United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT UNITED STATES OF
AMERICA'S MOTIONS (1) TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A
CLAIM AND (2) TO STAY DISCOVERY
J. BRYAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTERS come before the Court on Defendant United States of
America's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim
(Dkt. 8) and Defendant United States of America's Motion
to Stay Discovery (Dkt. 13). The Court has considered the
Complaint (Dkt. 1), the pleadings of the parties, and the
remainder of the file herein. Because the Complaint states a
claim upon which relief can be granted, Defendant's
motion to dismiss should be denied. Defendant's motion to
stay discovery should be denied as moot.
Complaint arises from the alleged negligent medical services
provided by Defendant United States of America at a military
hospital, Madigan Army Medical Center (MAMC). Dkt. 1 at
¶1. It is alleged that Plaintiff Amanda Pope suffered
“severe neurological damage . . . rendering her unable
to breathe without mechanical assistance and
ventilation.” Id. at ¶2. This harm
allegedly followed an operation on April 26, 2016,
specifically, a “median sternotomy to remove a benign
anterior mediastinal mass.” Id. at ¶5.
The negligent care and treatment of MAMC's
“employees, agents, and ostensible agents” caused
a “bilateral phrenic nerve injury resulting in
respiratory failure, ” which fell below the standard of
care owed and required Plaintiff Amanda Pope to undergo
diaphragm plications and resulted in post-surgery
complications. Id. at ¶¶7-10.
Complaint alleges a single claim for Negligence. Dkt. 1 at
¶¶15-21. The Prayer for Relief seeks general and
special damages, including compensation for loss of
consortium for Plaintiff Rich Pope, as well as costs and
fees. Id. at pp. 4, 5.
initiated this action by Complaint on October 25, 2017. Dkt.
1. An Initial Scheduling Order issued by Magistrate Judge
Theresa Fricke requires the filing of a Joint Status Report
(JSR) by January 25, 2018. Dkt. 4. The Initial Scheduling
Order also requires a Rule 26(f) Conference by January 11,
2018 and initial disclosures by January 18, 2018.
filed the Motion to Dismiss on January 8, 2018. Dkt. 8. The
motion seeks dismissal for failure to state a claim under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and is noted for January 26, 2018.
Id. On January 17, 2018, Defendant filed a Motion to
Stay Discovery, seeking relief from all Initial Scheduling
Order deadlines, including the Rule 26(f) deadline, which had
elapsed prior to the filing of the motion. Dkt. 13.
See Dkt. 4. The Motion to Stay Discovery is also
noted for January 26, 2018. Id.
FOR MOTION TO DISMISS
requires the complaint to be a “short and plain
statement showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1). To meet this
requirement, the Supreme Court has held that “a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his
entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554-55 (2007) (internal
citations omitted). The complaint “must contain
sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair
notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself
effectively.” Eclectic Properties East, LLC v.
Marcus & Millichap Co., 751 F.3d 990, 996
(9th Cir. 2014)(internal quotations and citation
omitted). In addition, the complaint must include sufficient
facts to “cross the line between possibility and
plausibility, ” such that “it is not unfair to
require the opposing party to be subjected to the expense of
discovery and continued litigation.” Id. at
995-96. Dismissal under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) is warranted
where the complaint lacks sufficient facts or a cognizable
legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Department, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.
Motion to Dismiss.
argues that Plaintiffs failed to plead “any facts
supporting their claim, ” and that, instead, Plaintiffs
“provide only a threadbare, conclusory statement that
before, during, and after this [medical] procedure, the
physicians . . . fell below the applicable standard of
care[.]” Dkt. 8 at 2 (internal citations omitted).
According to Defendant, “no factual allegations are
pled that would establish a reasonable inference” of
liability, id. at 3 (internal citations omitted),
where the Complaint conflates breach and damages and ignores
causation. Dkt. 15 at 3. Defendant maintains that it should
not be subjected to the high costs of discovery, where the