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Mathie v. Womack

United States District Court, E.D. New York

January 29, 2015

MICHAEL M.J. MATHIE, IV, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. LAWRENCE WOMACK, MD., Defendant

Michael M.J. Mathie, IV, Plaintiff, Pro se, Islip Terrace, NY.

For Defendant: No appearance.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Joanna Seybert, United States District Judge.

On November 6, 2014, pro se plaintiff Michael M.J. Mathie IV (" Plaintiff") filed a Complaint in this Court pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-191, 110 Stat. 1936 (" HIPAA") and N.Y. Public Health Law § 18 against Dr. Lawrence Womack (" Defendant"), accompanied by an application to proceed in forma pauperis.

Upon review of the declaration in support of Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court finds that Plaintiff is qualified to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § § 1914(a); 1915(a)(1). Therefore, Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. However, for the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's HIPAA claim is sua sponte DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's remaining state law claim, and it is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to being refiled in state court.

BACKGROUND[1]

Plaintiff's Complaint seeks to recover monetary damages pursuant to HIPAA and N.Y. Public Health Law § 18 for alleged violations thereof by the Defendant, who is alleged to be Plaintiff's primary care physician at all times relevant to the Complaint. (Compl. ¶ ¶ II.A, IV.1.) Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant " failed to provide [P]laintiff's health insurance company with the appropriate documentation to allow the [P]laintiff to be reimbursed for his out of pocket prescription cost(s) or to prescribe an alternative medication that [P]laintiff's insurance company would pay for in the alternative, without requesting prior authorization from the insurance company." (Compl. ¶ IV.2.) The Complaint then details Plaintiff's efforts to get the Defendant to communicate with Plaintiff's insurance company during the period May 2014 through August 2014. (Compl. ¶ ¶ IV.3-6.) Plaintiff claims that Defendant did not comply with Plaintiff's repeated requests that Defendant contact Plaintiff's insurance company on Plaintiff's behalf. (Compl. ¶ ¶ IV.7-9.)

Accordingly, Plaintiff alleges that he sent written requests to Defendant on August 7, 2014 and August 19, 2014 requesting copies of Plaintiff's entire medical records to be personally picked up by Plaintiff and that Defendant did not respond to either request. (Compl. ¶ ¶ IV.6-9, 14.)

As a result of the Defendant's failure to provide the requested information to Plaintiff or his insurance company, Plaintiff claims that he is now foreclosed from being reimbursed for prescriptions totaling $2, 700.00. (Compl. ¶ IV.10.) Plaintiff also claims to have suffered " extreme emotional distress" as a result of Defendant's non-compliance with his requests for his medical records. (Compl. ¶ ¶ IV.11-12.) Plaintiff further claims that the Defendant's inaction has caused Plaintiff's medical treatment to be delayed and has interfered with the continuity of medical care for Plaintiff's unspecified ailment. (Compl. ¶ IV. 12.) For relief, Plaintiff seeks to recover an unspecified sum of compensatory and punitive damages. (Compl. ¶ VI.)

DISCUSSION

I. In Forma Pauperis Application

Upon review of Plaintiff's declaration in support of his application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court finds that Plaintiff is qualified to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fees. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Therefore, Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED.

II. Application of 28 U.S.C. § 1915

Section 1915 of Title 28 requires a district court to dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint if the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). ...


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