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Ukaegbu v. Tuomey Regional Medical Center

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

July 27, 2016

Nogozi Ukaegbu, Plaintiff,
v.
Tuomey Regional Medical Center, et al., Defendants.

          Ngozi Ukaegbu, Plaintiff, represented by Justin Simon Kahn, Kahn Law Firm, S. Scott Bluestein, Bluestein Law Firm & Wes Baker Allison, Kahn Law Firm.

          Tuomey Regional Medical Center, Defendant, represented by David Cornwell Holler, Lee Erter Wilson James Holler and Smith.

          Tracey D Flemming, Defendant, represented by James D. Nance, Nance McCants and Massey.

          Gregory A Finch, Defendant, represented by James D. Nance, Nance McCants and Massey.

          Midlands Emergency Physicians PA, Defendant, represented by James D. Nance, Nance McCants and Massey.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          MARGARET B. SEYMOUR, Senior District Judge.

         Plaintiff Nogozi Ukaegbu filed the within action on April 29, 2014, against Defendants Tuomey Regional Medical Center ("Tuomey"); Tracey D. Flemming, M.D. ("Flemming"); Gregory A. Finch, P.A. ("Finch"); and Midlands Emergency Physicians, P.A. ("Midlands"). Plaintiff contends that Flemming and Finch were on duty on December 31, 2011, when Plaintiff twice presented at the Tuomey emergency room for "psychiatric problems." Plaintiff alleges Flemming and Finch failed to obtain a psychiatric evaluation to determine the extent of care and treatment required for Plaintiff before discharging him. After he was discharged from the second visit, Plaintiff was struck and severely injured by a vehicle while he walking in the road less than a mile and a half from Tuomey. Plaintiff asserts a claim for medical negligence as to Flemming and Finch; a claim that Midlands is liable for the acts and omissions of Flemming and Finch under the doctrine of respondeat superior; and a claim that Tuomey is liable for the acts and omissions of Flemming and Finch under the doctrine of a nondelegable duty, as well as for the negligence of its nurses and other staff.

         Tuomey filed an answer on May 20, 2014, in which it asserted, among other things:

25. Tuomey asserts the protections of South Carolina Code §33-56-10, et. seq., known as the South Carolina Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, including without limitation, a bar to recovery and/or limitation of liability limits and/or limitation of degree of actionable conduct.

         ECF No. 10.

         In support of its defense, Tuomey filed a motion for judicial notice of 501(c)(3) status, to extend time, and for partial summary judgment filed by Tuomey on March 9, 2016. Tuomey contends that it is a charitable organization under S.C. Code Ann. § 33-56-170[1] because it is exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and therefore entitled to the limits of liability under S.C. Code Ann. § 33-56-180.[2] Plaintiff filed a response in opposition on March 28, 2016. The court held a hearing on June 14, 2016.

         At the hearing, the court observed that Tuomey, although arguing that it is entitled to 501(c)(3) status, failed to provide the court with the "necessary information" to support its claim. See Fed.R.Evid. 201. Accordingly, the court ordered Tuomey to produce documentation demonstrating its 501(c)(3) status. In addition, the court directed the parties to provide additional briefing as to Plaintiff's argument that, even if Tuomey is a charitable organization, it is not entitled to the protections of the South Carolina Tort Claims Act because Flemming and Finch are independent contractors rather than employees of Tuomey.

         DISCUSSION

         A. ...


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