Please E-mail suggested additions, comments and/or corrections to Kent@MoreLaw.Com.

Help support the publication of case reports on MoreLaw

Date: 04-15-2024

Case Style:

Calvin Norman v. Oasis Healthcare Partners, L.L.C., et al.

Case Number: 3:20-cv-03022

Judge: Sam A. Lindsay

Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Dallas County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: Jacob Nelson Runyon, Curtis Elver Clinesmith, Dawn Marie Smith, and Paul James Downey

Defendant's Attorney: Chastiti Nycole Horne, Jeffrey M. Heyman, Joshua Anderson, and William D. Taylor

Description: Dallas, Texas personal injury lawyers represented the Plaintiff who sued on a medical malpractice negligence theory.

This case was filed in the 101st District Court, Dallas County, TX, DC-20-11332, and was removed to federal court by Oasis Healthcare Partners, L.L.C., et al.

Ella Norman died on April 11, 2020-after contracting COVID-19 at Skyline Nursing Center, a skilled nursing facility owned and operated by Defendants. Orig. Pet. 3-5 (ECF No. 1-1); Am. Answer 2-3 (ECF No. 34). Ms. Norman's son, Plaintiff Calvin Norman, filed this wrongful death and survival action in Texas state court, asserting claims against Defendants for (i) medical negligence, (ii) corporate negligence, and (iii) gross negligence. Orig. Pet. 5-12. He seeks damages resulting from any alleged breach of duty or undercapitalization of Skyline that proximately caused Ms. Norman's injuries. Orig. Pet. 12.

In his petition, Plaintiff alleges that his mother lived at Skyline for approximately five years. Orig. Pet. 3. Ms. Norman suffered from a variety of physical and mental conditions, including:

[A]bnormalities of gait and mobility[;] schizoaffective disorders[;] essential primary hypertension[;] chronic kidney disease, stage 3[;] major depressive disorder, recurrent, unspecified[;] unsteadiness on feet, unspecified lack of coordination, muscle wasting and atrophy, not elsewhere classified[;] unspecified asthma, uncomplicated[;] Alzheimer's disease, unspecified[;] localized osteoporosis[;] tremor, unspecified[;] muscle weakness generalized[;] unspecified dementia without behavioral disturbance[;] bradycardia unspecified[;] difficulty in walking[;] and dysphagia, oropharyngeal phase.

Orig. Pet. 3. Defendants allegedly represented to Plaintiff that Skyline “was able, knowledgeable, and sufficiently staffed to adequately care for [Ms. Norman] and her conditions,” particularly in relation to the “increased risk and susceptibility to viruses created by [her] conditions.” Orig. Pet. 3. And Plaintiff alleges he relied on Defendants' representations in choosing Skyline to care for Ms. Norman. Orig. Pet. 3.

On March 13, 2020, Plaintiff called Skyline to speak with his mother, but he was unable to reach her. Orig. Pet. 4. The next day, Plaintiff contacted reception, where he was informed by a nurse that she could not reach Ms. Norman because the hallway was blocked, and that he would have to speak to the Skyline director about seeing his mother. Orig. Pet. 4-5. After speaking with the director, Plaintiff learned that Ms. Norman had been moved to Methodist hospital because she had a fever that had persisted for more than four days. Orig. Pet. 5. On April 7, 2020, Ms. Norman was placed on a ventilator due to organ failure caused by COVID-19. Orig. Pet. 5. Four days later, she passed away. Orig. Pet. 5.

On August 14, 2020, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit; and on October 1, 2020, Defendants filed their Answer denying all claims and removed the case to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Notice Removal 1-4 (ECF No. 1); Notice Removal, Ex. B, at 4 (ECF No. 1-2).

Ten months later-on June 14, 2021, the Texas Legislature enacted the Pandemic Liability Protection Act (PLPA). The PLPA added new provisions to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code that included new elements required for, and defenses to, claims relating to pandemic diseases. Act of June 14, 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., ch. 528, 2021 Tex. Gen. Laws, S.B. 6, § 2. Among other things, the PLPA added section 74.155 to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code which shields health care providers from liability for their negligence-but not their “reckless conduct” or “intentional, wilful, or wanton misconduct”-resulting in injuries or death arising from their care, treatment, or failure to provide care or treatment, related to a “pandemic disease.” Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 74.155(b). These provisions applied to “an action commenced on or after March 13, 2020, for which a judgment has not become final before the effective date of this Act.” Act of June 14, 2021, supra § 5.

Thereafter, Defendants sought, and were granted, leave to amend their Answer. Mot. Leave (ECF No. 32); Order 1 (ECF No. 33). Defendants' Amended Answer included the newly available defense under section 74.155 of the PLPA. Am. Answer 11-13 (ECF No. 34).

Defendants now move for judgment on the pleadings. Mot. J. Pleadings (ECF No. 35). They argue that the PLPA bars all of Plaintiff's claims against them. Specifically, Defendants contend Plaintiff's negligence claims, as alleged, fall squarely within the scope of section 74.155, and Plaintiff has not sufficiently alleged reckless, intentional, willful, or wanton misconduct. Mot. J. Pleadings 5-11. Plaintiff filed his Response, Resp. (ECF No. 38), and Defendants filed their Reply.

In Texas, medical malpractice suits can be filed for “treatment, lack of treatment or other claimed departure from accepted standards of medical care” that result in injury or death to the patient. [1] Remember, it must be proven that this harm resulted from the healthcare professional's negligence.

"Grounded in our mission, vision and values

Through their work and firsthand experiences in healthcare, Brian and Kari see an opportunity to address the health equity challenges of seniors in rural communities.

Forming Oasis is a way to partner with great providers and enable them to spend more of their time focused on providing care for the patients who need it most."

"Meet Brian Mathis, co-founder and chief executive officer of Oasis Health Partners. Prior to Oasis, Brian served as chief strategy officer at Sevita, the largest provider of home and community-based healthcare in the U.S., and Optum Care, the country’s largest risk bearing physician organization. In these roles, Brian had the opportunity to help build an integrated care offering for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and enable thousands of physicians to advance in value-based care. He saw firsthand some of the most striking challenges to achieving health equity in this country, most of which tie directly to access to great preventative care. Brian believes there are heroes in communities across America making this possible every day for some and is eager to help more people access the care they deserve.
Meet Our President
Kari Severson Snaza

Meet Kari Severson Snaza, co-founder and president of Oasis Health Partners. Kari’s family roots are proudly planted in rural communities across the Midwest. Growing up, she saw the vast inequities in care between small towns and big cities. These formative personal experiences inspired her to devote her career to healthcare. Throughout her career, Kari has had the opportunity to work in value-based primary care with health systems and health plans across the U.S. and abroad. Most recently, she served as the chief strategy officer for Mayo Clinic, following a fifteen-year career at UnitedHealth Group. Her journey has taught her what great care looks like and what opportunities remain. Looking forward, Kari is motivated to make healthcare more resilient, patient-centered and sustainable."

Outcome: 01/22/2024 72 ORDER: The parties are directed to file a stipulation or notice of dismissal or agreed motion to dismiss with the United States District Clerks Office by 2/20/2024. (Ordered by Judge Sam A. Lindsay on 1/22/2024) (sxf) (Entered: 01/22/2024)
02/20/2024 73 Agreed MOTION to Dismiss With Prejudice filed by Dallas Texas Healthcare LLC, Oasis Healthcare Partners LLC (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order) (Horne, Chastiti) (Entered: 02/20/2024)
02/21/2024 74 ORDER granting 73 Motion to Dismiss. (Ordered by Judge Sam A. Lindsay on 2/21/2024) (agc) (Entered: 02/22/2024)

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:


Find a Lawyer


Find a Case