United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
MARIA GUADALUPE MARTINEZ, Individually, as a Legal Representative of the Estate of DELFINO GARCIA, and Next Friend of GEMMA GARCIA, a Minor, GRETCHELL GARCIA, a Minor, DELFINO GARCIA, JR., a Minor, and DELIA MACEDO, Next Friend of EMELY PARTICIA GARCIA, Plaintiffs,
DONNIE FOSTER, COMMUNITY EDUCATION CENTERS, INC., JAGDISH A. SHAH, and JOHN DOES #1 THROUGH #35, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
RICHARD A. SCHELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
for consideration the Report and Recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge (the “Report”) in this action
(Dkt. 138), this matter having been heretofore referred to
the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636, containing proposed findings of fact and
recommendations that Defendant Jagdish A. Shah's
(“Dr. Shah”) Amended Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 122)
March 27, 2017, Plaintiffs filed objections to the Report
(see Dkt. 143). The court has made a de
novo review of the objections raised by Plaintiffs and
is of the opinion that the findings and conclusions of the
Magistrate Judge are correct, and the objections are without
merit as to the ultimate findings of the Magistrate Judge.
The court hereby adopts the findings and conclusions of the
Magistrate Judge as the findings and conclusions of this
brought this civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, asserting the rights of Delfino Garcia
(“Garcia”), deceased, a former pretrial detainee
at the Fannin County Jail (“Fannin County”).
Plaintiffs object, primarily, to the Magistrate Judge's
conclusion that Plaintiffs' § 1983 claims against
Dr. Shah are barred by the statute of limitations. Although
Plaintiffs acknowledge that their claims are subject to the
two-year statute of limitations set forth in Texas Civil
Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003, they contend that
since they filed claims against Dr. Shah within two (2) years
of Garcia's death, their claims were timely. See
Dkt. 143 at 3. Under § 16.003(b), a wrongful death cause
of action accrues “on the death of the injured
person.” Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003.
Report clearly explains, however, a § 1983 claim arising
from inadequate medical care resulting in death accrues when
the decedent knew or should have known that he was receiving
inadequate treatment. See Brockman v. Texas Dep't of
Criminal Justice, 397 F.App'x 18, 22 (5th Cir.
2010). In the present case, the Magistrate Judge correctly
determined that Plaintiffs' claims against Dr. Shah
accrued when Garcia knew or had reason to know he was
receiving inadequate treatment. See Dkt. 138 at 8.
In the facts outlined by the Magistrate Judge- which
Plaintiffs do not challenge-Garcia had elevated blood glucose
levels throughout his two-week detention at Fannin County and
repeatedly requested that Dr. Shah prescribe different
medications to lower his blood sugar levels. See
Dkt. 138 at 8. Therefore, Garcia knew, or had reason to know,
the treatment he was receiving from Dr. Shah was inadequate.
Since the last day Dr. Shah treated Garcia was on February 3,
2011, the Magistrate Judge correctly concluded that the
limitations period began to run on February 4, 2011, and
expired two (2) years later on February 5, 2013. Because
Plaintiffs failed to assert their § 1983 claims against
Dr. Shah before this deadline, the claims are subject to
summary dismissal. See Harris v. Hegmann, 198 F.3d
153, 156 (5th Cir. 1999) (“Dismissal is appropriate if
it is clear from the face of the complaint that the claims
asserted are barred by the applicable statute of
also complain that the Report considers the running of
limitations only on the claims on behalf of the Estate under
Texas' survival statute. See Dkt. 143 at 2.
Plaintiffs seem to be arguing that the Magistrate Judge's
recommendation of dismissal should be limited to claims of
the Estate, as opposed to those of the other Plaintiffs.
However, it is readily apparent from the Report that the
Magistrate Judge considered the timeliness of each of
Plaintiff's claims against Dr. Shah, not merely those
claims advanced on behalf of the Estate. Moreover, given that
each of Plaintiff's claims against Dr. Shah arose under
the same statutory provisions and from the same incidents,
the Magistrate Judge's statute of limitations analysis is
applicable to all Plaintiffs. Accordingly, the court finds
that the § 1983 claims advanced by each Plaintiff
against Dr. Shah, in whatever capacity, are time barred, and
Plaintiffs' objection on this ground is overruled.
also object to the Magistrate Judge's analysis of their
standing to sue. They do not object to the Magistrate
Judge's conclusion that, as a personal representative of
the Estate, Plaintiff Maria Martinez (“Martinez”)
had capacity to bring a survival action, but not a wrongful
death action, for the benefit of the Estate. See
Dkt. 138 at 6-7. However, Plaintiffs argue the Magistrate
Judge failed to “consider the effect of Ms.
Martinez's standing and capacity, individually, or as
next friend of decedent Garcia's minor children, to bring
Section 1983 claims under Texas' wrongful death
statute.” Dkt. 143 at 2.
basis for Plaintiffs' objection is unclear, as the
Magistrate Judge expressly noted the court's prior
determination that Martinez has standing to assert §
1983 claims on her own behalf, as Garcia's surviving
spouse. See Dkt. 138 at 5 n. 3 (“Plaintiff
Martinez filed this lawsuit in several different capacities.
Her standing to sue in her individual capacity as
Garcia's wife was the subject of the Court's June 16,
2016, Post-Judgment Order (Dkt. 121).”). Furthermore,
the Report acknowledges Plaintiff Martinez's capacity to
assert a wrongful death claim on behalf of Garcia's minor
children and Plaintiff Delia Macedo's
(“Macedo”) capacity to sue as next friend of
Emely Garcia, even though Dr. Shah's Amended Motion to
Dismiss did not challenge Martinez and Macedo's standing
to sue in these capacities. See Id . Plaintiffs'
objections are, therefore, without merit.
Defendant Jagdish A. Shah's Amended Motion to Dismiss
(Dkt. 122) is GRANTED. The case as to Dr. Shah shall be
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE with ...