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United States ex rel. Gravett v. Methodist Medical Center of Illinois

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

March 4, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ex rel. ALAN GRAVETT, Petitioner,
v.
THE METHODIST MEDICAL CENTER OF ILLINOIS and COMPREHENSIVE EMERGENCY SOLUTIONS, S.C., Defendants

Page 836

For Alan Gravett, United States of America ex rel., Plaintiff: Devon C Bruce, LEAD ATTORNEY, POWER ROGERS & SMITH PC, Chicago, IL; Nathan J Noble, LEAD ATTORNEY, NATHAN J. NOBLE, P.C., Belvidere, IL; Joel M Huotari, Marc Charles Gravino, WILLIAMS MCCARTHY LLP, Rockford, IL.

For State of Illinois, ex rel. Alan Gravett, Plaintiff: Heather Ann Tullio, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Chicago, IL; Joel M Huotari, WILLIAMS MCCARTHY LLP, Rockford, IL; Patricia S Phillips, ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL, Springfield, IL; Devon C Bruce, POWER ROGERS & SMITH PC, Chicago, IL.

For The Methodist Medical Center of Illinois, Defendant: Gregory Michael Luce, LEAD ATTORNEY, James Charles Buck, SKADDEN ARPS SLATE MEAGHER & FLOM, Washington, DC; Jeffrey Bryan Lang, LANE & WATERMAN LLP, Davenport, IA; R. Ryan Stoll, SKADDEN ARPS SLATE MEAGHER & FLOM, Chicago, IL.

For Comprehensive Emergency Solutions S.C., Defendant: L Lee Smith, LEAD ATTORNEY, HINSHAW & CULBERTSON, Peoria, IL.

For The United States, Interested Party: John E Childress, LEAD ATTORNEY, Eric I Long, U.S. ATTY, Springfield, IL; Joel M Huotari, WILLIAMS MCCARTHY LLP, Rockford, IL; Devon C Bruce, POWER ROGERS & SMITH PC, Chicago, IL.

Page 837

ORDER

James E. Shadid, United States District Judge.

This matter is now before the Court on Defendant, Methodist Medical Center's (" Methodist" ) Motion to Dismiss, and a Motions to Dismiss by Defendant Comprehensive Emergency Solutions (" CES" ). For the reasons set forth below, Methodist's Motion to Dismiss [100] is GRANTED, and CES's Motion to Dismiss [98] is GRANTED.

Page 838

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Dr. Alan Gravett (" Gravett" ), is a former employee of CES. The complaint was initially brought as a qui tam action alleging violations of the False Claims Act and Illinois False Claims Act against Methodist, CES, and three other entities in the Northern District of Illinois in January 2007. The complaint was filed under seal and remained sealed until October 8, 2010, when the government declined to intervene, and Judge Holderman ordered the complaint unsealed and served on the defendants. For some reason, the complaint was not unsealed, and on October 19, 2010, Gravett filed a motion to unseal the complaint, which was not granted until February 7, 2011. By this time, the case had been reassigned to Judge Shadur, who granted an extension of time to serve under Rule 4(m) until July 5, 2011. Requests for waivers of service and a copy of the complaint were served on defendants; only two of the other entities entered their appearances in response to the waivers. Gravett's counsel withdrew, and he was given until August 26, 2011 to retain counsel.

On December 2, 2011, Gravett was given leave to file an amended complaint. The First Amended Complaint was filed on December 16, 2011, naming only Methodist and CES as defendants. Given this change in the parties, the action was transfered to this District in January 2012. Gravett was directed to file an amended complaint under seal, and on March 7, 2012, he filed the Second Amended Complaint under seal. For the next two years, the case remained sealed while the government investigated before ultimately deciding not to intervene in February 2014. On April 23, 2014, Gravett was directed to serve the Defendants, and summonses were formally served on May 5, 2014.

Defendants have moved to dismiss this action for Gravett's failure to establish that he is the original source of the allegations or alternatively for failure to plead fraud with sufficient particularity. Gravett has filed his response, and this Order follows.

LEGAL STANDARD

A complaint must provide a " short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). That statement must be sufficient to provide the defendant with " fair notice" of the claim and its basis. Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). This means that (1) the complaint must describe the claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant " fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests" and (2) its allegations must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a " speculative level." EEOC v. Concentra Health Services, Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Conclusory allegations are " not entitled to be assumed true." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1951-53, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)).

For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the complaint is construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff; its well-pleaded factual allegations are taken as true, and all reasonably-drawn inferences are drawn in favor of the plaintiff. SeeAlbright v. Oliver,510 U.S. 266, 268, 114 S.Ct. 807, 127 L.Ed.2d 114 (1994); Hishon v. King & Spalding,467 U.S. 69, 104 S.Ct. 2229, 81 L.Ed.2d 59 (1984); Lanigan v. Village of East Hazel ...


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