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Estate of Rene v. Sunharbor Manor Comprehensive Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing

United States District Court, E.D. New York

February 7, 2017

ESTATE OF HERMANN RENE, Plaintiff,
v.
SUNHARBOR MANOR COMPREHENSIVE REHABILITATION & SKILLED NURSING, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, CENTER FOR MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES, HEALTH FIRST PLANS & INSURANCE, Defendants.

          Law Offices of Jean Bruno Attorneys for the Plaintiff By: Jean-Philippe G. Bruno, Esq., Of Counsel.

          Catalano Gallardo & Petropoulos, LLP Attorneys for the Defendant Sunharbor Manor Comprehensive Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing By: Domingo R. Gallardo, Esq. William L. Schleifer, Esq., Of Counsel.

          U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York Attorneys for the Defendants U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services By: Robert B. Kambic, Assistant U.S. Attorney.

          Health First Plans & Insurance Defendant.

          ORDER

          ARTHUR D. SPATT United States District Judge.

         I. Background

         On December 8, 2015, the Estate of Hermann Rene (the “Estate”) filed a complaint alleging that, after sustaining serious personal injuries in a fall, Mr. Rene (the “Decedent”) was admitted to a facility run by the Defendant Sunharbor Manor Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing (“Sunharbor”), in order to receive medical care and rehabilitation.

         According to the complaint, between October 3, 2013 and December 19, 2013, the Decedent received the appropriate treatment and rehabilitation. However, at some point in December 2013, Sunharbor allegedly determined that the Decedent had become unresponsive to treatment and/or that he had exhausted the limits of his insurance coverage. Accordingly, Sunharbor allegedly discontinued its treatment of the Decedent, which resulted in various additional injuries, and eventually, the Decedent's death.

         On these general facts, the complaint alleged a multitude of legal theories sounding in negligence; medical malpractice; wrongful death; violations of New York Public Health Law § 2803-c and its implementing regulations; unlawful imprisonment; breach of contract; intentional interference with a contractual relationship; malicious interference with contract rights; and promissory estoppel.

         On August 8, 2016, the Estate filed a so-called “Motion to Stay, ” which consisted solely of: (1) a copy of the original complaint filed eight months earlier; and (2) a legal memorandum. Although no affidavit or other evidentiary material was submitted in support of the motion, the legal memorandum asserted numerous facts regarding a “parallel” State court action, which was allegedly underway in the Nassau County Surrogate's Court. According to the Estate, this related litigation involved a claim by Sunharbor to recover from the Estate approximately $61, 000 for services it rendered to the Decedent. The Plaintiff requested that this Court stay the State court proceedings on the ground that Sunharbor's claim in that case may be affected by the outcome of the Estate's various tort and contract claims in this case.

         Six days later, on August 14, 2016, the Estate filed another so-called “Motion to Stay, ” this time including: (1) a seemingly unrelated attorney declaration, entitled “Motion to Amend, ” which was originally filed several months earlier on May 4, 2016; and (2) a citation, issued by the Chief Clerk of the Nassau County Surrogate's Court to five individuals, including the Executor of the Estate, directing them to show cause on August 26, 2015, as to why Sunharbor's claim against the Estate should not be approved.

         Nothing in the current record indicates whether the Estate responded to the Surrogate's citation, or otherwise indicates the outcome of Sunharbor's claim in that proceeding.

         II. Discussion

         The statute governing federal court stays of State court proceedings, namely, the Anti-Injunction Act, is codified in 28 U.S.C. § 2283, and provides that a federal court “may not grant an injunction to stay proceedings in a State court except [1] as expressly authorized by Act of Congress, or [2] ...


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