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Woods v. Legend Oaks Healthcare & Rehabilitation

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, San Antonio Division

August 12, 2019



          Xavier Rodriguez United States District Judge

         On this date, the Court considered United States Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Chestney's Report and Recommendation regarding this case, filed June 25, 2019 (docket no. 8), and Plaintiff's objections, filed July 8, 2019 (docket no. 11). After careful consideration, the Court ACCEPTS Magistrate Judge Chestney's recommendation and DISMISSES Plaintiff's claims.


         Plaintiff's Original Complaint names as Defendants Legend Oaks Healthcare & Rehabilitation (“Legend Oaks”), Autumn Winds Living & Rehabilitation (“Autumn Winds”), and Adult Protective Services, New Braunfels (“APS”). Plaintiff Marjorie Woods alleges she is the durable and medical power of attorney for her mother, who is physically and mentally impaired because of a stroke.

         Plaintiff placed her mother in Legend Oaks, a nursing and rehabilitation facility, because she could no longer care for her mother in her compromised condition. Then, Plaintiff alleges that, in January 2019, Plaintiff's sister removed Plaintiff's mother from Legend Oaks and placed her in another facility, Defendant Autumn Winds. Plaintiff alleges she did not authorize this move.

         Since the move, Plaintiff alleges she cannot get information on her mother's condition or communicate with her. On April 19, 2019, Plaintiff alleges she tried to visit Autumn Winds with two police officers and a friend of her mother's. She alleges Autumn Winds questioned the authenticity of Plaintiff's power of attorney documents and did not allow Plaintiff to see her mother. Plaintiff also learned Defendant APS is investigating her for exploitation and for using her mother's funds for her own benefit. Plaintiff alleges Legend Oaks and Autumn Winds are holding her mother against her will to get her mother's Social Security payments and she alleges her sister is acting as power of attorney without legal authority.

         Plaintiff's original complaint brought claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), Medicare Act, and False Claims Act, and brought state law claims of kidnapping and slander or defamation. Magistrate Judge Chestney ordered Plaintiff to submit a more definite statement, which noted legal deficiencies with Plaintiff's claims under the ADA, Medicare Act, and False Claims Act. The More Definite Statement Plaintiff filed states she no longer intends to pursue her Medicare Act claim, but it reasserts her remaining claims. The More Definite Statement also adds another defendant, Bank of America Financial Center, which Plaintiff alleges has terminated Plaintiff's right to access her mother's bank account in violation of the power of attorney documents. Plaintiff also states that she is bringing all claims on behalf of her mother, Linda Faye Woods, based on her legal status as durable power of attorney.

         In her Report and Recommendations, Magistrate Judge Chestney notes that some Defendants are Texas citizens, as is Plaintiff, so there is not diversity of citizenship. Further, Magistrate Judge Chestney concludes that Plaintiff does not state a viable ADA or False Claims Act claim, and accordingly recommends dismissal of this case.


         I. Legal Standard

         Any Report or Recommendation issued by a Magistrate Judge that is properly objected to requires de novo review. See U.S.C. 636(b)(1) (“A judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.”). Such a review means the Court will examine the entire record and make an independent assessment of the law. The Court need not, however, conduct a de novo review when the objections are frivolous, conclusive, or general in nature. Battle v. United States Parole Comm'n, 834 F.2d 419, 421 (5th Cir. 1987). Additionally, “[p]arties filing objections must specifically identify those findings objected to.” Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404, 410 n.8 (5th Cir. 1982).

         As provided by Rule 72(b), Plaintiff had 14 days to file specific written objection to the Report and Recommendation. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). Plaintiff timely filed her objections. Plaintiff's objections are generally non-responsive to the Report and Recommendation, but in an abundance of caution the Court will conduct a de novo review.

         II. Analysis

         As an initial matter, it is not disputed that Plaintiff and at least some Defendants are Texas citizens, which destroys diversity of citizenship. For this Court to have jurisdiction, then, Plaintiff must state at least one viable federal claim. The only ...

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