United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
WILLIAM I. BABCHUK, M.D., AND WILLIAM I. BABCHUK, M.D., P.C. d/b/a COMPREHENSIVE MEDICAL IMAGING, Plaintiffs,
INDIANA UNIVERSITY HEALTH, INC., INDIANA UNIVERSITY HEALTH TIPTON HOSPITAL, INC., MICHAEL L. HARLOWE, JOELLEN SCOTT, CARL M. PAFFORD, DIANNA ANDREWS, KEVIN W. CONDICT, MICHAEL E. HARPER, and RICHARD J. YOUNG, Defendants.
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, District Judge.
Presently pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' Objections to Order Denying Leave to Amend. [Filing No. 72.] For the following reasons, the Court OVERRULES the Objections.
Plaintiff William Babchuk, M.D. ("Dr. Babchuk") alleges that he is a board certified radiologist, and contracted through Plaintiff William I. Babchuk, M.D., P.C., doing business as Comprehensive Medical Imaging ("CMI"), in 2008 to provide radiology services to Defendant Indiana University Health Tipton Hospital, Inc. ("Tipton Hospital"). [Filing No. 1 at 2.] Dr. Babchuk alleges that in June 2012, his privileges to practice at Tipton Hospital were suspended due to his alleged "fail[ure] to read a radiology study and dictate a report, " and his alleged request that "a biller and radiology scheduler... delete a study from a medical record." [Filing No. 1 at 15.]
On July 17, 2012, shortly after the revocation of his privileges, Dr. Babchuk and CMI sued Tipton Hospital, Indiana University Health ("IU Health"), and several Tipton Hospital employees in Tipton County, Indiana Circuit Court. [ See Filing No. 63-2 (Chronological Case Summary from Babchuk v. Tipton Hospital, et al., 80C01-1207-PL-000265 (the "State Court Lawsuit")).] The parties stipulated to the dismissal of all claims but one - a breach of contract claim against Tipton Hospital. [Filing No. 63-2 at 5.] Over a year later, on August 29, 2013, Dr. Babchuk initiated this lawsuit in which he asserts claims against IU Health, Tipton Hospital, and several Tipton Hospital employees under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his constitutional right to Due Process. [Filing No. 1.]
On May 29, 2014, Dr. Babchuk and CMI filed a Motion to Amend Complaint in this lawsuit, arguing that consolidation of the federal and state law claims would avoid costs associated with multiple lawsuits, would not cause undue delay or prejudice, and was not requested in bad faith or with dilatory motive. [Filing No. 55 at 2-3.] Five days later, on June 3, 2014, Dr. Babchuk and CMI moved to stay the State Court Lawsuit and Defendants moved to dismiss the State Court Lawsuit for failure to prosecute. [Filing No. 63-2 at 5.] The State Court Lawsuit was stayed that same day. [Filing No. 63-2 at 5.]
Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in this lawsuit on June 19, 2014, arguing among other things that they are not state actors to which 42 U.S.C. § 1983 applies. [Filing No. 64.] Shortly thereafter, on July 1, 2014, the Magistrate Judge in this lawsuit denied Dr. Babchuk's and CMI's Motion to Amend Complaint. [Filing No. 71.] Dr. Babchuk and CMI timely filed their Objections to Order Denying Leave to Amend. [Filing No. 72.]
In support of their Objections, Dr. Babchuk and CMI argue that Defendants have not met their burden of showing that amendment "is sought in bad faith, that it is futile, or that it would cause substantial prejudice, undue delay or injustice." [Filing No. 72 at 5.] They rehash the same arguments they made in connection with their Motion to Amend, and assert that the Magistrate Judge did not find undue delay, prejudice, or futility in denying the Motion to Amend Complaint. [Filing No. 72 at 5.] They also argue that the Magistrate Judge based her decision on a belief that if the Court granted the pending Motion for Summary Judgment, it might then "relinquish supplemental jurisdiction of [the] state law claim, " but they are not aware of any "authority suggesting that such is a basis to deny a motion to amend." [Filing No. 72 at 6.] Dr. Babchuk and CMI also argue that the Magistrate Judge should not have considered the amount of time the State Court Lawsuit has been pending, but that the only proper consideration in the amendment analysis is the time between filing the Complaint and the Motion to Amend Complaint in this case. [Filing No. 72 at 7.] Additionally, they assert that the exercise of supplemental jurisdiction is required under 28 U.S.C. §1367(c) unless the Court finds that an exception applies, and the Magistrate Judge did not find an exception, which "is sufficient to warrant the setting aside of the Order." [Filing No. 72 at 8.] In the alternative, Dr. Babchuk and CMI request that they be permitted to seek leave to file their amended complaint after the Court has ruled on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. [Filing No. 72 at 10.]
In response, Defendants argue that the Magistrate Judge properly concluded that the interests of justice did not support amendment because she noted that the State Court Action had been pending for two years and Dr. Babchuk and CMI chose to bring their breach of contract claim there, the breach of contract claim could have been added earlier, Dr. Babchuk and CMI are not "subject to any injustice" due to denial of leave to amend because they chose to file it in state court, leave to amend would create a risk of inconsistent judgments, and the Magistrate Judge concluded that allowing amendment would create a burden on the federal system, given the pending Motion for Summary Judgment on the only federal claim. [Filing No. 73 at 6-9.] Defendants also note that the Magistrate Judge did not find that it would be improper to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the breach of contract claim, so there was no reason for the Magistrate Judge to "ma[k]e a finding that one of the exceptions enumerated in 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c) was applicable." [Filing No. 73 at 9.]
The district court's review of any decision by a magistrate judge on a non-dispositive motion is governed by Rule 72(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A motion to amend a pleading is considered a non-dispositive motion. Hall v. Norfolk S. Ry. Co. , 469 F.3d 590, 595 (7th Cir. 2006). The district court should not modify or set aside a magistrate judge's ruling on a non-dispositive motion unless the ruling is contrary to law or the factual findings are clearly erroneous. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). A finding is clearly erroneous when, after considering the entire record, the reviewing court has been definitely and firmly convinced that a mistake has been made. Kidd v. Illinois State Police , 167 F.3d 1084, 1095 (7th Cir. 1999). A decision whether to allow amendment of a complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 15 is ...