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Ford v. Wallace

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division

June 8, 2015

ANTHONY BUTLER FORD, Plaintiff,
v.
IAN WALLACE, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, Jr., District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the motion of defendant Ian Wallace to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) [Doc. #20]. For the reasons stated below, defendant's motion to dismiss will be granted, and the case will be dismissed.

Background

Plaintiff, Anthony Butler Ford, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights. Named as defendants in his amended complaint[1] are: Corizon Medical Services; Michael Hakala (Doctor); and Ian Wallace (Warden). Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated at Southeast Correction Center ("SECC") brings his claims against defendants in their individual and official capacities.

In his amended complaint for monetary damages, plaintiff asserts that on August 7, 2013, he was assaulted by another inmate in the main walkway by the handball court. Plaintiff claims that this area is not regularly patrolled by officers, and that the area does not have an officer assigned "during movement windows." Plaintiff states that it is a "blind spot" within the institution where inmates are known to attack and that this information is known to defendant Wallace.

Plaintiff claims that after he was attacked, he was removed from his work assignment in the Puppies for Parolees Program and placed in a maximum detention unit during an investigation into the altercation. Plaintiff asserts that he was injured during the attack, and he was initially told that he needed stitches but that because Doctor Hakala was out of the building, he was made to wait until he could arrive. He claims that Doctor Hakala never arrived at the prison to take care of his medical needs, thus, he was provided with butterfly bandages instead of stitches. He asserts that after he was bandaged, defendant Wallace came to see him and told him that he would be "released [from medical] as soon as medically cleared."

Plaintiff claims that after he was released from medical, he was taken to the maximum security unit. He alleges that he had been residing in the maximum security unit for six days when he was taken to a hearing before a committee of persons relating to the incident. He states that he was told at the hearing that the investigation was ongoing. Plaintiff states that the next day he was told by his Functional Unit Manager that he had the choice of be assigned to administrative segregation during the investigative process or being assigned to protective custody, because it was "too hot" to return him to population. Plaintiff states that approximately four days later he was placed in protective custody. Plaintiff asserts that during the month he was in protective custody he asked several times to be placed back into his prior unit so that he could return to his work assignment in the Puppies for Parolees Program. He was told on several occasions that during the investigation he needed to wait to return to his unit.

After being in protective custody for a little more than a month, plaintiff states that he was moved to a new "house" in the general population. He states that he asked to be moved to his prior "house, " or unit, but he was told that the unit was currently full. Several weeks later, when an opening in his old unit came about, plaintiff was moved to that unit. Nonetheless, plaintiff complains that he was not immediately assigned back to the Puppies for Parolees Program. Although plaintiff makes general complaints about his failure to return to this program, he has not included these complaints in his official claims in this case.

Plaintiff makes three actual claims against the three defendants in this lawsuit. He asserts, without any factual information whatsoever, that Corizon has a "policy" of "restricting, if not outright denying, follow-up care ordered by a doctor when such care is expensive." Plaintiff additionally asserts, also in a conclusory manner, that defendant Hakala acted with deliberate indifference when he denied plaintiff follow-up care by failing to provide him with stitches after the attack from another inmate. Plaintiff generally assert that the "butterfly strips" were simply not good medical care. Plaintiff does not state, however, that he suffered any injury from receiving the butterfly strips instead of receiving stitches.

Last, plaintiff asserts that defendant Wallace acted unlawfully in failing to protect him from an assault by another prisoner. It appears that plaintiff's claims against defendant Wallace fall under both the Eighth Amendment and Missouri state law.

The Court reviewed plaintiff's original complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, for frivolousness, maliciousness and for failure to state a claim on December 17, 2014. In the Court's Memorandum and Order issued on that date, plaintiff's claims against Corizon for an alleged "policy" of denying medical care were dismissed as nothing more than an unsupported legal conclusion. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950-51 (2009).

Plaintiff's claim against defendant Hakala for deliberate indifference to his medical needs was also dismissed, as plaintiff's mere disagreement with defendant Hakala's medical opinion of whether or not plaintiff needed stitches could not state an Eighth Amendment claim. See Estate of Rosenberg v. Crandell, 56 F.3d 35, 37 (8th Cir. 1995).[2]

The Court did, however, allow plaintiff's claim for failure to protect against a serious risk of harm against ...


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