United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant St. Louis
County's (“County”) motion (ECF No. 38) to
dismiss Plaintiff Kevin Covington's amended complaint,
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the
reasons set forth below, the Court will grant the motion in
part and deny it in part.
as true for the purpose of this motion, the facts alleged in
the amended complaint are as follows. Plaintiff has been held
as a pretrial detainee at the County jail from March 2017 to
the present. Throughout this time, he has suffered from
epilepsy and hypertension and has therefore been prescribed
the following daily medications: Dilantin, Phenobarbital, and
Verapamil. On five occasions between May 10 and September 16,
2018, Defendant Carlina Stuckey-Parchmon, a nurse at the
jail, refused to give Plaintiff his medications.
on or about May 10, 2018, Stuckey-Parchmon refused to give
Plaintiff his medications, stating that Plaintiff
“would have to get his medications from someone
else.” ECF No. 33 at ¶ 12. Both Plaintiff and the
housing unit officer at the time, Officer Robeinson,
asked Stuckey-Parchmon the reason for her refusal, but
Stuckey-Parchmon did not respond. Robeinson therefore
contacted a supervisor, and seven hours later, another nurse
brought Plaintiff his medications.
6, 2018, Stuckey-Parchmon again refused to give Plaintiff
medications even though Stuckey-Parchmon was regularly
dispensing medications to all other inmates in the unit.
Stuckey-Parchmon told Plaintiff and the housing unit manager
at the time, Officer Hayden, that she “did not have to
give [Plaintiff] shit, ” and did not “have to
give a reason why.” Id. ¶ 18. Hayden then
informed a supervisor, Lieutenant Beard, who asked
Stuckey-Parchmon the reason for her refusal. Stuckey-Parchmon
informed Beard that she had no reason but that she just would
not serve Plaintiff.
these incidents, on September 14, 15, and 16, 2018,
Stuckey-Parchmon again refused to give Plaintiff his
medications. On September 14, Plaintiff was not wearing
his identification wristband, and Stuckey-Parchmon asked a
unit officer to retrieve Plaintiff's booking card to
identify Plaintiff. When Plaintiff asked why Stuckey-Parchmon
needed to see his booking card when she already knew who he
was, Stuckey-Parchmon threw Plaintiff's medications into
the trash and left the unit. The following day, when
Plaintiff asked for his medications, Stuckey-Parchmon told
Plaintiff to “get away from [her]” and called the
next inmate in line for medications. Id. ¶ 25.
The housing unit officer at the time, Officer Coticchio,
instructed Plaintiff to file a grievance and told Plaintiff
that he (Coticchio) would “call medical to send someone
[else] up to give [Plaintiff] his meds.” Id.
¶ 26. The next day, Stuckey-Parchmon again refused to
give Plaintiff his medications, telling Plaintiff to step out
of line. Coticchio then told Plaintiff: “You know what
you have to do. You file your grievance and I'll file my
alleges that as a result of failure to timely receive his
regular medications, he suffered headaches and loss of sleep,
dangerously high blood pressure, and unhealthy blood sugar
levels; and he had to increase his dosage of one or more
medications due to the irregular administration.
each of these incidents, Plaintiff filed a grievance on the
day-of and did not receive any response, notwithstanding that
the County Department of Justice Services' Inmate
Handbook requires the County to respond to grievances within
five days. On September 19, 2018, Plaintiff filed a sixth
grievance, complaining that none of his prior grievances had
been addressed. Again, Plaintiff did not receive a timely
response. He therefore filed a complaint in this Court, pro
se, on October 1, 2018. Only after filing this lawsuit did
Plaintiff receive a response from the County to his
grievance, in the form of a Formal Inmate Grievance Response
Form with the purported date of September 22, 2018,
responding to Plaintiff's September 19, 2018 grievance.
April 22, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion to
appoint counsel, and appointed counsel thereafter sought
leave to amend Plaintiff's complaint. On May 31, 2019,
the Court granted Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend
in part, permitting Plaintiff to add factual allegations
against Stuckey-Parchmon and to add municipal liability
claims against the County. ECF No. 32.
amended complaint contains two counts brought pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Count I, asserted against
Stuckey-Parchmon in her individual capacity and against the
County, alleges a violation of Plaintiff's Eighth
Amendment rights based on Stuckey-Parchmon's refusal to
dispense Plaintiff's medication. Count II, asserted
against the County only, alleges a violation of
Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment rights based on the
County's lack of, or disregard of, a grievance process.
Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
County now moves to dismiss both claims against it for
failure to state a claim. The County argues that Count I
fails to plausibly allege an underlying constitutional
violation or municipal liability under Monell v.
Department of Social Services of City of New York, 436
U.S. 658 (1978). As to Count II, the County argues that there
is no constitutional right to a prison grievance procedure.
survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff's claims must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). The reviewing court accepts the
plaintiff's factual allegations as true and draws all
reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.
Torti v. Hoag, 868 F.3d 666, 671 (8th Cir. 2017).
But “[c]ourts are not bound to accept as true a legal