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Beckermann v. Babich

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

February 21, 2017

GLEN BABICH, et al., Defendants.



         This matter is before the Court upon Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, filed by defendants William Stange, Brad Clark, Myrtle Pruitt, and Brandy Hickey. (Docket No. 29). Plaintiff has not responded to the motion, and the time for doing so has passed. The motion will be granted in part, and denied in part.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff is an inmate confined to the custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections (“MDOC”). Stange, Clark, Pruitt and Hickey are employed by MDOC. The events giving rise to this lawsuit occurred at the Southeast Correctional Center (“SECC”).

         In the amended complaint, plaintiff alleges as follows. On June 2, 2015, plaintiff fractured his right hand while fighting with another inmate. At approximately 5:30 p.m., he told a corrections officer he needed medical care for his hand, and he was evaluated by defendant Cody Stanley, a nurse. Stanley measured plaintiff's vital signs and departed, and plaintiff was placed into a cell with another inmate.

         At approximately 6:00 p.m. that same evening, Clark visited plaintiff's cell to conduct an initial administrative segregation hearing. Plaintiff showed Clark his “obviously fractured right hand that was very swollen and by now discolored, ” and requested medical treatment. (Docket No. 8 at 21). Clark ignored his request. At approximately 7:25 p.m., Pruitt and Hickey visited plaintiff's cell, and plaintiff showed them his “obviously fractured right hand that was by this time very swollen and discolored, and pleaded for immediate medical treatment from both defendants and made them well aware that medical staff was denying him any medical treatment whatsoever.” (Id. at 22). Pruitt and Hickey ignored his request.

         On June 9, 2015, plaintiff was taken to the nurse's station and evaluated by defendant Jason Clements, a nurse. Clements taped two tongue depressors around plaintiff's right fourth metacarpal and ring finger, and referred plaintiff for an x-ray to be performed at a later date. On June 11, 2015, plaintiff underwent an x-ray, which was positive for fracture. Plaintiff then received medical treatment consisting of a hard splint, a plastic bag to cover the splint while showering, and pain medication.

         On June 23, 2015, plaintiff was transported to Jefferson City, Missouri to see Dr. Wilson, an orthopedic specialist. Dr. Wilson told plaintiff that, because of the long delay in medical treatment, he would require extensive reconstructive surgery that would involve re-fracturing his hand, and then repairing it using a bone from his wrist, a metal plate, and six pins. Dr. Wilson requested approval of the surgery, and ultimately performed it on July 22, 2015.

         Plaintiff alleges that Clark, Pruitt and Hickey were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff also alleges that Clark, Pruitt and Hickey failed to comply with Mo. Rev. Stat. 217.410, which required them to notify the department director that plaintiff was suffering neglect and abuse. Plaintiff alleges that Stange is responsible for the actions of his officers. Plaintiff also alleges that Stange transferred him to another facility after he initiated the grievance process.

         II. Legal Standard

         Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “authorizes a court to dismiss a claim on the basis of a dispositive issue of law.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 326 (1989). The motion to dismiss standard is different from the frivolity review standard under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), and dismissal for failure to state a claim does not invariably mean that the claim lacked arguable merit. Id. at 329. “When a complaint raises an arguable question of law which the district court ultimately finds is correctly resolved against the plaintiff, dismissal on Rule 12(b)(6) grounds is appropriate, but dismissal on the basis of frivolousness is not.” Id. at 328.

         When ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must assume that all of the factual allegations in the complaint are true, Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 595 (8th Cir. 2009). The Court disregards legal conclusions, and reviews the factual allegations for facial plausibility. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 677. To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, “a civil rights complaint must contain facts which state a claim as a matter of law and must not be conclusory.” Gregory v. Dillard's, Inc., 565 F.3d 464, 473 (8th Cir. 2009) (en banc).

         III. Discussion

         A. Defendants Clark, Pruitt, and Hickey: ...

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