United States District Court, D. New Mexico
CHRIS LUCERO as Personal Representative of the Estate of Marco Antonio Sanchez, Plaintiff,
CARLSBAD MEDICAL CENTER, LLC, COMMUNITY HEALTH SYSTEMS, INC., and JOHN DOES 1-10, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S
MOTION TO DISMISS
MATTER comes before the Court upon Defendant Community Health
Systems, Inc.'s (“CHSI's”) Motion to
Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction, filed February 21,
2018 (Doc. 7). Having reviewed the
parties' pleadings and the applicable law, the Court
finds that Defendant's Motion is well-taken and,
therefore, is GRANTED.
a medical negligence and wrongful death case. Plaintiff
alleges that Mr. Sanchez died after suffering tears to his
esophagus during surgery, and Carlsbad Medical Center,
LLC's (“CMC's”) failure to catch those
tears during subsequent examinations. Employees of CMC are
alleged to have committed the wrongful acts. Defendant CHSI
wholly owns CMC, through a chain of five subsidiaries.
Plaintiff brings claims of wrongful death and medical
negligence against all Defendants, and respondeat
superior claims against Defendants CMC and CHSI.
filed a complaint in the Second Judicial District on December
28, 2017. A notice of removal was filed on February 14, 2018,
based on diversity.
Defendant CHSI filed this Motion to Dismiss, including an
affidavit in support. The uncontroverted affidavit provides
as follows. CHSI is a holding company with no employees,
officers, or agents in New Mexico. It is incorporated in
Delaware, with a principle place of business in Tennessee. It
indirectly owns Carlsbad Medical Center, through a chain of
five separate entities. CHSI does not operate any of the
hospitals that its subsidiaries own or lease.
does not control the day to day operations of the hospital,
the diagnosis and treatment of patients, the hiring training
or supervision of hospital employees, the credentialing of
healthcare personnel, the adoption of policies, procedures or
guidelines, or any other matters related to running the
hospital. CHSI has not designated the Hospital as its agent.
CHSI maintains separate accounting records from the
accounting records of the hospital. The Hospital maintains
its own banking relationships. See Generally Exhibit
A; Doc. 7-1.
did not hire, employ, train, or supervise any nurses,
providers, physicians, or staff involved in treating or
caring for Marco Antonio Sanchez. CHSI did not control the
number of individuals on staff at the hospital or the manner
in which, or the details of how, those individuals' work
was to be performed.
response, Plaintiff's sole evidence in support of
personal jurisdiction is Defendant CHSI's Form 10-K
filing with the SEC. Plaintiff alleges that certain
statements therein constitute admissions that Defendant CHSI
operates and actively controls CMC. For example, Plaintiff
points to certain statements in the Form 10-K that CHSI
“sets the standard” at all of the hospitals it
owns, has standardized and centralized a number of
initiatives related to procedures, billing, collection, and
facilities management. The Form 10-K repeatedly uses the
words “we”, “our”, and the
“Company” to collectively refer to CHSI and its
courts sitting in diversity have personal jurisdiction over
nonresident defendants to the extent permitted by the law of
the forum state. Benally v. Amon Carter Museum of Western
Art, 858 F.2d 618, 621 (10th Cir. 1988) (citations
omitted). The New Mexico long-arm statute extends personal
jurisdiction to the extent permitted by due process.
Tercero v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich,
Connecticut, 48 P.3d 50, 54 (N.M. 2002). Therefore, in
this diversity case, the Court will limit its analysis to
binding Tenth Circuit and United States Supreme Court
precedent analyzing personal jurisdiction under the
due-process clause. Federated Rural Electric Ins. Corp.
v. Kootenai Electric Coop., 17 F.3d 1302, 1305 (10th
Cir. 1994); Melea, Ltd. v. Jawer SA, 511 F.3d 1060,
1065 (10th Cir. 2007).
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) standard
bears the burden of establishing personal jurisdiction over
CHSI. See Kuenzle v. HTM Sport-Und Freizeitgeräte
AG, 102 F.3d 453, 456 (10th Cir. 1996). Here, Plaintiff
need only make a prima facie showing of jurisdiction to
defeat a motion to dismiss. See Shrader v.
Biddinger, 633 F.3d 1235, 1239 (10th Cir. 2011).
“The allegations in the complaint must be taken as true
to the extent they are uncontroverted by the defendant's
affidavits.” Wenz v. Memery Crystal, 55 F.3d
1503, 1505 (10th Cir. 1995). If the facts in the complaint
are controverted, Plaintiff may make the required showing by
coming forward with facts, via affidavit or other written
materials, that would support jurisdiction. See OMI
Holdings v. Royal Ins. Co., 149 F.3d 1086, 1091 (10th
Cir. 1998). All factual disputes must be resolved in the
plaintiff's favor. Wenz v. Memery Crystal, 55
F.3d 1503, 1505 (10th Cir. 1995). The Court need only accept
as true well-pled facts, i.e. facts that are plausible,
Personal Jurisdiction and Due Process.
comport with due process, Plaintiff must establish that
Defendant CHSI has “such minimum contacts with the
forum state that he should reasonably anticipate being haled
into court there.” Emp'rs Mut. Cas. Co. v.
Bartile Roofs, Inc.,618 F.3d 1153, 1159-60 (10th Cir.
2010) (quotations omitted). If Plaintiff does so, he must
also establish that exercise of personal jurisdiction over
CHSI does not offend traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice. Id.; see also Niemi v.
Lasshofer, 770 F.3d 1331, 1348 (10th Cir. 2014).
“This minimum-contacts standard may be satisfied by
showing general or specific jurisdiction.” Bartile
Roofs, Inc, 618 F.3d at 1159-60; Fireman's Fund
Ins. Co. v. Thyssen Min. Const. of Canada, Ltd., 703
F.3d 488, 492-93 (10th Cir. 2012). Plaintiff has the burden