United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage
RENÉE MARIE BUMB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE .
matter comes before the Court upon the filing of a motion
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) by defendants Dr. Cindy
Aves, M.D. (“Dr. Aves”) and Cooper University
Hospital (“Cooper”)(collectively, the
“Cooper Defendants”) seeking dismissal of all
claims against them as time-barred. [Dkt. No. 35]. Because
proper consideration of the Cooper Defendants' motion
requires reference to facts outside of the pleadings, the
Court will convert the motion into a motion for summary
judgment and provide the parties with additional time to
submit further materials in support and opposition of such
Anesha Miles (“Plaintiff”) filed the initial
complaint in this matter on February 12, 2016, naming the
United States as the sole defendant. [Dkt. No. 1]. Plaintiff
alleged that Dr. Eric Chang, D.O. -- a surgeon employed by
the United States through CamCare Health Corporation --
performed a dilation and curettage with ablation
(“D&C”) surgical procedure on Plaintiff at
Cooper on March 17, 2014, which resulted in the termination
of Plaintiff's pregnancy. [Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 7-13].
According to Plaintiff, she was subjected to a pre-surgical
pregnancy test which revealed that she was pregnant.
[Id. at ¶ 10]. The results of this test,
however, were not conveyed to Plaintiff, and Plaintiff
consented to the D&C without knowing that she was
pregnant. (Id.) Plaintiff filed a one-count
complaint alleging negligence against the United States.
March 8, 2017 the Court granted Plaintiff leave to amend the
complaint to add the Cooper Defendants. [Dkt. No. 19]. On
March 21, 2017 Plaintiff filed the amended complaint. [Dkt.
No. 20]. In addition to the allegations of the initial
complaint, Plaintiff alleged in the amended complaint that
Dr. Aves, a Cooper employee not employed by the United States
through CamCare Health Corporation, either assisted Dr. Chang
in performing the D&C or performed it herself. [Dkt. No.
20 at ¶ 13, 16]. Plaintiff added a negligence count
against Dr. Aves and negligence and “corporate
negligence” counts against Cooper.
2, 2017, the Cooper Defendants filed the currently pending
motion, seeking to dismiss all claims against them on statute
of limitations grounds. [Dkt. No. 35].
withstand a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6),
“a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). In
reviewing a plaintiff's allegations, a district court
“must accept as true all well-pled factual allegations
as well as all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from
them, and construe those allegations in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Bistrian v. Levi,
696 F.3d 352 n.1 (3d Cir. 2012). A motion to dismiss for
failure to comply with a statute of limitations will only be
granted “where the complaint facially shows
noncompliance with the limitations period.” Oshiver
v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380,
1385 (3d Cir. 1994).
undertaking this review, courts are limited to the
allegations found in the complaint, exhibits attached to the
complaint, matters of public record, and undisputedly
authentic documents that form the basis of a claim. See
In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d
1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997); Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v.
White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir.
1993). “If, on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) . . .
matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not
excluded by the court, the motion must be treated as one for
summary judgment under Rule 56 . . . [and] [a]ll parties must
be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material
that is pertinent to the motion.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d).
Cooper Defendants argue that all claims asserted against them
are time-barred. Each of Plaintiff's claims sounds in
medical malpractice. N.J.S.A. § 2A:14-2 requires a
plaintiff to file a medical malpractice action within two
years after the cause of action “accrued.”
Plaintiff underwent the D&C on March 17, 2014. (Dkt. No.
20 at ¶ 11). The parties do not dispute that this is the
date on which Plaintiff's cause of action accrued. As
such, Plaintiff had two years from March 17, 2014 to file her
noted above, Plaintiff timely filed her initial complaint
against the United States on February 12, 2016. Further,
Plaintiff concedes in her opposition to the present motion
that the two-year statute of limitations had run before March
8, 2017, when she filed the amended complaint adding claims
against the Cooper Defendants. [Dkt. No. 37 at 3]. Plaintiff
argues, however, that the claims against the Cooper
Defendants are not subject to dismissal because the amended
complaint “relates back” to the date of the
filing of the initial complaint.
an amendment relates back to the original complaint is a
question of federal procedural law, not state law, and thus
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(c) controls. See Loudenslager v.
Teeple, 466 F.2d 249, 250 (3d Cir. 1972). Specifically,