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Van Ornum v. American Medical Association

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

September 29, 2017

SANDRA CK VAN ORNUM, Plaintiff,
v.
AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, et al., Defendants.

          Evelyn J. Furse Magistrate Judge

          ORDER

          ROBERT J. SHELBY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This case was referred to Magistrate Judge Evelyn J. Furse pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). Before the court are eleven of the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendations, [1] which address the Defendants' Motions to Dismiss[2] and the Plaintiff's Motion to Amend.[3]

         BACKGROUND

         This is the second time the court has considered Motions to Dismiss pro se Plaintiff Sandra Van Ornum's claims. The court previously adopted the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation and dismissed Ms. Van Ornum's claims without prejudice. The court dismissed Ms. Van Ornum's claims because she had failed to make a prima face showing of personal jurisdiction over the Defendants for a majority of her claims, and she had failed to assert her Sherman and Clayton Act claims in accordance with Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[4]

         The court granted Ms. Van Ornum leave to file an amended complaint to address these deficiencies. The court stressed that Ms. Van Ornum's amended complaint must comply with Rule 8 and provide notice to each individual defendant of the claims against them and the factual support for these claims.[5] The court required Ms. Van Orunm to file her Rule 8-compliant amended complaint within thirty days of the filing of its Order, warning that failure to do so could result in the dismissal of her claims with prejudice.[6]

         Ms. Van Ornum subsequently filed her Amended Complaint on May 4, 2017, five days after the thirty-day deadline.[7] This Amended Complaint is the subject of Defendants' Motions to Dismiss addressed by the Report and Recommendations now before the court.

         In her Amended Complaint, Ms. Van Ornum appears to allege that a class of fourteen Defendants[8] violated her constitutional rights, [9] along with several statutes.[10] In her Amended Complaint, Ms. Van Ornum improved the readability of her pleading by eliminating the abbreviations that were used extensively in her previous Complaint. The Amended Complaint, however, is still difficult to follow and does not connect specific facts and claims to specific Defendants. Instead, the Amended Complaint refers broadly to an ill-defined “Defendants' class”[11] and makes broad and difficult-to-comprehend accusations.[12]

         The factual assertions in Ms. Van Ornum's Amended Complaint are similar to those in her original Complaint. Though difficult to discern, she seems to assert that the Defendants' class interfered with her and her family's practice of the “Creator's laws of health” by providing modern institutional medical care and, as a result, her and her family suffered poor health outcomes.[13] She also appears to allege that the Defendants' class committed various crimes as a result of their interference with her and her parents' practice of the Creator's laws of health.[14]

         All of the Defendants filed Motions to Dismiss, exception Cyanoch Biochemic Corporation, who has not made an appearance in this case.[15] While Defendants' arguments vary, in most Motions they argue the court should dismiss Ms. Van Ornum's Amended Complaint because: (1) it violates Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure; (2) it fails to state a claim upon which the court can grant relief; (3) it fails to allege facts that support personal jurisdiction over the Defendant at issue; (4) it was untimely as it was filed outside of the thirty-day deadline; (5) the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Ms. Van Ornum's claims; and (6) Ms. Van Ornum lacks standing to bring claims on behalf of her parents.

         ANALYSIS

         Before the court are eleven Report and Recommendations from the Magistrate Judge. Nine of these Report and Recommendations address Defendants' Motions to Dismiss.[16] One Report and Recommendation addresses Ms. Van Ornum's Notice of Corrections in Caption of Dkt. No. 98, which the Magistrate Judge construed as a Motion to Amend.[17] And one Report and Recommendation addresses Ms. Van Ornum's failure to serve Defendant Cyanoch Biochemic.[18]

         Below, the court first addresses the standard of review. Next, the court takes up the nine Report and Recommendations addressing Defendants' Motions to Dismiss. Then, the court addresses the two additional Report and Recommendations. Finally, the court discusses the status of the case generally.

         I. Standard of Review

         In the absence of a specific and timely objection, the court may apply a “clearly erroneous” standard of review when evaluating a Report and Recommendation.[19] This is true even when the party failing to object is pro se.[20] Under this standard, the court “will affirm the Magistrate Judge's ruling unless [the court] . . . is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.”[21]

         Ms. Van Ornum filed no objection to seven of the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendations.[22] These Report and Recommendations, therefore, are reviewed under the clearly erroneous standard. Ms. Van Ornum did file an objection to four Report and Recommendations.[23] In her Objection, however, Ms. Van Ornum failed to specifically object to any of the Magistrate Judge's analysis contained in the subject Report and Recommendations, and thus does not trigger de novo review.

         The court carefully reviewed Ms. Van Ornum's Objection. It is difficult to decipher. From what the court can understand, Ms. Van Ornum mainly argues that the court should enter default judgment against various Defendants, including Dr. Goodhue, for failure to answer the Amended Complaint within twenty-one days.[24] Ms. Van Ornum also states that she recently discovered “jurisdictional code pleading deficienc[ies]” in her Amended Complaint, and that “this needs to be added to pending Amended Complaint of September 19, 2016.”[25] The only docket entry on September 19, 2016, is a minute entry from a motion hearing the Magistrate Judge held that day. Ms. Van Ornum also discusses various topics unrelated to the relevant Report and Recommendations.[26]

         Overall, the Objection is cryptic and appears to request relief not within the scope of an objection to a Report and Recommendation, including entering default judgment against the Defendants. The Objection fails to specifically object to any analysis contained in any of the Report and Recommendations at issue; and the court, therefore, reviews all of the Report and Recommendations before it for clear error.

         II. Report and Recommendations on Defendants' Motions to Dismiss

         The Magistrate Judge addressed Defendants' Motions to Dismiss in nine Report and Recommendations.[27] In all Recommendations, the Magistrate Judge recommended the court dismiss Ms. Van Ornum's claims.

         In a majority of the Recommendations, [28] the Magistrate Judge concluded that the court has personal jurisdiction over the Defendant (or Defendants) at issue pursuant to Ms. Van Ornum's RICO and antitrust claims. But, having found jurisdiction, she concluded the court should dismiss these claims under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim. The Magistrate Judge discussed the elements of the RICO and antitrust claims, and concluded that Ms. Van Ornum had failed to allege facts that would plausibly support these claims.[29] Next, the Magistrate Judge found no basis in the Amended Complaint to exercise personal jurisdiction over the Defendant (or Defendants) at issue. She therefore recommended dismissing the remainder of the claims without prejudice under Rule 12(b)(2) for lack of jurisdiction.

         The legal analyses in three of the Recommendations on Defendants' Motions to Dismiss vary from the path just outlined. In docket entry 210, the Report and Recommendation on Hawaii Pacific Health's Motion to Dismiss, the Magistrate Judge concluded the antitrust and RICO claims fail to provide personal jurisdiction over Hawaii Pacific; and she also concluded the Amended Complaint did not sufficiently allege personal jurisdiction over Hawaii Pacific for the remainder of the claims. She therefore recommended dismissing all claims under Rule 12(b)(2). But she noted that alternatively, even if there was jurisdiction, the Amended Complaint also failed to state an antitrust or RICO claim and these claims can be dismissed pursuant to 12(b)(6).

         In docket entry 237, the Report and Recommendation on Kaiser Foundation Hospital's Motion to Dismiss, the Magistrate Judge recommended the court dismiss all claims under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Finally, in docket entry 238, the Report and Recommendation on Intermountain Health Care's Motion to Dismiss, the Magistrate Judge recommended the court determine it lacks jurisdiction over Ms. Van Ornum's state law claims, and dismiss all remaining claims under Rule 12(b)(6).

         After reviewing these Report and Recommendations, the Amended Complaint, and Ms. Van Ornum's Objection, the court concludes that the Magistrate Judge did not clearly err in her analysis and the court adopts these Report and Recommendations-granting Defendants' Motions to Dismiss for the reasons outlined by the Magistrate Judge.

         III. Remaining Report ...


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