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Tartt v. Magna Health Systems

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

November 7, 2016

DERRICK TARTT, Plaintiff,
v.
MAGNA HEALTH SYSTEMS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ROBERT M. DOW, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court are pro se Plaintiff Derrick Tartt's 47-page Fourth Amended Complaint [200], with an additional 914 pages of supporting exhibits [210, 211, 212]; motion to submit evidence in support of amended complaint [209]; motion for an “overview” of the case [214]; motion for injunctive relief [219]; and motion to correct military commission, receive benefits of employment and compensation from the U.S. Army [222]. The Court grants Plaintiff's motion to submit evidence in support of amended complaint [209] and motion for an “overview” of the case [214] and has considered the supporting exhibits [210], [211], and [212]. For the reasons stated below, the Court on its own motion dismisses with prejudice all of Plaintiff's claims in his Fourth Amended Complaint [200]. Plaintiff's motions [219] and [222] are denied. The Court will issue a final judgment and close the case.

         I. Background

         In his Fourth Amended Complaint [200], Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se in this action, states that he is an African American anesthesiologist and military officer. Plaintiff alleges that the approximately 50 named Defendants[1] discriminated against him as part of a “conspiracy involving virtually every discriminatory statute or law including the Constitution and intent of Congress, [and] precedent of the Supreme Court[.]” [210, at i.] Plaintiff contends that all claims arise out of a contract that he entered into with Defendant the United States Army, Early Commission ROTC Program in August 1978. [200, at ¶¶ 8, 9.] According to Plaintiff, his ROTC officer commission was improperly delayed from 1980 to 1982, “thus denying benefits of employment - pension, rank and retirement.” [200, at ¶ 24.] Plaintiff seeks a myriad of damages, including:

A) back pay for Reserve duties from May 1980 until present; B) promotion for 35 years of service; C) qualified retirement. D) willful liquidated damages in accordance USERRA, for discrimination, conspiracy and negligence. E) reinstatement in employment position/rank entitled. F) rescission of fraudulent agreement, 1997 contract or agreement for breach of contract, G) correction of commission to May 1, 1980, H) recover of Home at 1848 N Sayre Ave., Chicago, IL 60707, I) punitive damages to punish or deter the misconduct, J) sanction Judges Norgle, Clerk and Darrah, K) sanction attorneys Hucker and Brohman perjury and filing false claims, L) attorney fees 14 million for prior frivolous litigation, M) appointment of litigation counsel, N) damages for Civil Rights violations, O) sanctions for malpractice and liability, plaintiff's attorneys Nagelberg, Bridgeforth, Childs, Jr., Meshiah, Herrick, and Bruzgul, P) all defendants equally liable in the conspiracy to deny benefits of employment and Q) cease and desist order or injunction prohibiting torture and violation of plaintiff's constitutional rights by the USA or any defendant or anyone acting on their behave, R) set a briefing schedule so the truth can be litigated not the fabricated, frivolous truth. S) any other award deem appropriate by this court.

[200, at ¶ 407 (emphasis and errors in original).] Plaintiff has also filed a separate motion for injunctive relief, requesting “issuing or hearing and discovery on the merits to prevent the continued use of torture, abuse, enhancement and psychotronic [sic] techniques, denial of control [sic] substance and medical license and other illegal action[s] in violation of the U.S. Constitution, federal and state laws by Magna Health Systems et. al. [sic] against Derrick B. Tartt[.]” [219, at ¶ 1.] Finally, Plaintiff has filed a “motion to correct military commission, receive benefits of employment and compensation from the U.S. [sic] Army.” [222.]

         On August 19, 2014, the Court dismissed the claims in Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint [123], [2] some with prejudice and some without prejudice, and stated that Plaintiff would be granted one final opportunity to file a complaint that states his remaining claims in compliance with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(a) and 11. [158, at 2.] Plaintiff has since filed a Third Amended Complaint [186] on October 14, 2015, corrections to this Third Amended Complaint on November 12, 2015 [192], and a Fourth Amended Complaint [200] on April 20, 2016. On May 12, 2016, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion [203] for leave to file an amended complaint. [207.] Thus, the Fourth Amended Complaint [200] is the operative complaint currently before the Court.

         II. Discussion

         A. Plaintiff's Fourth Amended Complaint

         In the interest of judicial economy, the Court has undertaken a preliminary review of the allegations in Plaintiff's Fourth Amended Complaint. “[W]hen the existence of a valid affirmative defense is so plain from the face of the complaint that the suit can be regarded as frivolous, the district judge need not wait for an answer before dismissing the suit.” Walker v. Thompson, 288 F.3d 1005, 1009 (7th Cir. 2002) (citations omitted); see also Gleash v. Yuswak, 308 F.3d 760-61 (7th Cir. 2002) (“Under the circumstances there was no point to serving the defendants with process, forcing them to engage counsel, and then waiting for the inevitable motion to dismiss * * * . It was sensible to stop the suit immediately, saving time and money for everyone concerned.”). The Court will address Plaintiff's claims to the extent possible, given the prolixity and occasional unintelligibility of the amended complaint and supporting exhibits. See United States ex rel. Garst v. Lockheed-Martin Corp., 328 F.3d 374, 378 (7th Cir. 2003) (“Rule 8(a) requires parties to make their pleadings straightforward, so that judges and adverse parties need not try to fish a gold coin from a bucket of mud.”). Although a district court is “not authorized to dismiss a complaint merely because it contains repetitious and irrelevant matter, * * * dismissal of a complaint on the ground that it is unintelligible is unexceptional.” Id. (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). Here, the Court dismisses all claims with prejudice for the reasons discussed below.

         1. Northwest Suburban Anesthesiologists & Northwest Community Hospital

         In his Fourth Amended Complaint, Plaintiff brings claims against Defendant Northwest Suburban Anesthesiologists (“NSA”) and Defendant Northwest Community Hospital (“the Hospital”) for violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994, 38 U.S.C. §§ 4301-4333 (“USERRA”), civil rights violations, fraud, conspiracy, and breach of contract, among other allegations, all arising from the delay of his commission and the alleged injustices he endured as a result of the delay. [See, e.g., 200, at ¶¶ 32, 36-37, 41, 43-51, 54-57, 60, 62, 65, 70, 88-90, 232-260, 304, 314, 319, 325, 361-62.] However, the Court previously dismissed with prejudice all claims against NSA and the Hospital and terminated these Defendants from Plaintiff's lawsuit.[3] [158, at 1.]

         As the Court previously explained in dismissing Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff's claims against NSA and the Hospital are barred by res judicata because all of Plaintiff's claims against these Defendants arise out of the same constellation of facts that were addressed in Plaintiff's previous lawsuits. [158, at 4-6.] “Res judicata, or claim preclusion, bars any claims that were litigated or could have been litigated in a previous action when three requirements are met: (1) an identity of the causes of action; (2) an identity of the parties or their privies; and (3) a final judgment on the merits.” Bell v. Taylor, 827 F.3d 699, 706 (7th Cir. 2016) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). All three of these criteria are met here.

         As Plaintiff acknowledges in his Fourth Amended Complaint, he filed two lawsuits in December 2000 seeking relief under the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994, 38 U.S.C. §§ 4301-4333 (“USERRA”), and Title VII after NSA terminated Plaintiff's employment and Plaintiff lost his staff privileges at the Hospital. [200, at ¶¶ 88-90]; see also Tartt v. Nw. Cmty. Hosp., 453 F.3d 817, 819 (7th Cir. 2006). The claims raised by these two suits were identical, although the first named only NSA as a defendant and the second named both NSA and the Hospital as defendants. Tartt, 453 F.3d at 819. Plaintiff alleged that “he entered into an employment agreement with NSA in 1993; he entered the military in 1994 and took a leave of absence from NSA; upon his return to NSA he was coerced into signing an amended employment agreement; the amended agreement denied him of retirement benefits, stock ownership, promotions, salary, training, and vacation.” Id. at 822. All of the claims that Plaintiff alleged against the Hospital arose from his employment with NSA, which was “the exclusive provider of anesthesiology at the Hospital.” Id. at 823. Judge Norgle dismissed the first case on the merits and dismissed the second case on res judicata grounds. See id. at 820-21. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Id. at 823.

         Thus, Plaintiff's claims have been adjudicated to a final judgment on the merits. Additionally, the claims asserted against NSA and the Hospital in the instant case are the same as those asserted in Plaintiff's prior cases. “Two claims are one for purposes of res judicata if they are based on the same, or nearly the same, factual allegations.” Czarniecki v. City of Chicago, 633 F.3d 545, 550 (7th Cir. 2011) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). All of Plaintiff's claims against NSA and the Hospital-in both his previous lawsuits and in this present litigation-arise out of Plaintiff's termination from NSA and loss of privileges at the Hospital. Even if Plaintiff seeks relief under different legal theories, res judicata prevents the relitigation of claims already litigated as well as those that could have been litigated but were not. Palka v. City of Chicago, 662 F.3d 428, 437 (7th Cir. 2011). Finally, the parties are identical: Plaintiff sought relief from NSA and the Hospital in 2000 and seeks relief from these same entities here. [158, at 6.] For these reasons, all claims against NSA and the Hospital are dismissed with prejudice.

         2. Individual Defendants Associated with NSA or the Hospital: Defendants Dr. Phil Williams, Dr. Robert Bartolone, Dr. Trever DeSilva, Dr. Michael Marx, Dr. Cynthia Valukas, Dr. Manoharial Awatrimani, Dr. Andershak, Dr. Bruce Crowthers and Dr. Donald Pochyly

         Plaintiff also asserts the following allegations against various doctors whom he alleges or implies are associated with NSA or the Hospital.[4] He contends that Defendants Dr. Phil Williams and Dr. Robert Bartolone are military officers and that, along with Defendant Dr. Trever DeSilva, they “torture[d], abuse[d], [and] exposed to agents to attempt to cause Plaintiff to resign from employment between December 9, 1996 and November 30, 2000.” [200, at ¶¶ 66-67; see also ¶¶ 258, 307; 210, at 22-23.] Plaintiff further contends that in January 1997, Defendants Dr. Bartolone, Dr. Williams, Dr. Michael Marx, Dr. Cynthia Valukas, Dr. Trever DeSilva, and Dr. Manoharial Awatrimani willfully denied Plaintiff benefits of employment in violation of USERRA and violated his civil rights, and Dr. Williams and Dr. Bartolone “used cruel and unusual punishment to violate Plaintiff's U.S. Constitutional rights to deny benefits of employment.” [200, at ¶¶ 258, 307, 331.] Defendant Dr. Awatrimani allegedly used his position as Chair of the Hospital's Anesthesia Department to deny benefits of employment. [200, at ¶ 68.]

         Further, Plaintiff alleges that in 2008, Defendant Dr. Andershak, a military officer, willfully conspired to implant a foreign device to torture and abuse Plaintiff and conspired to deny Plaintiff's constitutional rights. [200, at ¶¶ 332-33, 350.]

         Additionally, Defendants Dr. Bruce Crowthers and Dr. Donald Pochyly allegedly conspired with the Hospital, Attorney Brian Hucker, and McDermott, Will & Emery[5] law firm to violate USERRA, discriminated to deny benefits of employment, committed fraud, filed false claims, and committed perjury. [200, at ¶¶ 27-28.] Defendants Dr. Pochyly and Dr. Crowthers used their positions as vice president and president of the Hospital to deny benefits of employment and violate Plaintiff's civil rights. [200, at ¶ 69, 308.] Defendants Dr. Crowthers and the Hospital failed to provide Plaintiff the right to practice between August 15, 1994 and December 9, 1996, and Defendants Dr. Pochyly and the Hospital fraudulently denied promotion on December 9, 1996. [200, at ¶¶ 236-37.]

         In the Court's previous opinion [158], the Court gave Plaintiff, who has a post-graduate education, “one final opportunity to file a complaint that states his remaining claims in compliance with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(a) and 11.” [158, at 2-3.] Despite multiple opportunities to do so, Plaintiff still fails to state a claim for relief. To avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must first comply with Rule 8(a) by providing “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), such that the defendant is given “fair notice of what the * * * claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)) (alteration in original). Second, the factual allegations in the complaint must be sufficient to raise the possibility of relief above the “speculative level.” E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th ...


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