United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT PECOS
VALLEY OF NEW MEXICO, LLC'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY
JUDGMENT ON QUALIFIED HEALTHCARE PROVIDER STATUS
STEPHAN M. VIDMAR, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Pecos Valley of New
Mexico, LLC (“Pecos Valley”)'s Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment on Qualified Healthcare Provider
Status [Doc. 61], filed on July 10, 2019. Plaintiffs
responded on July 17, 2019. [Doc. 63]. Pecos Valley replied
on July 31, 2019. [Doc. 68]. Defendant Dr. Good never
responded, and no response from him is needed. The Court held
oral argument on the Motion on August 19, 2019. [Doc. 75]
(clerk's minutes). The Court has considered the briefing,
the relevant portions of the record, the relevant law, and
the oral argument. Being otherwise fully advised in the
premises, Pecos Valley's Motion is DENIED.
a medical malpractice action. On January 19, 2017, Plaintiff
Arley McCullar saw Dr. Daniel Good for blurred vision in his
right eye. [Doc. 24] (Amended Complaint) at 3. The right eye
had intraocular pressure (“IOP”) values of
“56 and 32mm[#]Hg.” Id. Plaintiffs
contend these “were extremely high IOP values that
warranted immediate intervention.” Id. Dr.
Good did not treat Mr. McCullar's elevated IOP values at
this appointment. Id. at 4. Mr. McCullar returned to
Dr. Good on January 25, 2017, where Dr. Good treated him by
providing various medications. See Id. On subsequent
visits in January and February of 2017, the IOP values
remained elevated. See Id. By June of 2017, Mr.
McCullar had “total blindness in [his] right
McCullar and his wife sued Dr. Good and his employer, Pecos
Valley, on January 4, 2019. [Doc. 1]. They filed an Amended
Complaint on April 18, 2019. [Doc. 24]. They allege that Dr.
Good negligently treated Mr. McCullar by “failing to
timely workup and treat [him] and failing to refer [him] to a
specialist for immediate treatment.” Id. at 5.
They also contend that Pecos Valley “is vicariously
liable for all acts and omissions of . . . Dr. Good.”
Id. Pecos Valley moved for partial summary judgment
on July 10, 2019. [Doc. 61].
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
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). A court must deny summary judgment if a
reasonable factfinder could find for the non-movants.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). When applying this standard, the court must construe
the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party. Tolan, 572 U.S. at 657. The party moving for
summary judgment has the initial burden of establishing that
there is an absence of evidence supporting the opposing
party's case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323-25 (1986). If the movant meets this burden, the
parties opposing summary judgment must come forward with
specific facts, supported by admissible evidence, which
demonstrate the presence of a genuine issue for trial.
Comm. for First Amendment v. Campbell, 962 F.2d
1517, 1526 n.11 (10th Cir. 1992).
Valley argues that it was a qualified healthcare provider
under the New Mexico Medical Malpractice Act at the time of
the occurrence. [Doc. 61] at 4. If Pecos Valley was a
qualified healthcare provider, Plaintiffs' damages are
limited to the Act's cap on damages. Id.;
see N.M. Stat. Ann. § 41-5-6 (1992). Because
there is, at best, conflicting evidence on whether Pecos
Valley was a qualified healthcare provider at the time of the
occurrence, the Court will deny the Motion.
become a qualified healthcare provider, a non-individual
provider must meet two requirements. First, it must
either (a) file with the New Mexico Superintendent
of Insurance proof that it has medical malpractice liability
insurance worth at least $200, 000 per occurrence,
or (b) submit to the Superintendent a deposit
sufficient to cover a maximum of three separate occurrences.
§ 41-5-5(A)(1). Second, the provider must pay a
surcharge set by the Superintendent. Id. §
41-5-5(A)(2). The surcharge finances the patient's
compensation fund, which in turn covers any judgment or
settlement against qualified healthcare providers in excess
of $200, 000. Id. § 41-5-6(D). Thus, in order
to receive the benefits of the Medical Malpractice Act, a
provider must obtain the requisite insurance and pay the
surcharge. Baker v. Hedstrom, 2013-NMSC-043, ¶
17, 309 P.3d 1047.
is conflicting evidence as to whether Pecos Valley held the
requisite insurance for the relevant time
period. On its website, the New Mexico Office of
Superintendent of Insurance (“OSI”) has no record
of Pecos Valley meeting § 41-5-5(A)'s requirements
to become a qualified healthcare provider. [Doc. 63-1] at 1.
Pecos Valley argues that the OSI website is mistaken, and it
has petitioned the OSI to correct this error. [Doc. 61] at 2,
4-5. Pecos Valley claims that it was insured by Preferred
Professional Insurance Company (“PPIC”).
See [Doc. 61] at 4. It relies on a certificate of
liability insurance which, it argues, proves that Pecos
Valley had insurance coverage of $200, 000 per occurrence at
the time in question. Id. at 4; see [Doc.
61-1] at 2. The certificate lists the insured party as
DANIEL J. GOOD Pecos Valley of New Mexico, LLC dba Eye Center
Southeastern New Mexico
5419 North Lovington Hwy., ...