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Manson v. State of Washington Health Care Authority

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

April 14, 2017

DARYL MANSON, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF WASHINGTON HEALTH CARE AUTHORITY, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO DISMISS

          JAMES L. ROBART United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the court are Defendants State of Washington Health Care Authority (“HCA”) and Northwest Hospital & Medical Center's (“Northwest”) motions to dismiss Plaintiff Daryl Manson's complaint. (HCA Mot. (Dkt. # 8); N.W. Mot. (Dkt. # 11).) The court has considered the motions, the parties' filings in opposition to and support of the // motions, the relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law. Being fully advised, [1]the court grants the motions for the reasons set forth below.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Mr. Manson filed this suit on February 9, 2017. (See IFP Mot. (Dkt. # 1).) In the part of his complaint directed toward HCA, Mr. Manson copies the text of a notification he allegedly received from HCA regarding the unauthorized disclosure of Mr. Manson's Medicaid information between November 15, 2013, and December 24, 2015. (Compl. (Dkt. # 4) at 4-9.) The notification states that an HCA employee emailed spreadsheets containing health information to someone who should not have received the information. (See Id. at 6.)

         Mr. Manson's complaint then describes a series of events that allegedly occurred at Northwest in January 2016. (See Id. at 10.) Mr. Manson alleges that after he was admitted to Northwest on January 3, 2016, staff gave Mr. Manson a variety of medications, inserted an intravenous line into his arm, caused Mr. Manson to go into cardiac arrest, and intubated Mr. Manson to start his breathing. (Id. at 10-11.) Mr. Manson asserts that he remained intubated and unconscious in the intensive care unit at Northwest from January 3, 2016, to January 9, 2016. (Id. at 11.) Mr. Manson further alleges that after regaining consciousness, he was moved to the rehabilitation unit of the hospital for 12 days. (Id. at 12.) While in the rehabilitation unit, a physician allegedly prescribed Mr. Manson medications that caused him to suffer hallucinations, vertigo, and nausea. (Id. at 12.) These ailments rendered Mr. Manson dependent on a walker to walk during his hospital stay. (Id.) Mr. Manson was released from Northwest on January 22, 2016. (Id. at 13.) Mr. Manson alleges that the events that occurred at Northwest were “a botched attempt . . . to mentally and physically incapacitate” him. (Id. at 17.)

         Mr. Manson alleges that HCA was negligent in disclosing his personal health information and defamed him by doing so. (Compl. at 4-9.) He asserts that Northwest committed medical malpractice during his treatment there. (Id. at 10-15.) Mr. Manson seeks damages for his injuries. (See Id. at 28, 31.)

         Defendants have each filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction. (See HCA Mot. at 1; N.W. Mot. at 1.) They argue that the Eleventh Amendment bars Mr. Manson's suit because he brings claims against entities that are immune from suit in federal court. (HCA Mot. at 1-2; N.W. Mot. at 2-3.) Mr. Manson responds to the motions by requesting a tort claim form. (See 1st Resp. (Dkt. # 14) at 2 (“Plaintiff at this time is requesting a ‘claim form' from State of Washington Risk Management to file a pre[-]suit complaint . . . .”); see also 2d Resp. (Dkt. # 19).) The court now addresses Defendants' motions.

         III. ANALYSIS

         Defendants' argument that the Eleventh Amendment bars Mr. Manson's claims implicates the court's subject matter jurisdiction. See, e.g., Savage v. Glendale Union High Sch., Dist. No. 205, Maricopa Cty., 343 F.3d 1036, 1040 (9th Cir. 2003). For this reason, the court first addresses whether it has subject matter jurisdiction over this action. // Because the court concludes that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction, see infra § III.B, the court declines to address the question of personal jurisdiction.

         A. Legal Standard

         A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) tests the court's subject matter jurisdiction. See Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004); Holdner v. Or. Dep't of Agric., 676 F.Supp.2d 1141, 1144 (D. Or. 2009). “When a motion to dismiss attacks subject-matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) on the face of the complaint, the court assumes the factual allegations in the complaint are true and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.” City of L.A. v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., 22 F.Supp.3d 1047, 1052 (C.D. Cal. 2014); see also Covarrubias v. Cty. of Mono, No. CIV. S-09-0613 LKK/KJM, 2009 WL 2590729, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 20, 2009) (“In a Rule 12(b)(1) motion [bringing a facial attack], the plaintiff is entitled to safeguards similar to those applicable when a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is made.”). The court also liberally construes a pro se plaintiff's filings. Blaisdell v. Frappiea, 729 F.3d 1237, 1241 (9th Cir. 2013). When a party raises the question of subject matter jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing the court's jurisdiction. See Ass'n of Am. Med. Colls. v. United States, 217 F.3d 770, 778 (9th Cir. 2000).

         B. Defendants' Motions

         The law is clear that “agencies of the state are immune under the Eleventh Amendment from private damages or suits for injunctive relief brought in federal court.”[2]Savage, 343 F.3d at 1040 (citing Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984)). A plaintiff can overcome the Eleventh Amendment bar only if the state has consented to waive its sovereign immunity or if ...


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