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Kulhanek v. Griffith

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

March 14, 2019

BRANDON KULHANEK, Plaintiff,
v.
CINDY GRIFFITH, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JOHN A. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon the motion to dismiss, filed by defendants Cindy Griffith, Will Hunter and Rick Menteer.[1] Plaintiff has responded to the motion seeking assistance of counsel in this matter. For the reasons discussed below, the motion will be denied.

         Legal Standard on a Motion to Dismiss

         The purpose of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is to test the legal sufficiency of the complaint. To survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim for relief "must include sufficient factual information to provide the 'grounds' on which the claim rests, and to raise a right to relief above a speculative level." Schaafv. Residential Funding Corp., 517 F.3d 544, 549 (8th Cir. 2008) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 & n.3). This obligation requires a plaintiff to plead "more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         When considering a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint, even if it appears that "actual proof of those facts is improbable," id. at 556, and reviews the complaint to determine whether its allegations show that the pleader is entitled to relief. Id. at 555-56; Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The principle that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint does not apply to legal conclusions, however. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 ("Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice"). In addition, all reasonable inferences from the complaint must be drawn in favor of the nonmoving party. Young v. City of St. Charles, Mo., 244 F.3d 623, 627 (8th Cir. 2001).

         Background

         Plaintiff is currently an inmate at the Potosi Correctional Center. He filed this action on September 18, 2017, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against thirty-seven (37) named defendants in both their individual and official capacities. The Court reviewed plaintiffs handwritten complaint on January 23, 2018, for frivolousness, maliciousness and for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and issued process on four claims against four separate defendants in this action. Notably, the Court issued process on Warden Cindy Griffith, Chief of Custody Greg Dunn, and Shift Commanders Will Hunter and Rick Menteer with respect to two separate claims.

         In his complaint, plaintiff alleges that on or about January 25, 2016, he was placed in a single-man cell in the Administrative Segregation unit in PCC. Plaintiff states that he has been in the cell from January 2016, through the present, and he states that he "has no contact with the offender general population and rarely exits his cell, except for searches, three hours [per week] of recreation in the in-house recreation cages and medical."

         He asserts that on January 25, 2016, an unknown person at the prison issued a "security order" against plaintiff mandating he be placed in leg shackles and restraints when leaving his Administrative Segregation cell.

         Plaintiff claims that Cindy Griffith (Warden) and Greg Dunn (Chief of Custody), amended the special security order on August 10, 2016, pursuant to an "evil intent" requiring correctional officers who took plaintiff from his cell on a daily basis, to restrain plaintiff by "hinged handcuffs," leg shackles," and "elbow shackles."

         Plaintiff claims that Griffith and Dunn amended the security order on February 21, 2017, pursuant to an "evil intent," requiring mechanical restraints of leg shackles, and arm restraints, as well as physical pat down searches and cell and property searches three times a day. Plaintiff asserts that this order was modified by defendants Griffith and Dunn on February 23, 2017, to include body cavity searches as well three times daily, and plaintiff claims that this was a result of "collusion" by Shift Commanders Rick Menteer and Will Hunter.

         Plaintiff claims that on March 1, 2017, Griffith and Dunn placed plaintiff in a suicide cell in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights, in an effort to humiliate and increase his mental pain and suffering.

         Plaintiff admits that he was told that the reason he was first placed in Administrative Segregation and the security measures were increased was because in February 2017 plaintiff had been found guilty of assault. Moreover, the prison officials believed that plaintiff was "green lighting" a hit on other offenders.

         The remainder of plaintiff s complaint outlines paragraphs against individual correctional officers who carried out the directions of Griffith and Dunn and failed to respond to plaintiffs verbal and ...


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