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Lee v. Regions Hospital

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

February 12, 2018

Claire J. Lee, Plaintiff,
v.
Regions Hospital, Health Partners, Inc., and Park Nicollet Clinics, Defendants.

          Claire Jean Lee, Carolin J. Nearing, Larson King, LLP, counsel for defendants

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Katherine Menendez United States Magistrate Judge

         The plaintiff, Claire Lee, drove herself to Regions Hospital on October 6, 2013, complaining of depression, thoughts of self-harm, and other mental health concerns. [Am. Compl., ECF No. 3, ¶ 7.] Ms. Lee brings this lawsuit under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd (EMTALA), claiming that the staff at Regions Hospital refused to provide her with adequate treatment. [Am. Compl. ¶ 38.] She alleges violations of other state statutes and a federal regulation as well, including the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, the Minnesota Health Records Act, and the federal and state Patient Bill of Rights. [Id. ¶¶ 41-49.] Ms. Lee also brings a tort claim alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress under state law arising out of the same incidents. [Id. ¶¶ 50-53.]

         This matter is now before the Court on the Defendants' motion for summary judgment. [Defs.' Mot., ECF No. 30.] Defendants argue that their staff members' actions during Ms. Lee's visit to Regions Hospital did not violate EMTALA; that they are not subject to liability under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act; that they did not violate the Minnesota Health Records Act; that Ms. Lee is not entitled to sue under the federal or state Patient Bill of Rights; and that Ms. Lee has failed to state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. [Defs.' Mem., ECF No. 31.] The Defendants submitted several affidavits and exhibits in support of their summary-judgment motion. [See ECF Nos. 33-43.]

         Ms. Lee requested an extension of the deadline for her response to Defendants' motion for summary judgment, which was granted on October 4, 2017. The deadline for her response was extended until November 2, 2017. [Order, ECF No. 50.] To date, Ms. Lee has failed to submit any response to Defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that the Defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted.

         I. The Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate when, drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, the record shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The moving party must demonstrate the absence of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. When the moving party properly supports a motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must present admissible evidence showing that specific facts exist that create a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986); Wingate v. Gage Cnty. Sch. Dist., No. 34, 528 F.3d 1074, 1078-79 (8th Cir. 2008).

         II. Analysis

         As noted above, in her Amended Complaint, Ms. Lee asserts claims under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, the Minnesota Health Records Act, and the federal or state Patient Bill of Rights. She also asserts a common law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Court addresses each of these claims below.

         A. Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act Claim

         EMTALA imposes two requirements on hospitals with emergency departments-to screen and stabilize patients. 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd(a)-(b). To sustain an EMTALA screening claim, a plaintiff must show:

(1) defendant has both a Medicare provider agreement with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and an emergency room or emergency department; (2) plaintiff went to the defendant's emergency room or emergency department; (3) plaintiff requested examination or treatment; (4) plaintiff had an emergency medical condition; (5) defendant did not provide plaintiff with an appropriate medical screening examination; and (6) as a direct result of the conduct of defendant, plaintiff suffered personal harm.

Hunt ex rel. Hunt v. Lincoln County Mem'l Hosp., 317 F.3d 891, 893 n.4 (8th Cir. 2003) (quoting Hunt v. Lincoln County Mem'l Hosp., No. 4:00-cv-982, 2001 WL 34062320 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 29, 2001)). For a stabilization claim, a plaintiff must show: (1) defendant had actual knowledge of the individual's unstabilized emergency medical condition; and (2) defendant did not provide further medical examination and treatment required to stabilize the medical condition or failed to transfer the plaintiff to another medical facility. See Summers v. Baptist Medical Center Arkadelphia, 91 F.3d 1132, 1140 (8th Cir. 1996). A plaintiff may sue for violation of either or both requirements. 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd(d)(2)(A).

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