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Purdy v. Corizon Health

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

May 19, 2017

KEITH PURDY, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON HEALTH, LORETTA WHITE, HOUMAN KIANI, WILLIAM SPANENBERG, FINOTE ASFAW, CYNTHIA DOWERS, FARRAH BUNCH, KAYLA MCDERMIT, STAPHANIE VANNATI, DEBRA PRICE, Defendants.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING THE DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

          HON. WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, JUDGE

         The defendants filed a motion to dismiss on December 12, 2016, arguing this action should be dismissed because the plaintiff has a prior parallel action pending in Indiana State Court.

         I. Background

         In June of 2016, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice action in the Putnam County, Indiana, Superior Court. He named as defendants Corizon Health, Houman Kiani, Farrah Bunch, Kayla McDermitt, Cassandra Felix, Dawn Antle, and Finote Asfaw. [Dkt. 28-1]. The Indiana State Court case is proceeding and the parties are currently engaged in the discovery process.

         On September 30, 2016, the plaintiff filed this action alleging the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs while he was incarcerated at the Putnamville Correctional Facility in violation of the Eighth Amendment. [Dkt. 1].

         The defendants assert that the complaint filed in this Court mirrors the State Court action. Specifically:

1. Five of the defendants are the same - Corizon, Hounman Kiani, Farrah Bunch, Kayla McDermitt, and Finote Asfaw.
2. The factual allegations are the same in each action - the defendants failed to treat his various and chronic medical needs, including chronic pain, while he was incarcerated.

         However, on contrast:

1. There are five additional defendants in this action - Loretta White, William Spanenberg, Cynthia Dowers, Stephanie Vannati, Debra Price. The claims against these defendants in this action reference treatment he received (or lack of treatment) after he filed the State Court action.
2. The State Court action is based only on Indiana state law. The Federal Court action is based only on federal constitutional law.

         II. Discussion

         The defendants argue this Court should dismiss this action based on the Colorado River abstention doctrine. Colorado River Water Conversation District v. United States, 424 U.S. 800 (1976).

         The first issue for this Court in determining whether abstention is appropriate is whether there are in fact concurrent, parallel proceedings. Without parallel proceedings, abstention is inapplicable. The requirement is parallel suits, not identical suits. A suit is parallel when substantially the same parties are contemporaneously litigating substantially the same ...


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