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Davis v. GGNSC Administrative Services LLC

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

August 26, 2019

ANGE DAVIS, individually and as Administrator of THE ESTATE OF JANIE MAE WASHINGTON, deceased, Plaintiffs,
v.
GGNSC ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES LLC d/b/a GOLDEN LIVING CENTER TIFTON, Defendants.

          ORDER

          HUGH LAWSON, SENIOR JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 32), Defendant's Daubert Motion to Exclude Testimony of Dr. John H. Fullerton (Doc. 31), and Plaintiff's Motion to Exclude Defendant's Expert Witness David Retterbush, M.D. (Doc. 30). After reviewing the pleadings, briefs, affidavits, and other evidentiary materials presented, and with the benefit of oral argument, the Court determines that there are genuine issues of material fact that must be resolved by a jury. The Court accordingly DENIES Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court also DENIES both motions to exclude expert testimony.

         I. MOTIONS TO EXCLUDE

         At the April 5, 2019 hearing, the Court heard oral arguments from both parties regarding the respective motions to exclude (Docs. 30, 31). After considering the parties' briefs, oral arguments, and the totality of the information available about Defendant's expert, Dr. Retterbush, and Plaintiff's expert, Dr. Fullerton, the Court found both experts to be qualified and their proposed testimony relevant. Consequently, Plaintiff's Motion to Exclude Defendant's Expert Witness David Retterbush, M.D. (Doc. 30) and Defendant's Daubert Motion to Exclude the Testimony of Dr. John H. Fullerton (Doc. 31) are DENIED.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Before moving to the merits of the pending motions, the Court must address the parties' failure to comply with Local Rule 56. Local Rule 56 provides, in relevant part:

The movant for summary judgment . . . shall attach to the motion a separate and concise statement of the material facts to which the movant contends there is no genuine dispute to be tried . . . . The respondent to a motion for summary judgment shall attach to the response a separate and concise statement of material facts . . . to which the respondent contends there exists a genuine dispute to be tried.

         M.D. Ga. L.R. 56. Local Rule 56 is intended to instruct the parties how best to assist the Court in identifying genuine material facts which are in dispute. The rule in this circuit is that local rules are binding on the parties, but the enforcement of the rule must be tempered with consideration of the circumstances. Cohen v. Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc., 782 F.2d 923, 924 (11th Cir. 1986). It must be noted, however, that “[t]here is no burden upon the district court to distill every potential argument that could be made based upon the materials before it on summary judgment.” Resolution Trust Corp. v. Dunmar Corp., 43 F.3d 587, 599 (11th Cir. 1995).

         Here, neither party abided by Local Rule 56. Instead, Defendant relies upon all pleadings filed with the Court, discovery and depositions on file with the Court, and all other evidence properly admitted before the Court as of the date of the summary judgment hearing. (Doc. 32, p. 1). Plaintiff also failed to attach a separate statement of material facts. In considering the circumstances, the Court finds that the materials presented by the parties provide a sufficiently developed record for the adjudication of Defendant's motion for summary judgment, especially when considering that facts and reasonable inferences must be construed in favor of the non-moving party. The Court has discerned the following facts from the documents, pleadings, and evidence on the record in the light most favorable to Plaintiff:

         On January 5, 2011, Janie Mae Washington was admitted to Golden Living Center in Tifton, Georgia. Golden Living Center is a long-term care skilled nursing facility. Upon admission, Ms. Washington suffered from several medical issues: end-stage renal disease, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, anemia, Alzheimer's disease, seizures, hypertension, and congestive heart failure. (Doc. 1-1, p. 5). In January 2014, Ms. Washington began to suffer from additional medical concerns. From 2014 to 2016, Ms. Washington began receiving nutrition through a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube, required total assistance for all activities and daily living due to incontinence, and developed multiple sacral pressure ulcers. (Id. at pp. 5-6). On January 15, 2016, Ms. Washington passed away. (Id. at p. 6).

         Ange Davis, Ms. Washington's daughter, filed this action in Tift County State Court on April 26, 2017, individually and in her capacity as Administrator of her mother's estate, alleging that the negligence and professional negligence of Defendant “in failing to prevent the injuries that Janie Mae Washington sustained while a resident at the Facility” resulted in her death. (Doc. 9-1, p. 3-4). Plaintiff's complaint pleads eight counts: Count One- Negligence Per Se Based upon Violation of Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities at 42 C.F.R. § 483.1 et. seq.; Count Two- Violation of Requirements of the Georgia Bill of Rights for Residents of Long-term Care Facilities at O.C.G.A. § 31-8-100 et seq.; Count Three- General negligence; Count Four- Professional negligence; Count Five-Breach of Contract; Count Six- Imputed liability; Count Seven- Wrongful Death; Count Eight- Negligent hiring, retention, supervision and training. Defendant subsequently removed the complaint to this Court on June 9, 2017. This Court previously denied Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 12). Defendant now moves for summary judgment, and the motion is ripe for review.

         III. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate when “the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact arises only when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). When considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must evaluate all of the evidence, together with any logical inferences, in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Id. at 254- 55. The court may not, however, make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence. Id. at 255; see also Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

         IV. ...


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