Dismissal of claims against drug rehab center.
We were successful in obtaining the dismissal of the plaintiff’s corporate negligence claims against an adult inpatient drug rehabilitation center. The plaintiff filed a complaint under wrongful death and survival acts, alleging that the decedent died of unspecified cardiac dysrhythmia while she was a voluntary inpatient resident at the facility. The complaint included claims of negligence/vicarious liability and corporate negligence. We filed preliminary objections seeking to dismiss the corporate negligence claim against the facility. We argued that the plaintiff’s cause of action for corporate negligence against it must be dismissed with prejudice because the doctrine of corporate negligence, as a matter of law, does not extend to drug and alcohol treatment facilities but, instead, applies only to hospitals, HMOs, nursing homes and professional medical corporations. In response, the plaintiff argued that the preliminary objections should be overruled because she alleged in the complaint that the defendant owed the same duties to the decedent that are owed to patients by hospitals, as set forth in Thompson v. Nason, the seminal corporate negligence case. The court ultimately rejected the plaintiff’s arguments, sustained our preliminary objections, and dismissed the plaintiff’s corporate negligence claim against the defendant, with prejudice.