United States District Court, E.D. Washington
MILDRED SHANKLIN, individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of John Shanklin, Plaintiff,
COULEE MEDICAL CENTER, a medical care facility that is fully owned and operated by the Douglas, Grant, Lincoln, & Okanogan County Hospital District No. 6; DOUGLAS, GRANT, LINCOLN, and OKANOGAN COUNTIES PUBLIC HOSPITAL DISTRICT NO. 6, a public entity doing business as the Coulee Medical Center; ROGER ST. CLAIRE, acting in his capacity as an employee of Coulee Medical Center; LARRY J. RUSE, acting in his capacity as an employee of Coulee Medical Center; JOYCE BODEAU, acting in her capacity as an employee of Coulee Medical Center; and KARIE SCHULER, acting in her capacity as an employee of Coulee Medical Center; Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Failure to
State a Claim, ECF No. 15. Defendants Coulee Medical Center;
Grant, Lincoln, & Okanogan County Hospital District No.
6; Roger St. Claire; Larry J. Ruse; Joyce Bodeau; and Karie
Schuler move to dismiss Plaintiff Mildred Shanklin's
Complaint, ECF No. 1. A hearing was held in this matter on
March 22, 2019. Ms. Shanklin was represented by Jerry Moberg.
Defendants were represented by James King. The Court has
considered the parties' arguments, briefing, and the
record, and is fully informed.
following are the facts as alleged in Ms. Shanklin's
complaint, ECF No. 1. Ms. Shanklin is the surviving spouse of
John Shanklin. Id. at 4. In May of 2014, Ms.
Shanklin alleges that Mr. Shanklin suffered a stroke that
left him weak on one side of his body. Id. This made
Mr. Shanklin a high risk to fall and confined him to a
wheelchair at most times. Id. For over a year
following Mr. Shanklin's stroke, Ms. Shanklin cared for
him at their home. Id. Ms. Shanklin alleges that Mr.
Shanklin did not fall a single time under her care.
of 2016, Ms. Shanklin alleges that she was unable to provide
her husband with the 24-hour care that he needed. ECF No. 1
at 4. She claims that she placed him in a nursing home care
facility in a town sixty miles away from Ms. Shanklin's
home for about six months. Id. Throughout those six
months, Ms. Shanklin claims that Mr. Shanklin did not fall a
single time. Id. However, Ms. Shanklin claims that
she was unhappy with the distance that she had to travel to
see her husband, so she sought a closer nursing home in which
to place Mr. Shanklin. Id. at 4-5. She alleges that
she placed her husband into the care of Defendant Coulee
Medical Center (“CMC”). Id. at 5.
Ms. Shanklin alleges that her husband was identified as a
patient with a high risk of falling. ECF No. 1 at 5.
According to Ms. Shanklin, however, CMC and the individual
Defendants, who were all responsible for Mr. Shanklin's
care, failed to or refused to develop a care plan that would
protect him from falling. Id. As a result, Ms.
Shanklin alleges that Mr. Shanklin fell four times over a
period of four months. Id. at 5-7. Ms. Shanklin
claims that Defendants failed to properly supervise Mr.
Shanklin to keep him from falling or take precautions to
prevent any injury resulting from the falls. Id.
Three days after Mr. Shanklin's fourth fall, Mr. Shanklin
passed away. Id. at 7-8.
Shanklin filed this complaint individually and as the
personal representative of her husband's estate against
Defendants for violations of the Federal Nursing Home Reform
Amendments (“FNHRA”) and several claims under
state law. ECF No. 1 at 8-13. Defendants now move to dismiss
the complaint, arguing that the FNHRA does not apply to them
and that the FNHRA is not enforceable through section 1983.
ECF No. 15.
defendant files its answer, the defendant may move for
judgment on the pleadings. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). Similar to a Rule
12(b)(6) motion, the court accepts all factual allegations in
the complaint as true and construes them in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. Fleming v.
Pickard, 581 F.3d 922, 925 (9th Cir. 2009). The analysis
for a Rule 12(c) motion is “substantially
identical” to the analysis for a Rule 12(b)(6) motion.
Chavez v. United States, 683 F.3d 1102, 1108 (9th
Cir. 2012). Judgment on the pleadings is appropriate when
there is no issue of material fact in dispute and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fleming, 581 F.3d at 925.
plaintiff's complaint must plead “enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). A claim is plausible when the plaintiff pleads
“factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). While the Court construes the facts in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party, a court is
not required to “assume the truth of legal conclusions
merely because they are cast in the form of factual
allegations.” Fayer v. Vaughn, 649 F.3d 1061,
1064 (9th Cir. 2011) (per curiam) (internal quotation
omitted). A plaintiff's complaint cannot survive if it is
solely supported by “conclusory allegations of law and
unwarranted inferences.” Adams v. Johnson, 355
F.3d 1179, 1183 (9th Cir. 2004).
make two arguments as to why Ms. Shanklin's FNHRA claim
should be dismissed. First, they argue that CMC is not a
“nursing facility” that is regulated by the
FNHRA. ECF No. 15 at 4. Second, they argue that the FNHRA is
not enforceable through section 1983 litigation. Id.
Medical Center's Status as a Nursing Facility as Defined
by the FNHRA
parties dispute whether CMC is a “nursing
facility” under the FNHRA. ECF No. 15 at 4; ECF No. 21
interpreting a statute, the Court begins with the
statute's text. United States v. Neal, 776 F.3d
645, 652 (9th Cir. 2015). “We interpret statutory terms
in accordance with their ordinary meaning, unless the ...