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Cindy Lee Bach, Deceased, and John v. Idaho State Board of Medicine

January 20, 2012

CINDY LEE BACH, DECEASED, AND JOHN N. BACH, WIDOWER; PLAINTIFFS,
v.
IDAHO STATE BOARD OF MEDICINE, STEVE J. WRIGHT, INDIVIDUALLY AND D/B/A WRIGHT, JOHNSON , TOLSON, AND WAYNE, AGENTS/REPRESENTATIVE OF IDAHO STATE BOARD OF MEDICINE AND TETON VALLEY HEALTH CARE; TETON VALLEY HEALTH CARE; TETON COUNTY IDAHO; TETON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS: LARRY YOUNG, MARK TRUPP, & ALICE STEVENSON, AND LARRY T. CURTIS, M.D.; CHAD ROGER HORROCKS, M.D. & ROBERT ANTHONY WOLFE, M.D.; TETON VALLEY HEALTH CARE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AND CHAIRPERSONS, C.E.O..S C.F.O..S, MANAGERS AND AGENTS: SUSAN KUNTZ, RACHAEL GONZALES,MICHAEL WHITFIELD, MITCH FELCHLE, DAWN FELCHLE, NANCY MCCULLOUGH-MCCOY, ROBERT EMERSON, LANICE MURPHY, GORDIE GILLETTE, CALVIN CAREY, FLOYD BOUNDS, LAURA PIQET, AND ANN LOYOLA; TETON COUNTY IDAHO CORONERS OFFICE, TIMOTHY MELCHER, NATALIE KAUFMAN, AND AGENTS A. FRANCI TRYKA, M.D., AND ALICE NEUMANN, M.D., INDIVIDUALLY AND D/B/A WESTERN WYOMING PATHOLOGY AND ST. JOHNS. MEDICAL CENTER; TETON VALLY HOSPITAL DIRECTOR OF NURSES DEBRA TAYLOR, AND NURSES/AGENTS: MEMORY ALLEN, RENEE COVERT, KRISTEN IRVINE, N. AKA NIKKI RIPPLINGER, KATRINE ST. JEON, AND K. SORENSEN; TETON VALLEY NEWS, PIONEER NEWSPAPERS, LLC, STACY SIMONET, AND MICHAEL POLHAMUS; DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable B. Lynn Winmill Chief U. S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION

INTRODUCTION

The Court has before it motions to dismiss filed by all defendants. The motions are fully briefed and at issue. For the reasons expressed below, the Court will grant the motions and dismiss this action.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff John Bach claims that his wife, Cindy Lee Bach, died after receiving poor medical care by the defendant doctors and nurses. He claims that the poor medical care resulted from financial corruption by those running the county-owned hospital, resulting in a dysfunctional system that harmed patients. His complaint alleges that a broad array of defendants conspired to loot the county's health care system, including Teton County, the Teton County Board of Commissioners, Teton Valley Health Care, and the Teton Valley Health Care Board of Commissioners. Additional alleged conspirators include members of the media and the medical team responsible for the autopsy of Ms. Bach. Bach also challenges the constitutionality of Idaho statutes setting up a pre-litigation screening panel for medical malpractice cases and limiting the liability of governmental entities.

Prior to his wife's passing, Bach alleges that defendant Teton Valley Health Care ("TVHC") "was in dire financial straits." Id. at¶ 8. He alleges that many of the defendants were aware of this situation. Id. at ¶ 8-10. He also asserts that many of the defendants associated with TVHC were engaged in "money dissipations, laundering, and siphoning to past and present board of trustee members, agents, C.E.O, and C.F.O.'s, and members of defendant doctors and family cohorts." Id. at ¶ 9, 11. This allegedly created the "dysfunctional" state of TVHC during the time when his wife was receiving medical care and died there. Id. at ¶ 77.

Bach's wife checked into the hospital on November 5, 2008. Id. at ¶ 17. Defendant Dr. Chad Horrocks "diagnosed [her] with community acquired pneumonia."

Id. Because Ms. Bach's condition appeared to be improving on November 6, Dr. Horrocks planned to release her on November 8. However, at 5 a.m. on November 8, Ms. Bach "was found unresponsive in her bed." Id. at ¶ 32. Defendant Dr. Wolfe's efforts to resuscitate her failed. Id. at ¶ 33-34. Thereafter, the Teton County Coroner, Timothy Melcher sent Ms. Bach's remains to the neighboring town of Jackson, Wyoming for autopsy. Id. at ¶ 36. Bach alleges that this autopsy was performed incorrectly and that Teton County Deputy Coroner, defendant Natalie Kaufman, "issued a misleading Certificate of Death." Id. at ¶ 42.

Bach filed an application for pre-litigation screening with the Idaho State Board of Medicine on May 16, 2009. Id. at ¶ 45. His hearing was held on November 6, 2009. Id. Bach alleges that a conflict of interest existed among board members and that his hearing was terminated prematurely when he responded to the panel saying, "What part of 'no' don't you understand?" Id. at ¶ 49.

Bach's conspiracy theory extends to defendant Teton Valley News ("TVN"), its editor and reporter. TVN published an article titled "Bach Controversy Not Yet Settled," which reported the status of several cases Bach was involved in and noted both that he was a disbarred attorney and that he had a criminal history. Bach alleges that these media defendants "withheld information" from the public about the financial corruption at TVHC, id. at¶ 15, and published "outright falsehoods questioning Mr. Bach's integrity." Id. at ¶ 52.

Bach also alleges that the medical team responsible for Ms. Bach's autopsy was part of the larger conspiracy discussed above. He charges that they filed a false death certificate and "attempted to conceal the cause of Cindy Bach's death by destruction of evidence." Id. at ¶ 82.

IDENTIFICATION OF DEFENDANTS

Bach has sued 42 defendants. The following table organizes the defendants by the roles they allegedly played in Bach's conspiracy allegations.

Table of Defendants

Role Defendants

Treating Physicians 1. Dr. Horrocks;

2. Dr. Wolfe

Nurses 3. Memory Allen;

4. Renee Covert;

5. Kristen Irvine N. a/k/a Nikki Ripplinger;

6. Katrine St. Jeon;

7. K. Sorenson;

8. Debra Taylor

Operation of Teton 9. Teton County (owns Teton Valley Hospital); Valley Hospital 10. Teton County Board of Commissioners;

11. Teton Valley Health Care (TVHC);

12. Alice Stevenson;

13. TVHC Board of Commissioners;

14. Mark Trupp (member TVHC Bd. of Comms.);

15. Larry Young (member TVHC Bd. of Comms.);

16. Michael Whitfield (member TVHC Bd. ...


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