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Ayers v. Jackson County

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

December 6, 2017

NICHOLAS AYERS, Plaintiff,
v.
JACKSON COUNTY, MISSOURI, JOE PICCININI, and JOHN DOE, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

          GREG KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         This civil action brought by Nicholas Ayers (“Plaintiff”) arises from a period of his confinement in Jackson County Detention Center. Plaintiff sued Defendants Joe Piccinini (“Piccinini”), John Doe, and Jackson County, Missouri (“Jackson County”) alleging the conditions of his cell violated his constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Plaintiff also seeks judgement against all Defendants for premises liability.

         Now before the Court is Jackson County's and Piccinini's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 9). For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED IN PART and Plaintiff is GRANTED LEAVE of Court to file his First Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.

         Background

         Taking Plaintiff's allegations as true and drawing all reasonable inferences in his favor, the Court finds the facts to be as follows.

         From January 1, 2016 through March 17, 2016, Plaintiff was an inmate housed on the second floor of a cell unit at the Jackson County Detention Center, operated by Defendant Jackson County. Defendant Piccinini was the Director of the Jackson County Detention Center and was responsible for its day to day operation. Defendant John Doe is unknown to Plaintiff and is responsible for maintenance of the facilities at the Jackson County Detention Center.

         On or about January 1, 2016, Plaintiff notified Defendants[1] that a plumbing pipe in his cell was broken. The water in Plaintiff's cell was shut off until approximately January 16, 2016, when a plumber repaired the broken pipe. Shortly after, the pipe broke again and the water was again shut off, causing Plaintiff's toilet to be inoperable.

         When the toilet in the cell adjacent to Plaintiff's was flushed, sewage would back-flow into the toilet in Plaintiff's cell. Plaintiff's cell consistently smelled of sewage and was frequently contaminated by sewage spilling out of the toilet and onto the floor of the cell. The conditions directly exposed Plaintiff to contact with human waste including feces and urine each time the toilet in Plaintiff's cell overflowed. After several weeks of this condition, Plaintiff began carrying water from a first floor mop sink in a large plastic trash can, up the cell block stairs, and to his second floor cell, so that he could “flush” the sewage in his cell toilet.

         Plaintiff repeatedly notified Defendants and other correctional officers of these conditions and repeatedly requested to be transferred to a different cell. Defendants did not address the problems with Plaintiff's cell or move him to another location.

         At approximately 4:00 a.m. on March 17, 2016, the smell from the Plaintiff's cell toilet was so strong that Plaintiff could not sleep. Plaintiff left his cell, which had a broken lock, to retrieve water from the first floor to flush his toilet. As Plaintiff carried water up the stairs in the dark, the water shifted in the trashcan and he lost his balance causing him to fall backward and strike his head, neck, and back.

         On March 16, 2017, Plaintiff filed a three-count lawsuit alleging (1) violation of the Eighth Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment provision under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Piccinini and Defendant John Doe; (2) failure to supervise and train under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Jackson County; and (3) premises liability under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.600(2), against all Defendants.

         Standard

         To survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the complaint must do more than recite the bare elements of a cause of action. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 687 (2009). Rather, it must include “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Although a complaint is not required to have detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff must provide more than mere “labels and conclusions” or “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 545. In reviewing the complaint, the court assumes ...


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