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Adams v. Melnick

United States District Court, D. Rhode Island

February 18, 2015

JERRY ADAMS and CIRA GONZALEZ, Plaintiffs,
v.
SIMON MELNICK, D.O.; RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; ASHBEL T. WALL, Individually and in his official capacity as director of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections; CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS JOHN AND/OR JANE DOE, Alias; JOHN AND/OR JANE DOE, M.D., Alias; JOHN AND/OR JANE DOE, RN, Alias; and JOHN DOE CORPORATION, Alias, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MARY M. LISI, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' motion to amend the complaint. For the reasons stated herein Plaintiffs' motion is denied.

I. Background

This matter was originally filed in Rhode Island Superior Court and removed to this Court. The complaint alleges that Plaintiff Jerry Adams received inadequate medical care from Defendants. Plaintiffs seek to add a new cause of action alleging that Defendant, Simon Melnick, D.O., ("Melnick") committed unprofessional conduct in violation of R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-37-5.1(19). Defendant Melnick objects.

II. Standard of Review

Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2) reflects a liberal amendment policy and provides that a court "should freely give leave when justice so requires." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). "Even so, the district court enjoys significant latitude in deciding whether to grant leave to amend" and the First Circuit "defer[s] to the district court's decision if any adequate reason for the denial is apparent on the record." United States ex rel. Gagne v. City of Worcester, 565 F.3d 40, 48 (1st Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). "Reasons for denying leave include undue delay in filing the motion, bad faith or dilatory motive, repeated failure to cure deficiencies, undue prejudice to the opposing party, and futility of amendment." Id.

III. Analysis

Plaintiffs move to amend the complaint by adding a claim pursuant to the statutory scheme governing the Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline ("Board"). See R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-37-1 et seq. The new count in the proposed amended complaint alleges that Melnick committed unprofessional conduct and thus violated R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-37-5.1(19). R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-37-5.1(19) defines unprofessional conduct as including the:

[i]ncompetant, negligent, or willful misconduct in the practice of medicine which includes the rendering of medically unnecessary services, and any departure from, or the failure to conform to, the minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice in his or her area of expertise as is determined by the [B]oard. The [B]oard need not establish actual injury to the patient in order to adjudge a physician... guilty of the unacceptable medical practice in this subdivision[.]

R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-37-5.1(19).

When a court construes a statute, its role is to "determine and effectuate the Legislature's intent and to attribute to the enactment the meaning most consistent with its policies or obvious purposes." Brennan v. Kirby, 529 A.2d 633, 637 (R.I. 1987). When language of a statute is clear and unambiguous a court must interpret the statute literally and give the words their plain and ordinary meaning. Such v. State, 950 A.2d 1150 (R.I. 2008). A court "shall not interpret a statute to include a matter omitted unless the clear purpose of the legislation would fail without the implication." State v. Feng, 421 A.2d 1258, 1264 (R.I. 1980). "A court's duty is to construe a statue, not to redraft it." Reid v. Citizens Savings Bank/Citizens Trust Co., 887 F.Supp. 43, 46 (D.R.I. 1995). Under Rhode Island law, the task of assigning remedies for statutory rights is a legislative responsibility and not a judicial function. Narragansett Pellet Corp. v. City of East Providence, C.A. No. 06-464-ML, 2007 WL 2821538 (D.R.I. Sept. 25, 2007). When a statute does not plainly provide for a private right of action for damages, such a right cannot be inferred. Id.

The Rhode Island General Assembly has prescribed two enforcement provisions for unprofessional conduct as alleged in the proposed amended complaint.

Violations - Penalties. - Unless another penalty is provided by the laws of this state, any person who violates any provision of this chapter or any rule or regulation adopted under this chapter, shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand ...

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