UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
December 19, 1979
WOODLAND NURSING HOME CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
Joseph Califano, Individually and as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, and The Travelers Insurance Company, Defendants and Third-Party Plaintiffs, v. WOODLAND NURSING HOME ASSOCIATES d/b/a Woodland Nursing Home, Irving Sendar and Martin Marmon, Third-Party Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: DUFFY
ON MOTION TO REARGUE
This is another chapter in the continuing history of Woodland Nursing Homes v. Harris
which is outlined in my prior Opinions of March 24, 1976, 411 F. Supp. 501, and October 19, 1979. For the purposes of the instant Opinion, it is pertinent to note that the dispute concerns the withholding of Medicare Service Benefits to a nursing home facility pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1395 et seq. by the fiscal intermediary, Travelers Insurance Company (hereinafter referred to as "Travelers"). Travelers bases this withholding on the unreasonableness of the nursing home's accounting for the period in question. Woodland Nursing Homes (hereinafter referred to as "Woodland") contends, however, that it was not the owner of the nursing home during the time for which the accounting procedures are challenged and is not liable for the prior owner's debts.
Woodland brought this lawsuit seeking an injunction of further withholding, a declaratory judgment to the effect that it may not be held liable for its predecessor's debts, and money damages. Defendants moved to dismiss or transfer to the Court of Claims on the grounds that that court has exclusive jurisdiction. In my October 19, 1979 decision, I denied defendants' motion and took pendent jurisdiction over the damage question which would ordinarily be within the Court of Claims exclusive jurisdiction. See South Windsor Convalescent Home, Inc. v. Mathews, 541 F.2d 910 (2d Cir. 1976). My reasons for so doing are outlined in that Opinion.
Defendants now move to reargue based on my "overlook(ing) controlling precedent in the Circuit and relevant decisional law in other circuits." By this Opinion, I am granting reargument based on the briefs submitted. Nevertheless, after reargument, I adhere to my October 19, 1979 decision.
The cases cited by defendants in support of the instant motion held that in contract actions for injunctive and monetary relief, the District Court cannot take jurisdiction simply because the Court of Claims is not empowered to grant the former. These cases have generally further held that federal sovereign immunity has only been waived to the limited extent provided for in The Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(a)(2), 1491. Furthermore, the damage remedy provided therein which is in the exclusive domain of the Court of Claims has been held adequate to redress plaintiffs' contract claims against the government. American Science & Engineering, Inc. v. Califano, 571 F.2d 58 (1st Cir. 1978); Alabama Rural Fire Insurance Co. v. Naylor, 530 F.2d 1221 (5th Cir. 1976); International Engineering Co. v. Richardson, 167 U.S.App.D.C. 396, 512 F.2d 573 (D.C. Cir. 1975); Ove Gustavsson Contracting Co. v. Floete, 278 F.2d 912 (2d Cir. 1960).
Unlike the situation in the cases cited by defendants, here there can be no remedy at all until there is a declaratory judgment as to who is liable for the nursing home accounting procedures for 1967 and any debts resulting therefrom. It is this essential determination which the Court of Claims is not empowered to make.
Defendants' motion to reargue has been granted by this Opinion. Upon reconsideration of the controlling and relevant decisional law on reargument, I adhere to my original decision that pendent jurisdiction is warranted in this case.