United States District Court, D. Kansas
THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN GOOD SAMARITAN SOCIETY, INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
MICHAEL RANDOL, in his official capacity as the Director of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
D. Crabtree United States District Judge
plaintiffs in this case include skilled nursing home
facilities headquartered in South Dakota and 21 of its
patients. The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan
Society (“Good Samaritan”) operates facilities in
Kansas and provides 24-hour skilled nursing care to its
patients, including the 21 plaintiff patients named in this
case. This matter is before the court today on defendant
Kansas Department of Health and Environment's
(“KDHE”) Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 8) and
plaintiffs' two Motions to Amend Complaint (Docs. 19,
24). For reasons explained below, the court grants
defendant's Motion and denies plaintiffs' motions.
is a program administered cooperatively by states and the
federal government to provide ‘health care to persons
who cannot afford such care.'” Morris v. Okla.
Dep't of Human Servs., 685 F.3d 925, 928 (10th Cir.
2012) (quoting Brown v. Day, 555 F.3d 882, 885 (10th
Cir. 2009)). States “choosing to participate receive
federal funds for state-administered Medicaid services
provided they comply with the requirements of the Medicaid
Act.” Lewis v. N.M. Dep't of Health, 261
F.3d 970, 974 (10th Cir. 2001). The requirements for the
Medicaid Act are found in 42 U.S.C. § 1396 et
seq., and its implementing regulations, 42 C.F.R.
§§ 430 et seq. Id. Subsection (c)(3)(ii)
of § 435.912 provides that the state agency may not take
more than 45 days to determine the eligibility of Medicaid
applicants who apply on any basis other than a disability.
the patient plaintiffs were admitted to a Good Samaritan
facility in Kansas between 2011 and 2016. Each patient
plaintiff requires 24-hour skilled nursing care, and each one
applied for Medicaid in Kansas on non-disability bases. As of
November 21, 2016, defendant had approved Medicaid benefits
for 10 patient plaintiffs, defendant had denied Medicaid
benefits for eight patient plaintiffs, and two cases were
still pending. Doc. 10-1 at 12.One denial, separate from the
eight noted above, resulted in an administrative appeal that
was later withdrawn by the applicant's authorized
assert that defendant failed to make a Medicaid eligibility
determination within 45 days for each of the patient
plaintiffs' applications and thus did not comply with
federal regulation § 435.912(c)(3)(ii). Plaintiffs
assert defendants violated the Americans with Disabilities
Act (“ADA”) by denying benefits to the patient
plaintiffs and unfairly discriminated against plaintiffs on
the basis of their disabilities. And, plaintiffs assert that
defendant violated their Fourteenth Amendment due process and
equal protection rights. Plaintiffs seek the following
relief: “Issuing an Order requiring the defendant [to]
automatically approv[e] the plaintiffs' Medicaid
benefits” (Doc. 1 at 17); (2) “take other such
actions as are proper and necessary to remedy the
defendant's violations and order such equitable relief as
will make Plaintiffs whole for Defendant's unlawful
moves to dismiss the case under Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1), 12(b)(2), and 12(b)(6). Defendant
contends the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the
case, and defendant contends the court's personal
jurisdiction over the case is “questionable.”
Defendant also contends that even if subject matter and
personal jurisdiction exist, plaintiffs have not stated a
claim upon which relief may be granted.
first asked the court for leave to amend the Complaint on
January 9, 2017. Doc. 19. Plaintiffs asked for leave again on
May 25, 2017, before the court had ruled the first Motion to
Amend. Doc. 24. In both motions, plaintiffs complied with D.
Kan. Rule 15.1 and attached their proposed amended complaint
to their motion. Defendant opposes plaintiffs' motions
and asserts that granting plaintiffs leave to amend their
Complaint would be futile. Docs. 22, 26.
Complaint purports to assert four causes of action, but the
court condenses their claims into two causes of action for
two reasons. First, Count I of the Complaint seeks
“declaratory judgment relief” that defendants
violated 42 C.F.R. § 435.912(c)(3) when it failed to
determine the patient plaintiffs' Medicaid eligibility
within 45 days of receiving their application. Plaintiffs
bring this claim under 28 U.S.C. § 2201 and Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 57. But § 2201 and Rule 57 do not
supply “an independent source of federal
jurisdiction.” Schilling v. Rogers, 363 U.S.
666, 677 (1960); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 57
(explaining that Rule 57 governs the procedure for obtaining
a declaratory judgment under § 2201). The
“availability of such [declaratory judgment] relief
presupposes the existence of a judicially remediable
right.” Id. Count I thus does not state an
independent cause of action. Second, Count IV of
plaintiffs' Complaint demands “temporary and
permanent injunctive relief.” Doc. 1 at 16. But Count
IV similarly fails to state an independent cause of action.
Count IV is best characterized as plaintiffs' prayer for
relief. So, this Order and the court's analysis focus on
Counts II and III and whether the claims they assert can
survive defendant's Motion to Dismiss.
the court first would address defendant's jurisdictional
arguments under Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(2). See Arbaugh
v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 506 (2006)
(“Whenever it appears by suggestion of the parties or
otherwise that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject
matter, the court shall dismiss the action.”); see
also Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 472
(1985) (“The Due Process Clause protects an
individual's liberty interest in not being subject to the
binding judgments of a forum” that lacks personal
jurisdiction over him). But defendant's jurisdictional
arguments in its Motion to Dismiss read more like arguments
under 12(b)(6). See Doc. 10-1 at 16-17 (asserting
that plaintiffs have failed to assert facts necessary to
support their ADA and Fourteenth Amendment Claims). So, the
court first determines whether plaintiffs have stated claims
upon which relief can be granted and then addresses any
remaining jurisdictional concerns.
Legal Standard: Motion to Dismiss
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) provides that a complaint
must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Although this Rule “does not require ‘detailed
factual allegations, '” it demands more than
“[a] pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “Under this
standard, ‘the complaint must give the court reason to
believe that this plaintiff has a reasonable
likelihood of mustering factual support for these
claims.'” Carter v. United States, 667
F.Supp.2d 1259, 1262 (D. Kan. 2009) (quoting Ridge at Red
Hawk, LLC v. Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir.
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6)-like this one-the court
assumes that a complaint's factual allegations are true,
but need not accept mere legal conclusions as true.
Id. at 1263. “Threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements” are not enough to state a claim for relief.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In addition to the
complaint's factual allegations, the court also may
consider “attached exhibits and documents incorporated
into the complaint by reference.” Smith v. United
States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1098 (10th Cir. 2009) (citations
Count II: Americans with Disabilities Act
allege defendant violated 42 U.S.C § 12132, the ADA.
Section 12132 provides: “no qualified individual with a
disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded
from participation in or be denied the benefits of the
services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be
subjected to discrimination by any such entity.” 42
U.S.C. § 12132. To state a claim under the ADA, a
plaintiff must allege: “(1) that he is a qualified
individual with a disability; (2) that he was ‘either
excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of some
entity's services, programs, or activities, [ . . .]'
and (3) ‘that such exclusion, denial of benefits, or
discrimination was by reason' of his
disability.'” Villa v. D.O.C. Dep't of
Corrections, 664 F.App'x 731, 734 (10th Cir. 2016)
(quoting J.V. v. Albuquerque Pub. Sch., 813 F.3d
1289, 1295 (10th Cir. 2016)).
have not stated a viable ADA claim. They assert that all
“of the plaintiffs are ‘qualified individuals
with a disability.'” Doc. 1 at 14. And, plaintiffs
describe each plaintiff's disability with some
specificity. Doc. 1 at 3-7. But plaintiffs have not asserted
that they were denied benefits because of their
disability, a required element of an ADA claim. See
Villa, 664 F.App'x at 734 (holding that plaintiff
had not alleged facts sufficient to support a claim under the
ADA merely by asserting that there was “discrimination
against [him] because of [his] disabilities, ” but
otherwise failing to elaborate on this “conclusory
statement”). Plaintiffs merely assert that that they
are disabled and that defendant did not provide them the
benefits that they are entitled to receive under federal law.
Doc. 1 at 12-14. By failing to assert facts to support the
third element of an ADA claim, plaintiffs have failed to
state a claim for which relief can be granted under that Act.
The court thus grants defendant's Motion to Dismiss for
plaintiffs' ADA claim.
Count III: ...