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Judge dismisses claims against hospital in discovery dispute

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A federal judge has dismissed a man’s claims in a complaint accusing the Indiana Supreme Court, a hospital and the chair of a medical review panel of violating his due process rights. The judge found that federal precedent and a failure to state a claim barred the man’s claims against the hospital.

In May 2011, Dexter Rogers’ mother, Carrie Bell Rogers, died. Her son filed a medical malpractice claim with the Indiana Department of Insurance, claiming Parkview Hospital Inc. was negligent in its care of his mother, resulting in her death. Specifically, Rogers alleged his mother, a black woman, was provided care that was inferior to the care white patients in similar situations received.

After a discovery dispute ensued, the Allen Superior Court ordered Parkview to produce certain documents and make its CEO available for a discovery deposition. The Indiana Court of Appeals, however, reversed and found Rogers’ discovery request was outside the scope of Indiana Trial Rule 26.

But Rogers maintained Parkview had failed to justify its refusal to produce its CEO, and further argued the Court of Appeals’ decision had violated his due process rights. He sought transfer with the Indiana Supreme Court, which was denied. Rogers then alleged the denial of transfer to his case was also a violation of his due process rights.

After the Supreme Court denied transfer, counsel for Parkview contacted John Whiteleather Jr., who had been selected as chair of the medical review panel, and asked him to set a schedule for evidentiary submissions to the panel. Rogers, however, claimed he was not yet prepared to proceed to the panel hearings based on the Court of Appeals’ decision, and then alleged Whiteleather attempted to move the panel process forward because Rogers was black and Parkview’s counsel was white.

Rogers filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, naming Parkview, Whiteleather and all five justices of the Indiana Supreme Court as defendants. He asked the district court to “issue a judgment declaring that the acts of the Defendants were unlawful and unconstitutional, award him damages, restrain the Defendants from violating the Plaintiff’s constitutional rights, and issue a preliminary injunction.”

But Parkview argued multiple theories to dispose of Rogers’ case, including the theory that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine barred district court action and that Rogers failed to sufficiently plead his complaint. Northern District Court Judge Theresa L. Springmann accept both of those arguments Wednesday and issued an order dismissing Rogers’ complaint against the hospital.

First, Springmann wrote the Rooker-Feldman doctrine applied in this case because, “The Court cannot discern any independent claims from the Plaintiff’s Complaint…that would provide a jurisdictional basis independent of redressing the outcome of the state court proceedings.”

Further, “the Complaint does not set forth factual allegations that raise the Plaintiff’s right to relief about the speculative level,” the judge said, so Rogers’ case would fail even absent the Rooker-Feldman bar.

“The Indiana Court of Appeals’ decision finding that Parkview was not required to produce its CEO for a deposition is strong evidence that Parkview refused to produce its CEO for legitimate objections under Indiana discovery rules, and not because of racial animus,” Springmann wrote.

The case is Dexter Rogers, et al. v. Indiana Supreme Court, et al., 1:16-CV-364.

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  1. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  2. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

  3. Been on social security sense sept 2011 2massive strokes open heart surgery and serious ovarian cancer and a blood clot in my lung all in 14 months. Got a letter in may saying that i didn't qualify and it was in form like i just applied ,called social security she said it don't make sense and you are still geting a check in june and i did ,now i get a check from my part D asking for payment for july because there will be no money for my membership, call my prescription coverage part D and confirmed no check will be there.went to social security they didn't want to answer whats going on just said i should of never been on it .no one knows where this letter came from was California im in virginia and been here sense my strokes and vcu filed for my disability i was in the hospital when they did it .It's like it was a error . My ,mothers social security was being handled in that office in California my sister was dealing with it and it had my social security number because she died last year and this letter came out of the same office and it came at the same time i got the letter for my mother benefits for death and they had the same date of being typed just one was on the mail Saturday and one on Monday. . I think it's a mistake and it should been fixed instead there just getting rid of me .i never got a formal letter saying when i was being tsken off.

  4. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

  5. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.

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