United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Earl Byington, Ronald Helms, and James Rodgers move to
dismiss this action under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. Defendant Rachael Roessler separately
moves for summary judgment under Rule 56. After reviewing the
motions and all other relevant matters, the Court finds that
plaintiff’s claims against defendants Byington and
Roessler should be dismissed.
brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants
Byington, Helms, and Rodgers are correctional officers at the
Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center.
Roessler is a nurse there, and she works for Corizon, Inc.
alleges that while defendants Rodgers and Helms were applying
wrist restraints to him, he asked them why he was
“being cuffed up.” He says that Helms then
slammed his head into the concrete wall and that Rodgers
punched him several times. He also says he was kneed in the
back of the neck several times. Plaintiff claims that
Byington “responded.” He asserts that Helms
resumed punching him while Rodgers held him down. He says
that after the wrist restraints were applied, he was taken to
the medical unit.
claims that Roessler assessed his injuries. He says she wrote
in the medical records that he had no injuries and that he
refused to cooperate, which he claims is not true. He
maintains that he had “multiple injuries, including
deep cuts in [his] mouth, upon [his] face, bruises and head
injuries . . .”
Motion to Dismiss
Helms, and Rodgers argue that the complaint fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. They claim that
plaintiff has failed to allege Byington’s personal
involvement, that there are not sufficient factual
allegations to support a claim that defendants failed to
protect him, that plaintiff has not alleged facts
establishing their deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs, that plaintiff failed to assert § 1983
constitutional violations because plaintiff’s injuries
were de minimis, and that they are entitled to qualified
under § 1983 requires a causal link to, and direct
responsibility for, the alleged deprivation of rights.”
Madewell v. Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir.
1990); see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676
(2009) (“Because vicarious liability is inapplicable to
Bivens and § 1983 suits, a plaintiff must plead that
each Government-official defendant, through the
official’s own individual actions, has violated the
Constitution.”). Plaintiff’s only assertion with
regard to Byington is that he “responded.” This
is insufficient to show that Byington was directly involved
in the alleged violations of plaintiff’s rights. So,
defendant Byington is dismissed.
allegations against Helms and Rogers do not state a
failure-to-protect claim. Instead, his allegations against
them tend to show that they used excessive force. Therefore,
plaintiff’s failure-to-protect claims are dismissed.
state a claim for medical mistreatment, plaintiff must plead
facts sufficient to indicate a deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 106 (1976); Camberos v. Branstad, 73 F.3d 174,
175 (8th Cir. 1995). Allegations of mere negligence in giving
or failing to supply medical treatment will not suffice.
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. In order to show deliberate
indifference, plaintiff must allege that he suffered
objectively serious medical needs and that defendants
actually knew of but deliberately disregarded those needs.
Dulany v. Carnahan, 132 F.3d 1234, 1239 (8th Cir.
1997). Plaintiff does not allege that defendants disregarded
his medical needs. Rather, he says he was taken to the
medical unit immediately after the alleged assault. As a
result, plaintiff’s medical mistreatment claims are
unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain . . . constitutes
cruel and unusual punishment forbidden by the Eighth
Amendment.’” Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S.
1, 9-10 (1992) (quoting Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S.
312, 327 (1986)). In the context of a prisoner’s Eighth
Amendment claim against a prison guard for the use of
excessive force, “the core judicial inquiry is that set
out in Whitley: whether force was applied in a good-faith
effort to maintain or restore discipline, or maliciously and
sadistically to cause harm.” Id. There is no
“significant injury” requirement, because
“[o]therwise, the Eighth Amendment would permit any
physical punishment, no matter how diabolic or inhuman,
inflicting less than some arbitrary quantity of
injury.” Id. at 9; see Wilkins v.
Gaddy, 559 U.S. 34, 39 (2010) (assault allegedly leaving
plaintiff “with a bruised heel, back pain, and other
injuries requiring medical treatment” sufficient to
state Eighth Amendment claim.). Defendants’ argument
that plaintiff’s injuries were no more than de minimis
is incorrect. Plaintiff’s allegations are comparable to
the alleged injuries in Wilkins. Therefore, the Court finds
that plaintiff has stated a plausible claim for excessive use
of force against Helms and Rodgers.
argue that they are entitled to qualified immunity because
plaintiff has failed to demonstrate a constitutional
violation. Defendants state, “The facts alleged show no
more than that Defendants were acting to suppress a
doctrine of qualified immunity protects government officials
‘from liability for civil damages insofar as their
conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or
constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have
known.’” Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S.
223, 231 (2009) (quoting Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457
U.S. 800, 818 (1982)). “The protection of qualified
immunity applies regardless of whether the government
official’s error is ‘a mistake of law, a mistake
of fact, or a mistake based on mixed questions of law and
fact.’” Id. (quoting Groh v.
Ramirez,540 U.S. 551, 567 (2004)). The Court has found
that plaintiff has stated a plausible claim for excessive
force in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Therefore,
defendants’ argument ...