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SANDERS v. TRINITAS HOSPITAL

August 24, 2005.

SYLVESTER SANDERS, Administrator ad prosequendum of the ESTATE OF DARLENE SANDERS, a/k/a DEBBIE PATTERSON, individually, as father of Darlene Sanders and on behalf of the heirs of the Estate; ALMISSA SANDERS, individually and in her capacity as the daughter of Darlene Sanders; DYESHA CRINARTY, individually and in her capacity as the daughter of Darlene Sanders; and ALMIN SANDERS, individually and in his capacity as the son of Darlene Sanders, Plaintiffs,
v.
TRINITAS HOSPITAL, Jersey and Williamsburg Campuses; THE CITY OF ELIZABETH; THE CITY OF ELIZABETH POLICE DEPARTMENT; THE CITY OF ELIZABETH JAIL; JAMES COSGROVE, individually and under color of State law in his capacity as Police Director for the City of Elizabeth; JOHN SIMON, individually and under color of State law in his capacity as Chief of Police for the City of Elizabeth Police Department; LT. SOFIANKOS, individually and under color of State law in his capacity as Desk Supervisor on May 16, 2000 for the City of Elizabeth Police Department; JOHN and JANE ROES, officers, supervisors, agents, directors, and/or managers employed by the City of Elizabeth Police Department and Jail; JOHN and JANE SMITHS or any other persons, individuals, officers, supervisors, agents, employees and/or entities who are/were responsible for inmate healthcare at Trinitas Hospital, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN BISSELL, Chief Judge, District

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on motions by Defendant Police Chief John Simon, the City of Elizabeth Police Department, the City of Elizabeth Jail, James Cosgrove and Lt. Sofiankos (collectively "City Defendants") for Reconsideration pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(g) concerning the Court's ruling on October 25, 2004, which denied City Defendants' Qualified Immunity Defense; denied City Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs' § 1983 and Constitutional Claims; granted City Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs' Punitive Damages Claim; granted Defendant Trinitas' Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs' EMTALA Claim; granted Defendant Trinitas' Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs' § 1983 and Constitutional Claims; denied Defendant Trinitas' Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs' State Law Claims; and granted Defendant Trinitas' Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs' Punitive Damages Claim. Specifically, City Defendants request that the Court grant their motion for reconsideration and enter an order either 1) vacating the dismissal without prejudice of Count V and VI against Trinitas Hospital under 28 U.S.C. § 1376(c)(3); or, in the alternative, 2) reinstating the crossclaims of City Defendants against Trinitas Hospital for contribution and indemnification; or, in the alternative, 3) permitting City Defendants to file a third party complaint against Trinitas Hospital for contribution and indemnification. The Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and supplemental jurisdiction of state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES City Defendants' motion for reconsideration in its entirety.

  FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

  I. Parties

  Plaintiffs are the administrators and heirs of the Estate of Darlene Sanders, who was a resident of the City of Elizabeth, New Jersey at the time of her death. (Compl. ¶¶ 2-6.)

  Defendant Trinitas Hospital ("Trinitas"), Jersey and Williamburg Campuses, is a medical care facility located in Elizabeth, New Jersey. (Id. ¶ 7.)

  Defendants John and Jane Smiths*fn1 are persons, individuals, employees, agents, servants, supervisors and/or entities of Trinitas responsible for administering healthcare training on Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act ("EMTALA") who participated in the medical care of Darlene Sanders. (Id. ¶ 13.) Defendant City of Elizabeth is a governmental body with numerous departments for which it is responsible including the City of Elizabeth Municipal Jail. (Id. ¶ 8.)

  Defendant James Cosgrove ("Cosgrove") was at all relevant times the Police Director for the City of Elizabeth responsible for formulation and implementation of the policies and practices of the City of Elizabeth Police Department. (Id. ¶ 9.)

  Defendant John Simon ("Simon") was at all relevant times the Chief of Police for the City of Elizabeth responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies of the City of Elizabeth Police Department. (Id. ¶ 10.)

  Defendant Lt. Sofiankos ("Sofiankos") was the Desk Supervisor on May 16, 2000 for the City of Elizabeth Police Department. (Id. ¶ 11.)

  Defendants John and Jane Roes*fn2 are officers, supervisors, agents, directors, employees, servants and/or managers for the City of Elizabeth and/or its Police Department and were policy makers responsible for the jail training to administer health care to incarcerated persons or on-duty at the time of Sanders' stay in the municipal jail. (Id. ¶ 12.)

  II. Procedural History Plaintiffs filed their complaint in this Court on April 11, 2002. (Certification of Nancy S. Martin ("Martin Cert.") at Ex. A.) Plaintiffs Complaint contains eight counts:
Count I: Violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd (against Trinitas Hospital — Jersey & Williamsburg campuses) (Compl. ¶¶ 38-42);
Count II: Violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Constitutional Tort (Id. at ¶¶ 43-47);
Count III: Federal Constitutional Claim — Improper Medical Care (Id. at ¶¶ 48-50);
Count IV: State Constitutional Claim (Id. ¶¶ 51-55)
Count V: Wrongful Death (Id. at ¶¶ 56-59);
Count VI: Survival under State Law (Id. at ¶¶ 60-65);
Count VII: Substantive Due Process/Constitutional Rights — 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Id. at ¶¶ 66-70); and
Count VIII: Substantive Due Process Rights under the New Jersey Constitution (Id. at ¶¶ 71-75).
Defendants filed answers, discovery was conducted and expert reports were exchanged. Defendant Simon, joined by all other City Defendants and Trinitas, filed separate motions for summary judgment on Plaintiffs' claims brought respectively against them. On October 25, 2005, the Court issued the decision described at the outset of this Opinion. On December 9, 2004, City Defendants filed the present motion for reconsideration of this Court's dismissal of all the crossclaims for contribution and indemnification against Trinitas.

  III. Background The full factual recitation of this matter has been set — forth by this Court's decision in Sanders, et al. v. Trinitas Hosp., et al., No. 02-1655 (D.N.J. Oct. 25, 2004). The Court now proceeds to decide City Defendants' motion for reconsideration of the dismissal ...


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