Blossom v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc. et al
ORDER denying 15 Motion to Dismiss; denying 25 Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Chief Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel on 1/17/2023. (anp)
Case 3:22-cv-00361-NJR Document 29 Filed 01/17/23 Page 1 of 4 Page ID #61
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
TAURUS BLOSSOM, individually and
for others similarly situated,
Case No. 22-cv-361-NJR
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC.,
and DR. VIPIN SHAH,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
ROSENSTENGEL, Chief Judge:
This matter is before the Court on a motion to dismiss or to strike or, alternatively,
for more definite statement filed by Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”) (Doc. 15).
Dr. Vipin Shah filed a motion to join Wexford’s motion to dismiss (Doc. 25). Blossom filed
responses to both motions (Docs. 17 and 26). Wexford and Dr. Shah seek to dismiss the
class action claim in the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Alternatively, they argue that the class action allegations should be stricken pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f).
Although Defendants cite to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b) and 12(f) to
dismiss Blossom’s class claims, the Court finds that Defendants’ motions fail under those
standards. Rule 12(b)(6) is to decide the adequacy of the complaint. Gibson v. City of
Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). In order to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss, the complaint must allege enough factual information to “state a claim to relief
Page 1 of 4
Case 3:22-cv-00361-NJR Document 29 Filed 01/17/23 Page 2 of 4 Page ID #62
that is plausible on its face” and “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007). A claim is plausible when the
plaintiff “pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference
that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). A plaintiff need not plead detailed factual allegations, but he or she must provide
“more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555. Rule 12(f), on the other hand, allows the Court to strike any “insufficient
defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.” See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 12(f).
Blossom’s Complaint alleges that Wexford had a policy of refusing to prescribe
Tramadol even when it met the standard of care. This refusal amounted to deliberate
indifference and caused Blossom and “others similarly situated” harm. Although
Blossom does not define the “others similarly situated” in his Complaint, Rule 8 only
requires that the complaint contain a short and plain statement regarding the Court’s
jurisdiction, “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief,” and a demand for relief. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). “Class definitions are not on
that list.” Chapman v. First Index, Inc., 796 F.3d 783, 785 (7th Cir. 2015). Blossom’s
Complaint adequately sets forth a claim for deliberate indifference; thus, a motion to
dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b) is inappropriate at this time. Similarly, the Court finds a
motion to strike under Rule 12(f) is also inappropriate.
Instead, whether a class action may proceed is subject to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 23. Rule 23(c)(1)(A) states that “[a]t an early practicable time after a person
Page 2 of 4
Case 3:22-cv-00361-NJR Document 29 Filed 01/17/23 Page 3 of 4 Page ID #63
sues or is sued as a class representative, the court must determine by order whether to
certify the action as a class action.” It is usually impracticable to make that determination
at the pleading stage—although a motion to strike may be appropriate if the “allegations
are facially and inherently deficient.” See Buonomo v. Optimum Outcomes, Inc., Case No.
13-cv-5274, 301 F.R.D. 292, 295 (N.D. Ill. March 17, 2014); Hill v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.,
946 F. Supp.2d 817, 829 (N.D. Ill. 2013) (“Most often it will not be ‘practicable’ for the
court to [determine class certification] at the pleading stage, but sometimes the complaint
will make it clear that class certification is inappropriate.”); Kasalo v. Harris & Harris, Ltd.,
656 F.3d 557, 563 (7th Cir. 2011) (“a court may deny class certification even before the
plaintiff files a motion requesting certification.”). “A court should only strike class
allegations in ‘exceptional case[s] where it is clear from the complaint that circumstances
warrant a motion to strike class allegations to conserve court and party resources and
where the pleadings make clear that the suit cannot satisfy Rule 23.’” Fairly v. McDonald’s
Corp., Case No. 20-cv-2273, 2021 WL 3054804, at *4 (N.D. Ill. July 20, 2021) (quoting Jones
v. BRG Sports, Inc., Case No. 18 C 7250, 2019 WL 3554374, at *4 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 1, 2019)). If
the dispute is factual in nature and “discovery is needed to determine whether a class
should be certified” then a motion to strike the pleadings is premature. Buonomo, 301
F.R.D. at 295. See also Boatwright v. Walgreen Co., Case No. 10 C 3902, 2011 WL 843898, at
* 2 (N.D. Ill. March 4, 2011) (“a decision denying class status by striking class allegations
at the pleading stage is inappropriate”).
Simply put, the Court finds it premature to determine the issue of class
certification at this stage. Although the Complaint does not set forth any further
Page 3 of 4
Case 3:22-cv-00361-NJR Document 29 Filed 01/17/23 Page 4 of 4 Page ID #64
information about a proposed class, discovery has not yet begun. Discovery into the
allegations will be helpful in determining whether Blossom can set forth an adequate
class definition. See Kasalo, 656 F.3d at 563 (“[The court] need not delay a ruling on class
certification if it thinks that additional discovery would not be useful in resolving the
class determination.”). Without some discovery on the matter, the Court is hesitant to
find that a class action is inappropriate. The Court likewise cannot find at this time that
any proposed class would be duplicative of a class proceeding in Lippert v. Baldwin, Case
No. 10-cv-04063 (N.D. Ill.).
Accordingly, the Court DENIES Defendants’ motions to dismiss (Docs. 15 and 25).
The parties are DIRECTED to meet and confer and prepare a joint discovery schedule. A
scheduling conference will be set by separate notice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: January 17, 2023
NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL
Chief U.S. District Judge
Page 4 of 4
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?