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Titsworth v. Hodge

United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma

July 3, 2018

Kenneth Titsworth, Plaintiff,
v.
Trevor Hodge, M.D.; Patric Anderson, M.D.; SPARKS HEALTH SYSTEM, an Arkansas corporation; HMA, LLC, an Arkansas corporation, Defendants.

          ORDER

          HONORABLE RONALD A. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the court is Defendants Sparks Health System and Fort Smith HMA, LLC, 's motion to transfer venue or dismiss for improper venue [Docket No. 73], filed April 20, 2018, Defendant Patric Anderson, M.D.'s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue [Docket No. 58], filed February 22, 2018, and Defendant Trevor Hodge, M.D.'s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue [Docket No. 60], filed February 22, 2018. As the court finds that venue is improperly laid in the Eastern District of Oklahoma and that it lacks personal jurisdiction over Defendants, the court transfers the case to the Western District of Arkansas in the interest of justice.

         I. Background

         The Plaintiff alleges the following facts in his second amended complaint:

Around February 26, 2016, Plaintiff Kenneth Titsworth fell in his home in Leflore County, Oklahoma and injured his back. On March 14, 2016, Plaintiff travelled to Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas to seek treatment at Sparks Regional Medical Center. Fort Smith HMA, LLC, runs Sparks Regional Medical Center. Sparks Health System owns Fort Smith, HMA, LLC, .

         At Sparks Regional Medical Center, Mr. Titsworth met with Dr. Trevor Hodge. Dr. Hodge ordered x-rays, which revealed nothing. Mr. Titsworth again met with Dr. Hodge on March 20, 2016. On April 4, 2016, Dr. Hodge stated that he would set up an MRI for Mr. Titsworth, but later stated that Mr. Titsworth's insurance would not pay for the MRI. Mr. Titsworth's insurance program is HealthChoice, an Oklahoma insurance plan. Dr. Hodge instead prescribed medication and physical therapy, which were both ineffective in treating the back pain. On April 15, 2016, Mr. Titsworth again travelled to Fort Smith, Arkansas to report worsening back pain to Dr. Hodge. Dr. Hodge repeated that he wished to perform an MRI on Mr. Titsworth, but could not get approval from the insurance plan. Dr. Hodge once more took x-rays and found nothing.

         On April 25, 2016, Mr. Titsworth reported to the emergency room of Sparks Regional Medical Center due to his severe back pain. Dr. Patric Anderson, an Arkansas doctor, admitted Mr. Titsworth but discharged him without a diagnosis or a recommended course treatment.

         On May 5, 2016, Mr. Titsworth called the office of Dr. Hodge to ask about the possibility of an MRI. The next day, Mr. Titsworth travelled once more to the Sparks Regional Medical Center emergency room and received an MRI. The MRI showed osteomyelitis T2-T3 with posterior epidural abscess with canal stenosis. Mr. Titsworth was then transferred to Washington Regional Hospital in Fayetteville, Arkansas. From Washington Regional Hospital, he was emergency transported to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Doctors performed emergency surgery, but Mr. Titsworth was left paraplegic.

         Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Oklahoma, alleging negligence by Fort Smith, HMA, LLC, Sparks Health System, Dr. Hodge, and Dr. Anderson. Plaintiff additionally alleges deceit by Dr. Hodge, as well as corporate negligence and respondeat superior against Fort Smith, HMA, LLC and Sparks Health System. Fort Smith, HMA, LLC and Sparks Health System are Arkansas companies. Dr. Hodge and Dr. Anderson both domicile in Arkansas.

         II. Venue

         For the purposes of venue, a civil action may be brought in:

(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the State in which the district is located;
(2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is the subject of the action is situated; or
(3) if there is no district in which an action may otherwise be brought as provided in this section, any judicial district in which any defendant is subject to the court's personal ...

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