United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division
NANETTE K. LAUGHREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Missouri Department of Corrections (“MDOC”),
Anne Precythe, Sherie Korneman, and James Russell move to
dismiss the first amended complaint filed by plaintiff
De'Andre Cothran. Doc. 106. For the following reasons,
Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted.
amended complaint, which he filed on March 4, 2019, asserts
claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Russell, in
both his individual and official capacities, for excessive
use of force (Count I) and against MDOC, Precythe, and
Korneman, in their individual and official capacities, for
deliberate indifference (Count II). Cothran's claims
arise out of Russell's discharge of pepper spray into
Cothran's closed cell and the aftermath. On March 6,
2019, Defendants filed the pending motion to dismiss.
survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint “must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, ‘to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Zink v. Lombardi, 783 F.3d 1089, 1098 (8th Cir.
2015) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009)). A claim has facial plausibility when its allegations
rise above the “speculative” or
“conceivable, ” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007), and where
“the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678. Such a complaint will be liberally construed in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Eckert v.
Titan Tire Corp., 514 F.3d 801, 806 (8th Cir. 2008).
Whether Sovereign Immunity Bars the Claim Against
argue that the claims against MDOC must be dismissed because
MDOC is entitled to sovereign immunity. The doctrine of
sovereign immunity provides that “an unconsenting State
is immune from suits brought in federal courts by her own
citizens as well as by citizens of another State.”
Employees v. Missouri Pub. Health & Welfare
Dep't, 411 U.S. 279, 280 (1973).
against MDOC is, in effect, a suit against the State of
Missouri, which is absolutely immune from liability under
§ 1983. See Lococo v. Florissant Police
Dep't, No. 08-0143 ERW, 2008 WL 554254, *2 (E.D. Mo.
Feb. 27, 2008) (“[A] suit against the Missouri
Department of Corrections . . . is, in effect, a suit against
the State of Missouri; however, the State of Missouri is not
a ‘person' for purposes of a § 1983 action and
is absolutely immune from liability under § 1983.”
(citing Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police,
491 U.S. 58, 63 (1989))).
argues that the doctrine is “applicable only to any
claim for monetary damages against the DOC.” Doc. 113
(Plaintiff Deandre Cothran's Suggestions in Opposition to
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss), p. 3. However,
“[t]his jurisdictional bar applies regardless of the
nature of the relief sought.” Pennhurst State Sch.
& Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984);
see also Harris v. McSwain, 417 Fed.Appx. 594, 595
(8th Cir. 2011) (“[The] Eleventh Amendment bars suits
against states and state agencies for any kind of
relief.”). Cothran's claim against MDOC thus is
barred by sovereign immunity and must be dismissed.
Whether Cothran Failed to Exhaust His Administrative Remedies
as to Precythe and Korneman
argue that Cothran's claims against Precythe and Korneman
must be dismissed because Cothran did not file a grievance
against them, and therefore has not exhausted his
administrative remedies. Doc. 107 (Defendants' Memorandum
of Law), p. 5.
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) requires
exhaustion of “such administrative remedies as are
available . . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). However,
“nothing in the statute imposes a ‘name all
defendants' requirement . . . .” Jones v.
Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 217, 219 (2007). Thus, Cothran's