United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER REGARDING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS
(Dkt. Nos. 17 & 19)
MICHAEL A. PONSOR, District Judge.
Plaintiff Ian Hogan brings this civil rights action against Defendants Dr. Garry Bombardier, Dr. Louis Durkin, Holyoke Medical Center, and Mercy Medical Center, based on their refusal to reinstate Plaintiff's authorization to practice as an emergency medical technician ("EMT") at Defendant hospitals. Defendants have moved to dismiss for failure to allege sufficient facts to establish any of the claims brought against Defendants.
Because there is no basis for Defendants - all private actors - to be considered public actors for purposes of Plaintiff's federal civil rights claims, the court will dismiss counts one and two. Moreover, the court will decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction on the remaining state-law claims and will dismiss them without prejudice to their re-filing in state court. Accordingly, the court will grant Defendants' motions as to all Plaintiff's claims.
For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the court must take the allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Curran v. Cousins , 509 F.3d 36, 43 (1st Cir. 2007). Beyond the complaint, the court may also consider "matters of which judicial notice can be taken." Dickey v. Kennedy , 583 F.Supp.2d 183, 186 (D. Mass. 2008). Because this decision rests on the sufficiency of Plaintiff's federal claims, the court will focus on those allegations. Before summarizing the salient facts from Plaintiff's Complaint (Dkt. No. 1), the court will first review the statutory scheme governing the provision of emergency medical services ("EMS") in the Commonwealth.
A. Massachusetts Law
The Commonwealth's Department of Public Health ("DPH") is tasked with overseeing and regulating the EMS system, as well as ensuring that EMS personnel have the appropriate training and experience. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 111C, § 2. Massachusetts regulations require any hospital that is licensed by DPH and that agrees to provide "medical control" to a licensed ambulance or EMS first response service must also provide clinical oversight of the EMS system by a qualified physician. 105 C.M.R. §§ 130.1501 & 130.1502. Medical control is defined as, inter alia, "training of and authorization to practice for EMS personnel." § 130.1501.
Specifically, each hospital must designate an "affiliate hospital medical director" who is responsible for authorizing any individual EMT to practice at that hospital. §§ 130.1501 & 130.1503(A). The medical director has the power to suspend, revoke, or restrict an EMT's authorization to practice at the affiliate hospital if the EMT has been found to be deficient in his or her clinical practice. § 130.1503(A). In addition, the medical director can require remedial education for that EMT as a condition for continued or re-authorization to practice. Id . Upon revoking an EMT's authorization, the medical director is to provide a notice to DPH within 48 hours explaining the reasons for the action. Id . An EMT who has lost medical control privileges cannot transport a patient or treat a patient at that affiliate hospital.
B. Facts as Alleged in the Complaint
Plaintiff is a partially disabled veteran of the U.S. Marines who served two combat tours in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. In 2007, he obtained his basic certification as a Massachusetts EMT and became a certified EMT-Paramedic three years later. Defendant Bombardier served as the affiliate hospital medical director of EMS for Defendant Holyoke Medical Center ("HMC"). Defendant Durkin served as the affiliate hospital medical director of EMS for Defendant Mercy Medical Center ("MMC").
In 2009, Plaintiff began working for American Medical Response ("AMR"). In February 2011, Plaintiff and his partner were the subject of two complaints about the care and treatment of patients during two separate emergency calls. While investigating the two complaints, AMR identified a third incident that had happened earlier in which Plaintiff supposedly delivered inadequate EMT care. After learning of the incidents from AMR, Dr. Bombardier suspended Plaintiff's medical control privileges at HMC for thirty days, effective February 11, 2011, and ordered remedial training. Subsequently, DPH's Office of Emergency Medical Services ("OEMS") initiated an investigation into the matter.
At the end of the thirty day suspension, OEMS asked Dr. Bombardier to delay restoring Plaintiff's medical control privileges until after its investigation was complete. Dr. Bombardier agreed. Because Plaintiff had no privileges, AMR terminated him on June 1, 2011. On June 9, 2011, OEMS completed its investigation, concluding that Plaintiff's license should be suspended for six months and he should take additional training courses. Plaintiff appealed OEMS' findings to the Division of Administrative Law Appeals ("DALA"), which did not hold a hearing until April 2012. On December 24, 2012, DALA issued its decision, affirming in part OEMS' determinations and recommending that Plaintiff's license be suspended retroactively and that he be fully reinstated after completing certain remedial courses.
Plaintiff completed these courses, as well as some additional training, through MedicEd.com, an educational company founded, managed, and administered by Dr. Durkin, who signed Plaintiff's certificates of completion. On February 7, 2013, OEMS restored Plaintiff's paramedic license. Nonetheless, Dr. Bombardier refused to reinstate Plaintiff's medical control privileges at HMC. In September 2013, Plaintiff secured a conditional job offer for a position as a firefighter/paramedic with the Ludlow Fire Department. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Durkin suspended Plaintiff's medical control authorization from MMC, Ludlow's affiliate hospital. However, the medical ...