United States District Court, D. New Mexico
JOHN FAURE, as Personal Representative for the Wrongful Death Estate of GLORIA QUIMBEY, Deceased, Plaintiff,
COMMUNITY HEALTH SYSTEMS PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CORPORATION, LAS CRUCES MEDICAL CENTER, LLC, doing business as Mountain View Regional Medical Center, ACCOUNTABLE HEALTHCARE STAFFING, INC., ACCOUNTABLE HEALTHCARE HOLDINGS CORPORATION, MEDASSETS WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS, and RONALD LALONDE, Defendants, and LAS CRUCES MEDICAL CENTER, LLC, Cross Claimant,
ACCOUNTABLE HEALTHCARE HOLDINGS CORPORATION, ACCOUNTABLE HEALTHCARE STAFFING, INC., and MEDASSETS WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS, Cross Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
matter is before the Court on Defendant MedAssets Workforce
Solutions' (Defendant MedAssets) Motion for Summary
Judgment, filed October 31, 2016. (Doc. 252). Plaintiff John
Faure (“Plaintiff”), as personal representative
for the estate of Gloria Quimbey (“Ms. Quimbey”),
filed a response on November 17, 2016, and Defendant
MedAssets filed a reply on December 1, 2016. (Docs. 270,
284). Having reviewed the motion, the accompanying briefs,
and relevant law, the Court GRANTS Defendant MedAssets'
Motion for Summary Judgment.
a wrongful death lawsuit concerning the death of Ms. Quimbey.
Plaintiff originally filed his Complaint for Wrongful Death,
Negligence, Misrepresentation, and Punitive Damages
(“Complaint”) on May 9, 2014, in the First
Judicial District Court of the State of New Mexico. (Doc.
1-1). Defendant Las Cruces Medical Center, LLC, d/b/a
Mountain View Regional Medical Center (“Defendant
MVRMC”), removed the case to this Court on June 17,
2014. (Doc. 1).
Complaint alleges six counts. Count I is a wrongful death
claim against all defendants under the New Mexico Wrongful
Death Act, NMSA 1978, § 41-2-1 (Rep. Pamp. 1996). (Doc.
1-1) at 14. Count II is a negligence claim against Community
Health Systems Professional Services Corporation
(“Defendant CHSPSC”) and Defendant MVRMC
Defendant (together, “CHS Defendants”).
Id. at 14-20. Count III is a negligence claim
against Accountable Healthcare Staffing, Inc., Accountable
Healthcare Holdings Corporation, Defendant MedAssets, and
Ronald Lalonde (together, “AHS
Defendants”). Id. at 20-22. Count IV is a
negligence claim against Affilion, LLC, and Dr. Joel Michael
Jones (“Affilion Defendants”). Id. at
22-24. Count V is a claim for negligent or intentional
misrepresentation against CHS Defendants. Id. at
24-26. Finally, Count VI is a claim for punitive damages
against all defendants. Id. at 26.
August 2, 2016, Defendant MVRMC filed a crossclaim against
AHS Defendants. (Doc. 197). Defendant MVRMC claims that AHS
Defendants are liable for the alleged negligent acts of
Nurses Ronald Lalonde (“Mr. Lalonde”) and Penny
Santi (“Ms. Santi”). Id. at 3. Defendant
MedAssets now moves for summary judgment on all claims
Standard of Review
judgment is appropriate if the moving party shows
“there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact
and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Once the moving party meets
its initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact, the burden shifts to the nonmoving
party to set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial. See Schneider v. City of Grand
Junction Police Dep't, 717 F.3d 760, 767 (10th Cir.
2013). A dispute over a material fact is
“genuine” only if “the evidence is such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The Court views
the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party
and draws all reasonable inferences in the nonmoving
party's favor. Tabor v. Hilti, Inc., 703 F.3d
1206, 1215 (10th Cir. 2013).
Facts and Reasonable Inferences Viewed in the Light Most
Favorable to Plaintiff
includes Accountable Defendants, Defendant MedAssets, and Mr.
Lalonde as a group and alleges that Accountable Defendants
and Defendant MedAssets controlled “the hiring,
training, placement, quality control and actions of staff
they placed at MVRMC.” (Doc. 24-1) at 10, ¶¶
34-35. Plaintiff specifically alleges that Defendant
MedAssets was negligent in its medical care and treatment and
failure to properly hire, train, and supervise its employees.
MedAssets negotiates contracts with suppliers and agencies
for products and services on behalf of customers, such as CHS
Defendants. (Doc. 252-2) at 2. Specifically, Defendant
MedAssets negotiates contracts with staffing agencies and
connects staffing agencies with customers, including
hospitals. (Doc. 252-3) at 1. Defendant CHSPSC designated
Defendant MedAssets as CHS Defendants' “agent for
purchases of contingent staff through staffing
agencies.” (Doc. 252-3) at 2. Defendant MedAssets
also agreed to provide a “proprietary web-based
workforce exchange application” that allowed CHS
Defendants to “actively manage the ordering,
fulfillment, and scheduling of contract labor.”
Id. Accountable Defendants sell services and entered
into an agreement with Defendant MedAssets to sell its
services to Defendant MedAssets' clients. (Doc. 252-2) at
6, 2010, Defendant MedAssets entered into agreements with the
predecessors of Accountable Defendants, in which Defendant
MedAssets agreed to negotiate on behalf of customers, such as
Defendant CHSPSC. (Doc. 252-4) at 2, ¶ 1.3; (Doc. 252-5)
at 2, ¶ 1.3. This agreement explicitly states that any
staff worked for Accountable Defendants' predecessors,
not Defendant MedAssets. (Doc. 525-4) at 3, ¶ 3.2; (Doc.
252-5) at 3, ¶ 3.2. None of Defendant MedAssets'
employees or contractors provided medical care to Ms.
Quimbey, and Defendant MedAssets did not employ Mr. Lalonde.
Id. at 3, 4.
MedAssets moves for summary judgment on all claims against it
by Plaintiff and cross-claimant Defendant MVRMC. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant MedAssets agreed to connect CHS
Defendants to staffing agencies, including the predecessors
of Accountable Defendants. (Doc. 270) at 2. By making these
connections, Plaintiff maintains that Defendant MedAssets
“had a duty of ordinary care to ensure, at the very
least, that such agencies were taking basic steps to provide
qualified staff members, especially considering that such
nursing staff included traveling nurses.” Id.
In addition, Plaintiff claims that Defendant MedAssets
“had a duty of ordinary care to ensure that [Defendant
MedAssets was] not negatively influencing the staffing
environment of MVRMC.” Id. at 2-3.
prevail on a negligence claim under New Mexico law, a
plaintiff must show the existence of a duty, a breach of that
duty, which is based upon a standard of reasonable care, and
that the breach was the proximate cause of plaintiff's
injuries. Herrera v. Quality Pontiac, 2003-NMSC-018,
¶ 6. The existence of a duty is a question of law for
the court; whereas, proximate cause is generally a question
of fact for a jury. Id. at ¶¶ 7-8
(internal citations omitted). The determination of whether a
duty exists is based on policy considerations, including
“reference to legal precedent, statutes, and other
principles of law.” Otero ...