff's room and advised him that they wanted to perform certain tests on him. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that the tests mentioned are those used to verify his undisclosed medical condition. (Id.)

Greene, Stirling, and Amerjan then moved into the hallway for a second time. (Id. ¶ 50) When they returned to the room, Amerjan ordered Plaintiff to leave the hospital. (Id.) Plaintiff refused to leave and repeated his requests for a "clothes on" medical exam. (Id. ¶ 57.) Mansfield and Green again refused to provide medical care to Plaintiff unless he put on a hospital gown. (Id. ¶ 60.)

At around 6:00 a.m. on March 18, 2007, Plaintiff was examined at Community Medical by Dr. Gurchuran Singh and a House Supervisor. (Id. ¶ 61.) Plaintiff was eventually diagnosed with having an acute pancreatic pseudocyst and, a few days later, his pancreas was removed. (Id. ¶¶ 62-63).

C. Procedural History

On March 14, 2008, Plaintiff filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, against the City of Clovis, Lonnie Amerjan, Tina Stirling, Community Regional Medical Center, Nurse Greene, and Dr. Mansfield. Plaintiff brings claims under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act ("EMTALA") and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA"), among other federal claims. Plaintiff also raises several supplemental state ...


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