United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MICHAEL E. BEATTY, M.D., d/b/a THE SOUTHWESTERN ILLINOIS PLASTIC & HAND SURGERY ASSOCIATES, individually and as the Representative of a class of similarly situated persons, Plaintiff,
ACCIDENT FUND GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Omnibus Partial
Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint Based on the
Statute of Limitations (Doc. 296),  the motions for summary
judgment filed by Country Mutual Insurance Company (Doc.
302), Federated Mutual Insurance Company (Doc. 356), Cannon
Cochran Management Services, Inc. (Doc. 367), and the motions
to deny or defer considering those motions for summary
judgment under Rule 56(d) filed by Plaintiff Michael Beatty,
M.D. (Docs. 343, 385, 391). For the reasons set forth below,
the motion to dismiss and the motions for summary judgment
are denied, while Beatty's motions to deny or defer
consideration of the motions for summary judgment under Rule
56(d) are granted.
Michael Beatty, M.D., filed this putative class action
pursuant to the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive
Business Practices Act (ICFA), 815 Ill. Comp. Stat. §
505, alleging Defendants have failed to pay statutory
interest on unpaid medical bills owed to Illinois physicians
who render services to patients covered under the Illinois
Workers' Compensation Act. In part, Beatty claims
Defendants-since 2006-have fraudulently concealed their
failure to pay statutory interest to prevent him and other
health care providers from discovering the existence, nature,
or extent of their injuries, who caused the injuries, or that
the injuries were wrongfully caused (Doc. 284 at ¶¶
119-125). As a result, he contends, the three-year statute of
limitations imposed by the ICFA has been tolled or has not
begun to run (Id. at ¶ 191).
2018, the Court granted, in part, Defendants' first
motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations because
Beatty failed to plead his fraudulent concealment claim with
the level of particularity required by Rule 9(b) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Doc. 269). The Court noted
that when a plaintiff seeks tolling of the statute of
limitations, the complaint must state what the fraud actually
was and when the plaintiff discovered it, “so that the
Court may evaluate whether he could have discovered it
through the exercise of due diligence.” (Id.)
Furthermore, the complaint must “inform each defendant
of the nature of his alleged participation in the
fraud.” (Id.). Beatty's complaint,
however, lumped all Defendants' actions together and
failed to explain how any specific Defendant engaged in
allegedly fraudulent activities or when the fraudulent
actions occurred. Although the Court found these deficiencies
required dismissal of the fraudulent concealment claims, it
granted Beatty leave to amend his complaint.
August 2, 2018, Beatty filed his Second Amended Complaint
(Doc. 278). Defendants again jointly move for partial
dismissal of the complaint, arguing Beatty has not-and
cannot-plead fraud with particularity. Certain Defendants
also have moved for summary judgment on the claims against
them on the basis of the statute of limitations.
Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) is meant to “test the sufficiency of the
complaint, not to decide the merits” of the case.
Gibson v. City of Chi., 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th
Cir. 1990) (citation omitted). In evaluating a motion to
dismiss, the Court must accept all well-pleaded allegations
in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences
in the plaintiff's favor. Cole v. Milwaukee Area
Tech. Coll. Dist., 634 F.3d 901, 903 (7th Cir. 2011);
Thompson v. Ill. Dep't. of Prof'l
Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002).
Beatty has alleged that the statute of limitations is tolled
by Defendants' fraudulent concealment, his complaint is
subject to the heightened pleading standards of Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 9(b). Squires-Cannon v. Forest Pres.
Dist. of Cook Cty., 897 F.3d 797, 805 (7th Cir. 2018).
Under that rule, a pleading “must state with
particularity the circumstances constituting fraud or
mistake.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(b). Pleading with
“particularity” means to describe the “who,
what, when, where, and how” of the fraud. Pirelli
Armstrong Tire Corp. Retiree Med. Benefits Tr. v. Walgreen
Co., 631 F.3d 436, 441-42 (7th Cir. 2011).
“Heightened pleading in the fraud context is required
in part because of the potential stigmatic injury that comes
with alleging fraud and the concomitant desire to ensure that
such fraught allegations are not lightly leveled.”
Id. at 442.
Motions for Summary Judgment
judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Spurling v. C & M Fine Pack, Inc., 739 F.3d
1055, 1060 (7th Cir. 2014) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)). Once
the moving party has set forth the basis for summary
judgment, the burden then shifts to the nonmoving party who
must go beyond mere allegations and offer specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue of fact for trial.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 232-24 (1986). The nonmoving party must offer
more than “[c]onclusory allegations, unsupported by
specific facts, ” to establish a genuine issue of
material fact. Payne v. Pauley, 337 F.3d 767, 773
(7th Cir. 2003) (citing Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife
Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990)).
56(d) allows a nonmoving party to submit an affidavit or
declaration requesting the court to defer considering or deny
a summary judgment motion “in order to allow for
appropriate discovery to address matters raised by the
[summary judgment] motion. Spie ...