United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Motion to Remand or, in the
alternative, Motion to Sever and Consolidate or Strike as
Redundant, and Decline Supplemental Jurisdiction Over,
Plaintiff's Illinois State Medical Malpractice Claims
filed by Plaintiff Lisa Vandervelden (Doc. 12). Also pending
is a Motion to Consolidate filed by Defendant Saint Louis
University (SLU) (Doc. 19). For the reasons set forth below,
Vandervelden's motion is denied, and SLU's motion is
Motion to Remand or Alternative Motion to Sever and
Consolidate or Strike
Lisa Vandervelden initially filed this state law medical
malpractice lawsuit against SLU and its agents in the Circuit
Court of St. Clair County, Illinois, in October 2018. On June
21, 2019, SLU filed a third-party complaint against the
United States and its agents in the state court action,
leading the United States to then remove the entire case to
federal court (Doc. 1).
now seeks to remand this case because the United States
failed to file a copy of “all process, pleadings, and
orders served upon such defendant or defendants in such
action.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a). Notably,
Vandervelden argues, the United States failed to file a copy
of SLU's third-party complaint-the basis for federal
removal jurisdiction. Thus, she asserts, the entire case
should be remanded because the pleading failed to demonstrate
how jurisdiction is proper in this Court.
the filing of Plaintiff's motion, however, SLU has filed
an amended third-party complaint, so the record now
adequately reflects the basis for the Court's subject
matter jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Court rejects
Vandervelden's argument that the case should be remanded
due to a procedural shortcoming.
Vandervelden asks the Court to sever SLU's third-party
action against the United States from her medical malpractice
claim against SLU because SLU's contribution claims are
“discrete and separate from” her medical
malpractice claims. She then asks the Court to consolidate
SLU's third-party action against the United States with
3:18-CV-1333-NJR-GCS, to decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over the remaining state court malpractice claim
against SLU, and to remand the state court malpractice claim.
Seventh Circuit has held that a district court may sever
claims under Rule 21 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
creating two separate proceedings, if the two claims are
“discrete and separate.” Gaffney v. Riverboat
Servs. of Indiana, Inc., 451 F.3d 424, 442 (7th Cir.
2006). “In other words, one claim must be capable of
resolution despite the outcome of the other claim.”
the Court cannot say the two claims are “discrete and
separate.” As previously noted by this Court in one of
her related cases, Vandervelden has alleged that SLU
employees deviated from the standard of care while under the
supervision of employees of the United States. Thus,
SLU's third-party action for indemnity and contribution
shares a common question of law or fact with
Vandervelden's medical malpractice claims against SLU and
the United States, making severance improper. See
No. 3:18-cv-1333-NJR-GCS, Doc. 25. Accordingly, the Court
declines to sever SLU's third-party action.
the Court denies Vandervelden's motion to strike
SLU's third-party action as duplicative of its claim
pending in No. 3:18-CV-1333-NJR-GCS. SLU notes that it filed
the third-party complaint in the state court action in order
to preserve its contribution rights under the Illinois
Contribution Act. SLU has further indicated that, if this
case is consolidated with 18-CV-1333, it intends to non-suit
the third-party complaint in that action, as it names
individual physicians who have since been certified as
government employees pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2679.
Accordingly, the Court finds no reason to strike SLU's
third-party action for contribution at this time.
Motion to Consolidate
August 28, 2019, SLU filed a motion to consolidate this case
with No. 18-CV-1333, as both cases involve common questions
of law or fact. Because the same motion filed by SLU has now
been granted in 18-CV-1333, the Motion to Consolidate (Doc.
19) is DENIED as moot.
these reasons, the Motion to Remand or, in the alternative,
Motion to Sever and Consolidate or Strike as Redundant, and
Decline Supplemental Jurisdiction Over, Plaintiff's
Illinois State Medical Malpractice ...