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Ibrahim v. Murfreesboro Medical Clinic Surgi Center

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

October 17, 2014

SHEMEKA METIN IBRAHIM
v.
MURFREESBORO MEDICAL CLINIC SURGI CENTER, ET AL.

Assigned on Briefs September 03, 2014

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Rutherford County No. 65489 Royce Taylor, Judge

Shemeka Metin Ibrahim, Pro Se.

Phillip North and Renee Levay Stewart, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Murfreesboro Medical Surgi Center, Andrew H. Ford, M.D., Karen W. Butler, Reita Agarwal, M.D., Sangeetha McCollum, and Good Health Associates, PLLC.

Arnold B. Goldin, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Kenny W. Armstrong, J., joined.

OPINION

ARNOLD B. GOLDIN, JUDGE

This appeal arises from the sua sponte dismissal of Plaintiff's action for failure to state a claim by the Circuit Court for Rutherford County. Plaintiff/Appellant Shemeka Ibrahim ("Ms. Ibrahim"), proceeding pro se, [1] commenced this lawsuit on October 23, 2012, by filing a sixty-page initial complaint styled "Motions for Medical Negligent & Medical Malpractice Complaint with State of Limitations Continuum of Care Doctrine." Shortly thereafter, on November 7, 2012, Ms. Ibrahim filed an amended pleading styled "First Amended Motions for Medical Negligent & Medical Malpractice Complaint with State of Limitations Continuum of Care Doctrine." In her sixty-four page amended complaint (hereinafter, "complaint"), Ms. Ibrahim asserted numerous allegations of wrong-doing on the part of a number of individuals and entities.[2]

In December 2012, Stephanie Hatchett and Joseph Peay filed motions to quash summonses served on them, asserting that they were not proper parties to the action. Named Defendants Murfreesboro Medical Clinic and Andrew Hunter Ford, M.D., ("Dr. Ford") filed a motion for more definite statement and motion to strike. On January 2, 2013, Jennifer Wilson, Betty Rose, and Karen Butler joined in the motion for more definite statement and motion to strike. On January 10 and 15, 2013, Ms. Ibrahim filed identical motions seeking to continue the matter in light of her medical ailments and in order to allow her to retain legal counsel. Ms. Ibrahim asserted in her motions that she was diagnosed with a "[j]aw bone tumor, " was in pain, and needed time to "rest" to recuperate. On January 15, Ms. Ibrahim also filed a pleading styled "Amended Motion for Correction of Heading & to Substitute the First Page of the Complaint." In her motion to correct, Ms. Ibrahim named "Murfreesboro Medical Clinic Surgi Clinic PA & Dr. Andrew Hunter Ford et al[, ] Karen W. Butler[, ] Betty Rose[, ] Jennifer Wilson[, ] and Good Health Associates[, ] Sangeetha (spelling) McCollum (spelling)[, ] & Dr. Reita Agarwal" as Defendants. She also reiterated her request for a "delay" to allow "her lawyer when she get[s] one" to make corrections.

The motions to quash and motions for a more definite statement and to strike were heard by the trial court on January 16, 2013. At the hearing, Ms. Ibrahim agreed that Joseph Peay and Stephanie Hatchett were not proper Defendants. By order entered January 24, 2013, the trial court sua sponte dismissed Ms. Ibrahim's action without prejudice. In its order, the trial court stated that it found Ms. Ibrahim's complaint "devoid of sufficient facts to state a claim for which relief can be granted." The trial court further stated that Ms. Ibrahim's complaint was "woefully deficient" in light of the pleading standards contained in Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 9, and was "incapable of being cured by an amendment." The trial court also concluded that Ms. Ibrahim had failed to comply with the notice requirements contained in Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-121 and the certificate of good faith requirements contained in Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-122. Upon dismissing Ms. Ibrahim's action, the trial court denied her motion for a continuance and for an extension of time to obtain legal counsel as moot. Ms. Ibrahim filed a timely notice of appeal. The matter was assigned on briefs to the Western Section of this Court on September 3, 2014.

ISSUES PRESENTED

The issues raised by Ms. Ibrahim on appeal, as we perceive and reword them, are:
1.Whether the trial court erred by dismissing Ms. Ibrahim's action sua sponte for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted.
2. Whether the trial court erred by denying Ms. Ibrahim's motion for a continuance and motion for extension of ...

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