United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon three pending motions: a
motion to dismiss (ECF No. 106), a motion to intervene (ECF
No. 109), and a motion for appointment of counsel (ECF No.
110). For the reasons discussed below, these motions will all
Court recognizes the other pending motions in this matter:
plaintiffs motion for appointment of counsel (ECF No. 123)
and defendant Ned Boyd's motion to compel plaintiffs
signature on records release authorizations (ECF No. 124).
Although pro se plaintiff seeks appointment of
counsel in this matter, the Court reminds him that his
pending motion does not negate his responsibility to respond
to motions directed at him in this case. Any brief in
response to defendant Boyd's motion, must be filed within
fourteen (14) days of this Order.
se plaintiff brought this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action,
alleging constitutional violations arising out of a lack of
adequate medical care (including mental health care) while he
was a pretrial detainee at the Cape Girardeau County Jail.
Plaintiff named many defendants in his complaint including
twenty-four (24) Jail officials; the company which provides
medical care to inmates at the Jail (Advanced Correctional
Healthcare, Inc.); two medical employees (Dr. Charles Pewitt
and Nurse Charla Earnheart (improperly named in complaint as
'Nurse Charlotte Unknown')); Cape Girardeau County,
Missouri; and U.S. Marshal Ned Boyd.
November 29, 2018, the Court granted plaintiff in forma
pauperis status and reviewed his complaint under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). As a result of that initial
review, the Court directed the Clerk to issue process upon
the complaint as to twenty-seven (27) defendants, including:
the three defendants related to medical care, Cape Girardeau
County, and U.S. Marshal Boyd. ECF No. 9. As of May 21, 2019,
twenty-six (26) of the defendants had filed answers and the
Court issued a Case Management Order. ECF No. 90. The
remaining defendant, U.S. Marshal Boyd, filed a motion to
dismiss (ECF No. 68), that was denied on June 25, 2019. ECF
No. 95. By July 9, 2019, all defendants had filed answers to
August 27, 2019, the Court granted plaintiffs request for a
sixty (60) day extension of all deadlines in this matter and
issued an Amended Case Management Order. ECF Nos. 119, 120.
The Court also denied two motions to dismiss (ECF Nos. 97,
115) filed by defendants based on plaintiff missing case
management deadlines, and a motion against plaintiff for
failure to notify the Court of a change in address (ECF No.
to Dismiss (ECF No. 106)
Legal Standard for Dismissal
30, 2019, defendants Dr. Pewitt, Nurse Earnheart, and
Advanced Correctional Healthcare, Inc. (hereinafter
"medical defendants"), filed a motion to dismiss
for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. ECF No. 106. Although medical defendants' motion
is captioned as a "motion to dismiss," it is
actually a motion for judgment on the pleadings because
medical defendants filed an answer prior to filing the
motion. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c), ECF No. 43.
"Judgment on the pleadings is appropriate when there is
no material issue of fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law." Country Preferred Ins.
Co. v. Lee, 918 F.3d 587, 588 (8th Cir. 2019) (internal
citation omitted). However, when deciding a motion for
judgment on the pleadings, the court applies the same
standard used for a motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim under Rule 12(b)(6). Edwards v. McSwain, 2018
WL 4679735, at *3 (E. D. Mo. Sept. 28, 2018).
purpose of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is to test the legal
sufficiency of the complaint. To survive a motion to dismiss
for failure to state a claim, a plaintiff s allegations 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 Ail. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The reviewing court accepts the
plaintiffs 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
conclusion couched as a factual allegation, and factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level." Id. The issue is not
whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail, but whether
the plaintiff is entitled to present evidence in support of
his claim. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 583 (quoted case
se complaints are to be liberally construed, Estelle
v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976), but they still must
allege facts which, if true, state a claim for relief as a
matter of law. Martin v. Aubuchon, 623 F.2d 1282,
1286 (8th Cir. 1980). The Court must weigh all factual
allegations in favor of the plaintiff, unless the facts
alleged are clearly baseless. Denton v. Hernandez,
504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992). "If the essence of an allegation
is discernible ... then the district court should construe
the complaint in a way that permits the lay person's
claim to be considered within the proper legal
framework." Solomon v. Petray, 795 F.3d 777,
787 (8th Cir. 2015) (quotations and citation omitted). The
task of a court then is "to review the plausibility of
the plaintiffs claim as a whole, not the plausibility of each
individual allegation." Zoltek Corp. v. Structural
Polymer Grp., 592 F.3d 893, 896 n.4 (8th Cir. 2010)
(citing Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d
585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (noting "the complaint should
be read as a whole, not parsed piece by piece to determine
whether each allegation, in isolation, is plausible")).
Plaintiff's Complaint Allegations
alleges in his complaint that Nurse Earnheart and Dr. Pewitt
refused to prescribe him medication for his mental health
disorders. Plaintiff states that he had been taking the
medications Depakote, Xanax, Zoloft, and Adderall for many
years prior to his incarceration, but that he was refused
these medications and refused treatment by Nurse Earnheart
and Dr. Pewitt upon entering the Cape Girardeau County Jail.
Plaintiff alleges that he repeatedly told the individual
defendants that he suffered from anxiety, depression, and
bipolar disorder in his requests for mental health
medications. He also informed Nurse Earnheart of the medical
symptoms he was experiencing, including withdrawal ...