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Rodriguez v. Stanley

United States District Court, N.D. New York

March 15, 2017

BELINDA RODRIGUEZ, individually and as Parent and Natural Guardian of M.R., an Infant; and JORGE RUCAL, individually and as Parent and Natural Guardian of M.R., an Infant, Plaintiffs,
v.
GEORGE L. STANLEY, M.D.; KENROY SCOTT, M.D.; SYRACUSE COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER, INC.; CHRISTIE WALKER, M.D.; ALI J. DOYLE, M.D.; CYNTHIA STRESING, N.P.; NICHOLAS BARANCO, M.D.; BRIAN W. THOMPSON, M.D.; MICHAEL MASTROLEO, RPA-C; JAMES MILLS, M.D.; and CROUSE HOSPITAL, Defendants.

          OFFICE OF ROBERT F. JULIAN, Attorneys for Plaintiffs

          OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY James Hanley U.S. Courthouse & Federal, Attorneys for Defendants Stanley, Scott, Thompson and Syracuse Community Health Center, Inc.

          GALE GALE & HUNT, LLC P.O., Attorneys for Defendants Walker, Doyle, Baranco, and Crouse Hospital

          SMITH, SOVIK, KENDRICK & SUGNET, P.C., Attorneys for Defendants Stresing, Mastroleo, and Mills

          ROBERT F. JULIAN, ESQ. STEPHANIE A. PALMER, ESQ.

          WILLIAM F. LARKIN, AUSA MARY E. LANGAN, AUSA MICHAEL W. ARTHUR, ESQ. JAMES D. LANTIER, ESQ.

          MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

          SCULLIN, Senior Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On or about February 26, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a suit in New York Supreme Court, County of Onondaga, alleging negligence and medical malpractice in the treatment and care that Defendants provided to Plaintiff Belinda Rodriguez during her pregnancy and the birth of her child, which resulted in their suffering significant damages.

         On October 1, 2015, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 233(a) and (c), 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), and 28 U.S.C. § 2679(d)(2), Defendants Syracuse Community Health Center, Inc., Stanley, Scott and Thompson (hereinafter collectively "the Federal Defendants") removed the state-court action to this Court. See Dkt. No. 1. The United States Attorney General certified that, at all times alleged in Plaintiffs' complaint, Defendant Syracuse Community Health Center ("SCHC") was a covered entity, thereby satisfying the predicate for removal. See Dkt. No. 9-2. Furthermore, the United States Attorney General certified that Defendants Stanley, Scott and Thompson (hereinafter collectively "the Federal Doctors") were acting within the scope of their employment with Defendant SCHC at all relevant times. Finally, the United States Attorney General certified, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 233(g), that the Secretary of Health and Human Services had deemed Defendant SCHC and the Federal Doctors entities and employees of entities respectively, that were, and still are, deemed eligible for Federal Tort Claims Act malpractice coverage.

         In their complaint, Plaintiffs alleged that Plaintiff Rodriguez met with Defendant Dr. Stanley at Defendant SCHC for the first time on April 19, 2012, at which time she learned that she was pregnant. See Dkt. No. 6, Complaint, at 5. During this initial visit, Plaintiff Rodriguez disclosed that she had suffered two previous miscarriages. See Id. According to Plaintiffs, current medical standards required that doctors consider progesterone treatment for patients with a history of miscarriage. See Id. at 6. Plaintiffs also asserted that, despite this standard, during the course of several visits to the Federal Doctors between April 2012 and August 2012, none of them offered her progesterone treatment, and they did not adequately follow up with her. See Id. Ultimately, Plaintiff Rodriguez delivered her child at 24 5/7 weeks of gestation, and the child suffered significant injuries and neurologic deficits. See Id. at 10.

         On October 14, 2015, the Federal Defendants filed the pending motion to substitute the United States as a Defendant in their places and to dismiss this action against the United States without prejudice because Plaintiffs had failed to submit an administrative claim to the appropriate federal agency. See Dkt. No. 9-1.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Substitution of the United States as a Defendant in place ...


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