United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon Defendants Regina Beggs,
Paula Reed, Bill Stange and Ian Wallace's Motion to
Dismiss (Docket No. 20). All matters are pending before the
undersigned United States Magistrate Judge, with consent of
the parties, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
is an inmate at the Southeast Correctional Center
("SECC"). Defendants Beggs, Reed, Stange and
Wallace (collectively "defendants") are employees
of the Missouri Department of Corrections ("MDOC").
Plaintiff has also named eight additional defendants who are
employees of Corizon, LLC, including Nina Hill and Linda
amended complaint, plaintiff alleges that Hill prescribed him
a medication even though he was allergic to it, and that he
suffered reactions including swelling of the tongue and
trouble breathing and swallowing. Plaintiff alleges that
Ahlfield refused to give him medical treatment, and also that
she required him to take the medication, threatening him with
conduct violations and restrictive housing if he complained.
alleges that Beggs, Reed, Stange and Wallace violated his
Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment in that they were deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical needs, and failed to give him adequate
medical treatment. Plaintiff also alleges that defendants
failed to take reasonable measures to prevent him being
prescribed the wrong medicine, and that they condoned and
ignored Hill and Ahlfield's conduct. Plaintiff also
alleges that defendants conspired to alter medical records to
make it appear that the matter had been properly addressed.
He seeks monetary damages.
support of the instant motion, defendants argue that
plaintiffs allegations against them should be dismissed
because they are wholly conclusory. Plaintiff has not
responded to the motion, and the time for doing so has
passed. Defendants' motion is well taken, and plaintiffs
claims against Beggs, Reed, Stange and Wallace will be
Standard of Review
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.
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).
alleges that defendants were deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical needs and denied him adequate medical
treatment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Defendants
argue that plaintiffs allegations are merely conclusory and
therefore fail to state a claim. The Court agrees. The Eighth
Amendment protects plaintiff from a confinement that involves
cruel and unusual punishment through deliberate indifference
to his serious medical needs. Deliberate indifference may be
demonstrated by prison guards who intentionally deny or delay
access to medical care. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 104-05 (1976). To state a claim of deliberate
indifference, a plaintiff must establish that he suffered
from an objectively serious medical need, and that defendants
actually knew of but deliberately disregarded a serious risk
to his health. Dulany v. Carnahan, 132 F.3d 1234,
1239 (8th Cir. 1997). A "serious medical need" is
"one that has been diagnosed by a physician requiring
treatment, or one that is so obvious that even a layperson
would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's
attention." Holden v. Hirner, 663 F.3d 336, 342
(8th Cir. 2011).
as defendants correctly argue, plaintiff sets forth his
claims of Eighth Amendment violation in merely conclusory
terms. He alleges no specific facts tending to show that
Beggs, Reed, Stange and Wallace actually knew of any serious
medical need, and he alleges no facts describing the manner
in which they interfered with or denied him access to
treatment. The Court therefore determines that plaintiffs
allegations lack the factual enhancement required by the
Supreme Court, and therefore fail to state a claim as a
matter of law. Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 676;
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Plaintiff also fails to
allege how each defendant was directly involved in or
personally responsible for any alleged violation of his
constitutional rights; instead, he refers to the defendants
collectively and states they violated his rights. The Court
therefore concludes that plaintiff fails to state a claim of
an Eighth Amendment violation against these defendants.
See Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 667; see also Madewell
v. Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir. 1990)
("Liability under § 1983 requires a causal link to,
and direct responsibility for, the alleged deprivation of
rights"); Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334,
1338 (8th Cir. 1985) (to be cognizable under § 1983, a
claim must allege that the defendant was personally involved
in or directly responsible for the incidents that deprived
the plaintiff of his constitutional rights).
extent plaintiff can be understood to allege that defendants
failed to intervene, such claims will be dismissed because
the Eighth Circuit has recognized a duty to intervene only in
the context of excessive use of force. See Hess v.
Abies,714 F.3d 1048, 1052 (8th Cir. 2013). In addition,
these prison official defendants cannot substitute their
judgment for a medical professional's prescription,
Meloy v. Bachmeier,302 F.3d 845, 849 (8th Cir.
2002), and cannot be held liable for the medical staffs