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LaFleur v. Jetzer

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division

October 20, 2015

TERRY LEE LAFLEUR, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. THOMAS C. JETZER, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO AMEND, GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS, AND DENYING CERTIFICATION OF CLASS.

KAREN E. SCHREIER NITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, Terry Lee LaFleur, filed this lawsuit naming Dr. Thomas C. Jetzer as defendant. LaFleur makes numerous claims concerning his examination by Dr. Jetzer and the subsequent denial of his workers’ compensation benefits. Dr. Jetzer moves to dismiss LaFleur’s amended complaint. Docket 30. LaFleur moves for certification of a class action. Docket 23. LaFleur also moves to amend his complaint. Docket 37. For the reasons stated below, Dr. Jetzer’s motion to dismiss is granted, and LaFleur’s motions to amend and for certification of class action are denied.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On March 5, 2014, LaFleur was injured in a motor vehicle accident. Docket 29 at ¶41. LaFleur worked for Advanced Auto Parts, Inc., and his duties included driving. Id. at ¶43. LaFleur received workers’ compensation benefits for an unspecified amount of time. Id. at ¶14. On October 18, 2014, Dr. Jetzer examined LaFleur at the request of Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc., the third-party administrator that handled LaFleur’s claim for benefits. Id. at ¶5.

During the independent medical exam (IME), Dr. Jetzer asked whether LaFleur had been tested for post-concussion syndrome, had been given an electroencephalogram, or ever had a nerve conduction test for carpal tunnel syndrome. Id. at ¶7. According to the complaint, Dr. Jetzer knew LaFleur had not been treated for these conditions and expressed his concern. Id. LaFleur also alleges Dr. Jetzer “had reasons to suspect that Plaintiff might be experiencing these medical conditions, ” but he did not refer him to another doctor or treat the conditions. Id. at ¶8. The IME lasted twenty minutes and was the only time Dr. Jetzer examined LaFleur. Id. at ¶20. One week after the IME, Dr. Jetzer filed his report with Sedgwick. Id. at ¶12. This report allegedly caused Sedgwick to terminate LaFleur’s benefits. Id. at ¶27.

Dr. Hoversten performed a second examination on LaFleur on December 2, 2014 at Sanford Orthopedic Hospital in Sioux Falls. Id. at ¶31. LaFleur claims Dr. Hoversten “was consulted for the limited purpose of obtaining a second opinion of [his original doctor’s] diagnoses and prognoses.” Id. at ¶32. Before this examination, LaFleur claims that Dr. Jetzer “published Plaintiff's unprivileged medical information to” Dr. Hoversten. Id. at ¶31.

LaFleur alleges that he relied on the “duty of reasonable care” Dr. Jetzer owed to him, and did not immediately seek medical treatment for the conditions discussed above. Id. at ¶9. It was not until December 12, 2014, that LaFleur “could no longer stand the debilitating symptoms” and sought medical treatment. Id.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

LaFleur filed this complaint on November 25, 2014. Docket 1. He amended his complaint on January 7 and January 9, 2015. Dockets 9 and 11. Dr. Jetzer responded by moving to dismiss the amended complaint for failing to state a claim. Docket 15. LaFleur moved to amend his complaint. Dockets 18, 19. The court granted this motion, Docket 26, over Dr. Jetzer’s objection, Docket 20, and denied Dr. Jetzer’s motion to dismiss as moot. Docket 28. LaFleur also moved to certify his complaint as a class action. Docket 23.

LaFleur filed his current, amended complaint on May 6, 2015. Docket 29. Dr. Jetzer now moves to dismiss this complaint for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under 12(b)(1). Docket 30 at 2-3. In response, LaFleur filed “Plaintiff’s Resistance Of Defendant’s Motion To Dismiss, ” restating his claims. Docket 32. He also filed a “Memorandum Of Authorities In Support Of Plaintiff’s Resistance” in which he responded to Dr. Jetzer’s motion to dismiss and supplied additional legal and factual support for his claims. Docket 33. Dr. Jetzer replied repeating his arguments and pointing out that he was not a proper party because LaFleur complained of Sedgwick and AAP’s actions. Docket 34. LaFleur responded to this in a “Reply To Defendant’s Memorandum Of Authorities In Support Of Plaintiff’s Resistance.” Docket 35. LaFleur responded again reiterating his arguments in support of class certification. Docket 36. Finally, LaFleur moved to amend his complaint. Docket 37. Defendant oppose this amendment. Docket 38. For the following reasons, LaFleur’s motion to amend is denied and his complaint is dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

LEGAL STANDARD

After the amended complaint and answer were filed, both parties filed numerous documents. “A court generally may not consider materials outside the pleadings when deciding a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim . . . .” Greenman v. Jessen, 787 F.3d 882, 887 (8th Cir. 2015) (citing Porous Media Corp. v. Pall Corp., 186 F.3d 1077, 1079 (8th Cir. 1999)). For purposes of this motion, the court has only considered the facts and arguments presented in the amended complaint and answer, disregarding the further filings.

“Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the factual allegations in the complaint are accepted as true and viewed most favorably to the plaintiff.” Hager v. Ark. Dep't of Health, 735 F.3d 1009, 1013 (8th Cir. 2013) (citing Gross v. Weber, 186 F.3d 1089, 1090 (8th Cir. 1999)). “A complaint must ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’ ” Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations . . . [but] requires ...


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