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Mahone v. The Medical Center, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division

March 20, 2019

THOMAS JAMES MAHONE, Plaintiff,
v.
THE MEDICAL CENTER, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER

          STEPHEN HYLES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Presently pending before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint (ECF No. 18) and Plaintiff's motions seeking leave to amend (ECF No. 21), recusal (ECF No. 26), a hearing (ECF No. 30), and court compelled action (ECF No. 31). For the reasons explained below, Defendant's motion to dismiss and Plaintiff's motion to amend are granted. Plaintiff's renewed motion for recusal is denied and his motions for a hearing and court compelled action are denied as moot.

         BACKGROUND

         I. Factual Allegations

         According to Plaintiff's original complaint (ECF No. 1), on November 12, 2013, at approximately 12:44 a.m., Plaintiff “presented himself” to the emergency room at Midtown Medical Center (“MMC”). Compl. 7, ECF No. 1. There, he “requested an appropriate medical screening examination and treatment for his suicidal ideations, depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and hallucinations.” Id. Plaintiff was triaged by Jamila Harris, a registered nurse, at roughly 1:06 a.m. Id. at 10. Harris conducted a physical assessment of Plaintiff and classified him “as a category two (2) patient, and dressed him out in hospital gowns and obtained an initial urine sample.” Id. Harris “did not accept [P]laintiff's initial urine sample and so at [approximately 1:25 a.m.] [P]laintiff request[ed] to be discharged.” Id. However, instead of discharging Plaintiff, Harris and Dr. Thomas Demaro, an emergency room physician, “ordered MMC security guards to detain [P]laintiff against his will and subjected him to false imprisonment and battery.” Id.

         Plaintiff was “placed on suicidal observation precautions” at approximately 1:45 a.m., and observed by nurses. Compl. 13. Plaintiff also contends that Dr. Demaro “ordered Plaintiff to be chemically restrained with the psychotropic drugs Haldol and Activan [sic]” in violation of MMC policy. Id. at 12.[1] Plaintiff alleges he “was pressured and threatened[, ]” by Nurse Harris and an MMC security guard, “to provide a second urine sample by means of a catheter” at approximately 3:45 a.m. Id. at 14. Plaintiff attempted to decline the procedure by stating it would be “too painful” and “renewed his request to be discharged.” Id. Despite this request, at approximately 4:15 a.m., Dr. Demaro and Nurse Harris ordered hospital security guards “to restrain [P]laintiff in order to obtain a second urine sample from him.” Id. Nurse Harris allegedly “maliciously and forcefully inserted a catheter into [P]laintiff's penis and extracted a urine sample while he was being restrained” and Plaintiff “urinated blood” and “was sore for three days after the catheter.” Id. Plaintiff also contends a security guard choked him “and used pressure points techniques” to get him to submit to the catheter and that another guard twisted his left arm “causing extreme pain” while attempting to restrain Plaintiff during the catheterization. Id.

         Plaintiff admits that, while he was being restrained, he threatened to “kick [a MMC guard's] ass for choking [Plaintiff] and for using pressure points to get him to submit to the catheter.” Compl. 15. As a result of these threats, Plaintiff was “arrested on criminal charges, terroristic threats and disorderly conduct” at approximately 4:23 a.m.-eight minutes after the forced catheterization procedure. Id. At 4:29 a.m., Dr. Demaro “medically cleared Plaintiff to be transferred to Muscogee County Jail, without admitting him as an inpatient” and “without providing [Plaintiff] with a psychiatric evaluation or treatment.” Id. Plaintiff contends that his “emergency medical condition deteriorated when he was transferred to the county jail” and that he “became emotionally traumatized and experienced prolonged suicidal ideations for six (6) months, suffered serious cognitive impairment and incontinence, has been under mental health care for the past three years, and he has developed a distrust for medical practicioners [sic] touching or examining him[.]” Id. Plaintiff also contends that he has suffered “lapse in memory” and his “chronic rage flares up” as a result of Defendants' conduct. Id.

         In his original complaint, Plaintiff raises claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against numerous Defendants, alleging they have violated various constitutional rights. See Compl. 16-18, 20. He also argues that MMC and multiple other Defendants should be liable under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (“EMTALA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd, . See Compl. 16. Plaintiff also appears to raise state law claims for battery, fraud, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. See Compl. 19-21. Finally, he seeks a declaratory judgment, compensatory and punitive damages, and other fees, penalties, and fines as relief for these alleged violations. Compl. 21-22.

         II. Procedural History

         A. Prior Suit

         Plaintiff's claims are familiar to the Court because he raised them in a previous action based on the same alleged November 12, 2013, events. See Mahone v. Midtown Medical Center, No. 4:15-cv-00180-CDL-MSH (M.D. Ga. Nov. 9, 2015) (“Mahone I”). In Mahone I, Plaintiff also raised § 1983 and EMTALA claims against many of the same Defendants he initially brought claims against in this case, including Defendants MMC, Nichols, Foster, and Kaiser. Plaintiff also attempted to raise these federal claims against numerous John and Jane Doe security guards and nurses, including Dr. Demaro and Nurse Harris. See Mahone I, ECF No. 59, (Aug. 24, 2017) (Order & R. & R. denying motion to amend to add parties). In addition, Plaintiff alleged state law claims against Defendants Nichols, Foster, Kaiser, MMC, and numerous Doe Defendants for battery, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. See Mahone I, ECF No. 16, (Feb. 26, 2016) (Suppl. Compl.).

         Following initial screening of his claims in Mahone I, Plaintiff's individual capacity § 1983 claims against Defendants Nichols, Foster, and Kaiser, and his state law claims against MMC, were permitted to proceed for further factual development. See Mahone I, ECF No. 18, (May 20, 2016) (R. & R.). But, Plaintiff's other claims were dismissed, without prejudice, over Plaintiff's objections. Mahone I, ECF No. 25, (June 22, 2016), (Order adopting R. & R.). The defendants who remained in Mahone I moved for summary judgment on October 7, 2016. Plaintiff responded to that motion by filing his own motion for summary judgment in which he also requested that the Court consolidate this case- which he initiated on May 9, 2017 (ECF No. 1)-with Mahone I. See Attach. 1 to Pl.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 53-1 in Mahone I. On August 24, 2017, the undersigned recommended that Plaintiff's claims against the only remaining individual Defendants in Mahone I be dismissed on grounds that they were not state actors and Plaintiff therefore could not maintain his § 1983 claims against them. The undersigned further recommended that the Court decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims and denied Plaintiff's motions to amend and his motion to consolidate. See Mahone I, ECF No. 59, (Aug. 24, 2017) (Order & R. & R.). Judgment was entered dismissing Plaintiff's remaining claims in Mahone I, on September 27, 2017. Mahone I, ECF No. 64, (Sept. 27, 2017) (J.).

         B. This Action

         Plaintiff initiated this suit on May 22, 2017 (ECF No. 1). The Court conducted a preliminary screening and, on December 22, 2017, allowed Plaintiff's EMTALA claims against Defendant MMC to proceed but dismissed all of his § 1983 claims and his state law claims against all non-MMC defendants. Order 23, ECF No. 10. Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiff's EMTALA claims on March 5, 2018, arguing they are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Mot. to Dismiss 1, ECF No. 18. Plaintiff was notified of Defendant's motion to dismiss the same day. Notification of Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No.19. On March 29, 2018, Plaintiff, in two separate submissions, responded to Defendant's motion and also moved to amend his complaint (ECF Nos. 20, ...


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