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McCormick v. Oakwood Healthcare Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

November 17, 2016

Linda McCormick, Plaintiff,
Oakwood Healthcare Inc., City of Taylor, Brian Wojtowicz, Adam Leffew, Jennifer Zuccaro, and Steve Porta, Defendants.

          David R. Grand Mag. Judge.


          JUDITH E. LEVY United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Linda McCormick brought suit against defendants Oakwood Healthcare Inc. (defendant Oakwood) and the City of Taylor and Taylor Police Officers Brian Wojtowicz, Adam Leffew, Jennifer Zuccaro, and Steve Porta (the City Defendants), for events that took place in April 2014 at Oakwood Heritage Hospital, where plaintiff's mother was hospitalized. After discovery, plaintiff filed a motion to amend the complaint to add new defendants (employees or former employees of defendant Oakwood) and new claims. (Dkt. 83.) Shortly thereafter, defendant Oakwood and the City Defendants filed motions for summary judgment. (Dkt. 86; Dkt. 87.) Plaintiff filed responses (Dkt. 95; Dkt. 108; see also Dkt. 110), as well as several miscellaneous motions in support of her responses. (See Dkt. 111 (motion to grant corrections); Dkt. 115 (motion for leave to file index); see also Dkt. 114 (motion for order to compel).) For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff's motions to grant corrections and for leave to file index are granted, plaintiff's motion for order to compel is denied, defendants' motions for summary judgment are granted, and plaintiff's motion for leave to amend is denied.

         I. Background

         In early April 2014, plaintiff's mother, Mary Griffith, underwent elective shoulder surgery at Oakwood Heritage Hospital. (Dkt. 87-3 at 11.) According to nursing notes on April 7, 2014, taken a few days after the surgery, while Griffith was still admitted, Griffith was “alert and agitated” and “calling out loudly[, ] oriented to self[, ] but unable to [f]ocus on necessary treatment.” (Dkt. 87-4 at 4.) After she “remov[ed her] oxygen, ” Griffith was given Haldol, and antipsychotic medication. (See id.) At approximately 10:30 PM that same day, plaintiff called Oakwood to ask how her mother was doing and “became angry and belligerent” when told that Haldol had been administered to Griffith. (Id.)

         Plaintiff went to Oakwood and stated that, as Griffith's power of attorney, she wanted Griffith transferred to Henry Ford Hospital. (See Id. at 3-4.) Plaintiff spoke with Griffith's treating physician, Dr. Wayel Katrib, on the phone, who notified plaintiff that her mother could be transferred the following morning. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff told the Oakwood staff that they were all fired and that she was leaving with her mother immediately. (Id.) Plaintiff attempted to remove her mother from the hospital but was prevented from doing so by an Oakwood security guard. (Id.; Dkt. 87-5 at 2.) The police were called at approximately 12:30 AM on April 8, 2014. (Id.)

         Taylor Police Officers Brian Wojtowicz and Adam Leffew were dispatched to the hospital, where hospital staff informed them that plaintiff had been told it was unsafe for Griffith to leave the hospital at that time, but that Griffith could be transferred in the morning. (Dkt. 87-7 at 2-3; Dkt. 87-8 at 2-3.) The officers testified that plaintiff was irate and had attempted to remove intravenous lines from Griffith. (Dkt. 87-7 at 3; Dkt. 87-8 at 3.) Once the officers spoke to plaintiff and she agreed not to interfere with Griffith's care, she was allowed to remain at the hospital, and the officers left. (Dkt. 87-7 at 3; Dkt. 87-8 at 3.)

         Plaintiff states in an affidavit that when the police arrived, she “was not disturbing anyone, ” and informed the officers that Griffith “was being held against her will” and that Griffith herself informed the officers that “she wanted [to be] transferred and did not want Oakwood to treat her.” (Dkt. 108 at 6-7 (citing Dkt. 110-8).) According to plaintiff, defendant officer Wojtowicz “accus[ed p]laintiff of touching the medical equipment, ” but she “denied ever touching any medical equipment” and stated “that both the doctor and nurses had told [p]laintiff [that Griffith] was stable and ready for discharge.” (Id.)

         Approximately one hour later, hospital staff again called the police. (Dkt. 87-10.) According to the 911 transcript, hospital staff stated that plaintiff was “verbally attacking the nurses and [] need[ed] to be removed.” (Id. at 3.) The nurses were unable to continue Griffith's care because of the interference. (Id.) According to plaintiff, the “second call to the police was again for improper purposes.” (Dkt. 108 at 8.)

         When the officers arrived back at the hospital shortly after the second 9-1-1 call, hospital staff advised them that plaintiff was again interfering with Griffith's medical treatment, and a hospital security guard informed plaintiff several times that she needed to leave the premises. (Dkt. 87-7 at 4; Dkt. 87-8 at 4; Dkt. 87-9 at 4; Dkt. 87-11 at 3.) Plaintiff refused to leave. (Dkt. 87-7 at 4; Dkt. 87-8 at 4; Dkt. 87-9 at 4; Dkt. 87-11 at 3.)

         Plaintiff claims that she “had not said a word to anyone, ” and had merely “returned to her mother's bedside.” (Dkt. 108 at 8.) She “professed her innocence but [officer] Wojtowicz refused to believe her, look at the [security footage, ] or investigate, ” and ordered that she “need[ed] to leave.” (Id.) Plaintiff argues this was improper because the hospital “was private property that [officer Wojtowicz] did not own.” (Id. at 8-9.) Plaintiff states in her affidavit that she told officer Wojtowicz, “I don't want to argue with you, then I will leave.” (Id. at 9 (citing Dkt. 110-8; Dkt. 110-10).)

         The officers instructed plaintiff to leave the hospital premises at least three times (which plaintiff seems to agree with (Dkt. 108 at 8)), but, according to the officers, she refused, stating that she knew her rights and would not do so. (Dkt. 87-7 at 4; Dkt. 87-8 at 4; Dkt. 87-9 at 4; Dkt. 87-11 at 3.) Officer Wojtowicz then informed plaintiff she was under arrest for trespassing. (Dkt. 87-7 at 4; Dkt. 87-8 at 4; Dkt. 87-9 at 4; Dkt. 87-11 at 3.)

         According to the City Defendants, instead of cooperating with the officers, plaintiff “yanked her arm back and slid to the floor in order to prevent [herself from] being handcuffed, ” and “began screaming, curled her arms underneath her body, and refused to provide them to the officers.” (Dkt. 87 at 14 (citing Dkt. 87-7, Dkt. 87-8; Dkt. 87-9; Dkt. 87-11).) The officers state in their affidavits that “[n]o strikes or compliance blows were ever delivered to [p]laintiff, ” and due to plaintiff's refusal to stand and walk, the officers had to carry plaintiff through the hospital and eventually wheel her out in a wheelchair. (Id.)

         She “refused” when “instructed to get in the [police] car, ” so she was “placed on her stomach in the backseat.” (Id.) Once plaintiff was turned over for processing at the station, officer Jennifer Zuccaro searched plaintiff. (Id.) The officers testified that plaintiff “did not have any visible injuries and never complained of any injuries” prior to being turned over for booking. (Id. (citing Dkt. 87-7, Dkt. 87-8; Dkt. 87-11).) Plaintiff was issued a misdemeanor citation for trespassing and interference with police authority stemming from her refusal to leave, resisting arrest, and refusal to follow commands. (Id. at 14-15 (citing Dkt. 87-13).)

         Citing her own affidavit, plaintiff declares that officer Wojtowicz “grabbed [her] left arm, stomped on [her] foot[, ] and slammed [her] to the ground, ” and never stated that plaintiff was under arrest. (Dkt. 108 at 9 (citing Dkt. 110-8; Dkt. 110-11).) She “was then punched in the back” and “kicked [] in the hip.” (Id.) She was “slammed into a wheel chair, ” “harshly thrown into” the back of the patrol car, “dragged out of the car by her feet” when they reached the station, and complained that her “back and shoulder w[ere] hurt and she needed medical attention.” (Id.) According to plaintiff, her complaints of pain were met with taunts from officers during booking. (Id. at 10.)

         Plaintiff was arraigned on April 8, 2014, the same day she was booked. (Dkt. 87-15 (citing 87-17).) She pled not guilty and was given the opportunity to be represented by a court-appointed attorney. (Id.) The judge set plaintiff's bond at $2500, which was posted by Barbara Fisher. (Id. (citing 87-18.) A settlement conference was held on April 29, 2014, and based on defendant Oakwood's request that the matter be dismissed, the charges were dropped. (Id. at 15-16 (citing 87-20).) The trial court ordered that plaintiff stay out of Oakwood Heritage Hospital except for emergency purposes. (Id.)

         During this time, a social worker representing defendant Oakwood filed a petition in Michigan Probate Court for Appointment of a guardian and initiated a probate proceeding. (Dkt. 87-21.) Griffith's treating physician felt it necessary to remove her from plaintiff's care and to place Griffith in a nursing home for her safety, at least until Adult Protective Services could “substantiate any abuse and/or neglect” caused by plaintiff “at home.” (Dkt. 87-22.) The petition was granted, and the probate court ordered a temporary guardian for Griffith, whose authority remained in effect until her death. (See Dkt. 86 at 17.)

         Plaintiff brought six claims in her original complaint against defendant Oakwood and the City Defendants: Count I § 1983 for violation of her Fourth Amendment rights; Count II false arrest; Count III false imprisonment; Count IV intentional infliction of emotional distress; Count V battery; and Count VI malicious prosecution. (Dkt. 1.)

         Over one year after filing her original complaint, and on the eve of the dispositive motions deadline, plaintiff filed a motion to amend, seeking to add additional claims: Count VII intentional interference with plaintiff's authority as patient advocate-health care power of attorney and Count VIII defamation. (Dkt. 83-1.) She also seeks to add Dr. Wayel Katrib, ...

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