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Prime Healthcare Services- Monroe, LLC v. Indiana University Health Bloomington, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

September 30, 2016

PRIME HEALTHCARE SERVICES-MONROE, LLC, doing business as MONROE HOSPITAL, Plaintiff,
v.
INDIANA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BLOOMINGTON, INC., doing business as IU HEALTH BLOOMINGTON HOSPITAL EMERGENCY MEDICAL TRANSPORT SERVICES, doing business as IU HEALTH BLOOMINGTON HOSPITAL, Defendant.

          ENTRY ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          RICHARD L. YOUNG, CHIEF JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Prime Healthcare Services-Monroe, LLC, d/b/a Monroe Hospital (“Monroe Hospital”), filed this antitrust action, alleging violation of both federal and state laws, against Defendant, Indiana University Health Bloomington, Inc., d/b/a IU Health Bloomington Hospital Emergency Medical Transport Services, d/b/a IU Health Bloomington Hospital (“IU Health Bloomington”). This matter now comes before the court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the court GRANTS Defendant's motion as to Count I and orders the Plaintiff to show cause why Count II should not be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction by Friday, October 28, 2016.

         I. Background

         Historically, IU Health Bloomington's predecessor, Bloomington Hospital, was the only provider of emergency medical services and, through its ambulance service, the only provider of emergency medical transportation services in Monroe County and adjacent locations. (Docket No. 1, ¶ 2). In 2006, Monroe Hospital began operations at a location in Bloomington only a few miles from Bloomington Hospital. (Id. ¶ 4). In 2011, a series of acquisitions were completed resulting in Bloomington Hospital now being known as IU Health Bloomington Hospital and its ambulance service as IU Health Bloomington Hospital Emergency Medical Transport Services (“IU Ambulance”). (Id. ¶¶ 3-4). Throughout this time, Monroe County and the City of Bloomington had entered into exclusive agreements, pursuant to Ind. Code § 16-31-5-1, which permits municipalities to contract for the provision of emergency medical services, designating IU Ambulance and its predecessor as the providers of emergency medical transportation services in Monroe County. (Id. ¶ 55).

         Monroe Hospital accuses IU Health Bloomington of unlawfully abusing and leveraging a municipally-granted monopoly, in the provision of emergency medical transportation services in Monroe County. (Id. ¶ 1). The result, according to Monroe Hospital, is that IU Health Bloomington has willfully maintained, protected, and enhanced its monopoly power in the market for emergency medical services by engaging in exclusionary, predatory, and unjustifiable conduct, a violation of federal and Indiana antitrust law. (Id. ¶ 75). Monroe Hospital brings its action pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 2 (Section 2 of the Sherman Act) (Count I) and Ind. Code § 24-1-2-2 (Count II).[1]

         II. Extrinsic Materials

         As an initial matter, IU Health Bloomington submits eight exhibits for the court to consider, all of which refer to facts and evidence outside the pleadings. Documents that are (1) referred to in a complaint, (2) are authentic, and (3) are central to a plaintiff's claim can be considered in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss without converting it into a motion for summary judgment. Hecker v. Deere & Co., 556 F.3d 575, 582 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Tierney v. Vahle, 304 F.3d 734, 738 (7th Cir. 2002)). If those requirements are not satisfied, the district court may also take judicial notice of matters of public record without converting a 12(b)(6) motion into a motion for summary judgment. U.S. v. Wood, 925 F.2d 1580, 1582 (7th Cir. 1991). Courts have considered the public record to include information available on a government website and proceedings of another court or agency. Henson v. CSC Credit Services, et al., 29 F.3d 280, 284 (7th Cir. 1994); see also Fed.R.Evid. 201; Denius v. Dunlap, 330 F.3d 919, 926-27 (7th Cir. 2003) (holding judicial notice of information from government's official website is proper); Opoka v. INS, 94 F.3d 392, 394 (7th Cir. 1996) (holding judicial notice of proceedings of another court or agency is proper).

         IU Health Bloomington asserts that these materials are appropriate for the court to consider in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion because they are either referred to by Monroe Hospital in the Complaint and are central to the claims, or they are public record. (Docket No. 17 at ECF p. 7). Monroe Hospital disagrees, arguing: (1) they are central to IU Health Bloomington's state action doctrine immunity argument, not to Plaintiff's Complaint; (2) they do not include materials that are subject to judicial notice; and (3) Exhibits 1 and 6 are not self-authenticating. (Docket No. 23 at ECF p. 18-20).

         The eight exhibits attached to IU Health Bloomington's Brief in Support of its Motion to Dismiss can be divided into two groups, one group where judicial notice is proper and one group where it is not. Exhibits 2 and 3 are administrative orders issued by the Emergency Medical Services Commission of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. These agency proceedings are deemed public record. See Opoka, 94 F.3d at 394. Exhibits 4, 5, 7, and 8 include information that is available through either Monroe County's webpage or the State of Indiana's webpage. This information from government websites is also public record, properly submitted for judicial notice. See Denius, 330 F.3d at 926-27. For purposes of this motion, the court will consider these documents.

         However, Exhibit 1, an ambulance agreement between Monroe County and Bloomington Hospital, and Exhibit 6, Monroe County Ambulance Advisory Board Meeting Minutes, cannot be deemed public records based on the information provided by IU Health Bloomington. There was no information suggesting that the public has unqualified access to the documents via a website or otherwise. See Travelers Cas. and Sur. Co. of Am. V. Consol. City of Indianapolis, Indiana, No. 1:13-cv-01276-MJD-TWP, 2014 WL 5509312, at *2, n.2 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 21, 2014) (taking judicial notice of meeting minutes of the Board of Public Works as they are available on a government website); see also Pension Ben. Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Industries, Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1197 (3d Cir. 1993) (holding document is not a public record if the public does not have unqualified access to it). Here, IU Health Bloomington provides insufficient information to qualify Exhibits 1 or 6 as public records that are appropriate for judicial notice.

         Finally, neither Exhibit 1 or 6 meet the alternative set of requirements to be considered by the court for purposes of the current motion (i.e., neither are referred to in the Complaint, are authentic, and are central to a plaintiff's claim). See Hecker, 556 F.3d at 582. Exhibit 1, the ambulance agreement, is referenced in Monroe Hospital's Complaint and is, arguably, central to its claim that the “municipally-granted monopoly” is the foundation to IU Health Bloomington's exclusionary conduct. (See Compl. ¶¶ 1, 2, 7, 55). However, the agreement is not properly authenticated. The declaration submitted by Attorney Hurley is insufficient to properly authenticate Exhibit 1 because the declarant provides no support as to his personal knowledge of the document and the facts do not provide otherwise. See Wright v. Associated Ins. Companies Inc., 29 F.3d 1244, 1248 (7th Cir. 1994) (finding it adequate personal knowledge for the purposes of authentication when affiant, as vice president, stated that he was charged with administering the agreement and subsequent amendments within his affidavit); see also Romanelli v. Suliene, No. 07-C-19-C, 2007 WL 5490671, at *2 (W.D. Wis. May 16, 2007) (“[D]ocuments must be authenticated. . . [by an] affidavit of someone who testifies on personal knowledge . . .”). Exhibit 6 is not referred to in the Complaint or properly authenticated. Therefore, neither Exhibit 1 nor Exhibit 6 have been considered for purposes of this motion.

         III. Motion to Dismiss Standard

         When considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the court takes all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and draws all inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Bielanski v. County of Kane, 550 F.3d 632, 633 (7th Cir. 2008) (citations omitted). The recitation of facts comes, therefore, from Monroe Hospital's Complaint. The “‘[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'” Pisciotta v. Old Nat. Bancorp, 499 F.3d 629, 633 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). See also Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Stated differently, a complaint must include sufficient facts that “a claim to relief is plausible on its face.” Hecker v. Deere & Co, 556 F.3d 575, 580 (7th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted). To be facially plausible, the complaint must allow “the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (citation omitted). Finally, the court must not apply a heightened pleading standard in antitrust cases. Endsley v. City of Chicago, 230 F.3d 276, 282 (7th Cir. 2000).

         IV. ...


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