Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Cruz v. Lovelace Health System, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

August 26, 2019

ELDIE L. CRUZ, M.D., Plaintiff,
v.
LOVELACE HEALTH SYSTEM, INC., LOVELACE HEALTH SYSTEM, INC. dba LOVELACE MEDICAL GROUP, LOVELACE HEALTH SYSTEM, LOVELACE MEDICAL GROUP, AHS MANAGEMENT COMPANY, INC., AHS MANAGEMENT COMPANY, INC. dba ARDENT HEALTH SERVICES, AHS NEW MEXICO HOLDINGS, INC., AHS ALBUQUERQUE HOLDINGS, LLC, BHC MANAGEMENT SERVICES OF NEW MEXICO, LLC, ARDENT HEALTH SERVICES, INC., ARDENT HEALTH SERVICES, LLC, ARDENT HEALTH SERVICES, and RELIANCE STANDARD LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ROBERT C. BRACK SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Dr. Eldie Cruz (Plaintiff) was employed as a general surgeon. Following a leave of absence from the hospital where he worked, Plaintiff filed for long-term disability (LTD) benefits under his employer-sponsored health insurance plan and was denied. He was eventually fired and lost his medical privileges and alleges that he never received any of the LTD benefits he believes he was entitled to under the plan. Plaintiff now brings suit against 13 named defendants, most of which are somehow connected to his employer through a web of business names and chains of corporate ownership. As a result, various defendants have filed four separate motions to dismiss and numerous other notices of joinder adopting by reference the other defendants' motions. The Court will rule on the motions to dismiss in a separate opinion. Before it can assess the sufficiency of the pleadings, however, the Court must sort out the identities of the various defendants and determine the reach of the Court's personal jurisdiction.

         This Memorandum Opinion and Order takes up three motions that will clarify the procedural posture of this case: (i) AHS Medical Holdings, LLC's Motion to Dismiss Claims Against Non-Entity “Ardent Health Services” (Doc. 15); (ii) Lovelace Health System, Inc.'s Notice of Joinder in Motions to Dismiss adopting the same arguments regarding alleged nonentities “Lovelace Medical Group” and “Lovelace Health System” (Doc. 22); and (iii) AHS Medical Holdings, LLC's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (Doc. 17).

         I. Background

         A. The Parties

         As the identity of several of the named defendants is confusing but critical to the Court's rulings on these various motions, a brief overview of the parties is necessary. Plaintiff is a general surgeon who was employed by “Lovelace.” (Doc. 71 (Am. Compl.) ¶¶ 1, 22.) Plaintiff refers to 10 of the 13 named defendants collectively as “Lovelace” or “the Lovelace Defendants.” (Id. ¶ 15.) The so-called “Lovelace Defendants” include:

1. Lovelace Health System, Inc.
2. Lovelace Health System
3. Lovelace Medical Group
4. AHS Management Company, Inc.
5. Ardent Health Services
6. AHS New Mexico Holdings, Inc.
7. AHS Albuquerque Holdings, LLC
8. BHC Management Services of New Mexico, LLC
9. Ardent Health Services, Inc.
10. Ardent Health Services, LLC

(Id.)[1] The only defendant that Plaintiff clearly does not consider to be part of “Lovelace” is Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company (Reliance). (See Id. ¶¶ 15, 17.)

         B. Relevant Facts[2]

         “Lovelace” was the sponsor and plan administrator of a long term disability plan (LTD Plan) that it offered to its employees. (Id. ¶ 23.) Plaintiff participated in the LTD Plan. (Id. ¶ 26.) Reliance was the Plan's “claims administrator.” (Id. ¶ 25.) “On March 1, 2016[, ] Plaintiff made a claim for [LTD benefits] under the LTD Plan[, ]” which Reliance denied. (Id. ¶¶ 28, 30.) Reliance did determine, however, “that Plaintiff was entitled to three months of LTD benefits to be paid by Lovelace . . . .” (Id. ¶ 34.) Lovelace did not pay any LTD Benefits to Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff did receive “limited short term disability payments in early 2016, but all payments and employment compensation stopped in March 2016 when Lovelace unilaterally put Plaintiff on unpaid leave.” (Id. ¶ 36.) Also “[b]eginning in early 2016, Plaintiff and his treating physicians repeatedly asked for reasonable accommodation from Lovelace under the ADA to allow Plaintiff to continue to work as a physician and support his family[, ]” but Lovelace did not provide the requested accommodation. (Id. ¶¶ 38-39.) Finally, on February 27, 2018, “Lovelace notified Plaintiff that his medical privileges with Lovelace were being terminated . . . .” (Id. ¶ 41.)

         II. Motion to Dismiss Claims Against “Ardent Health Services”

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), AHS Medical Holdings, LLC f/k/a Ardent Health Services, LLC has moved to dismiss all claims against named defendant “Ardent Health Services, ” asserting that Ardent Health Services is a federally registered service mark and thus “is not a legal entity capable of being sued.” (Doc. 15 at 1.)

         A. Movant AHS Medical Holdings, LLC may participate in this lawsuit because it was formerly known as named Defendant Ardent Health Services, LLC.

         As a threshold matter, while the movant's name is quite similar to that of many of the defendants, AHS Medical Holdings, LLC is not actually a named defendant in this case. The “fka” designation that it employs, however, suggests that “AHS Medical Holdings, LLC” is the current name of “Ardent Health Services, LLC, ” which is a named defendant. (See id.) Still, Plaintiff asserts that AHS Medical Holdings, LLC does not have standing in this case without evidence of a connection to a named defendant. (Doc. 40 at 2-3.) According to Plaintiff, “Movant could have presented documentation proving the alleged relationship between AHS Medical Holdings, LLC and Ardent Health Services, LLC, but did not.” (Doc. 42 at 3 n.1.) While some sort of official documentation evidencing the name change would indeed have helped the Court sort through this dispute more efficiently, Plaintiff is ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.