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Davis v. Buchanan County Missouri

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, St. Joseph Division

December 23, 2019

BRENDA DAVIS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
BUCHANAN COUNTY MISSOURI, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          NANETTE K. LAUGHREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Defendants Michelle Munger, Alice Bergman, Amy Mowry, Karen Williams, and Frederick Covillo (collectively, the “Corizon Defendants”) each move to dismiss the second amended complaint by plaintiffs Brenda Davis and Frederick Stufflebean for failure to state a claim against them in their individual capacities. Docs. 441, 468, 471. For the reasons set forth below, the motions to dismiss are denied in part and granted in part.

         I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

         After less than three days of incarceration at the Buchanan County Jail and less than two days of incarceration at the Missouri Department of Corrections' Western Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center (“WRDCC”), Plaintiffs' son, Justin Stufflebean, who suffered from Addison's disease and hypoparathyroidism and was not given his nine prescription medications for multiple consecutive days, was rushed by ambulance to a hospital, where he subsequently died.

         On April 6, 2017, Plaintiffs brought suit in state court against, inter alia, Corizon Health, LLC (named in the initial complaint as “Corizon Health, Inc.”), which provided medical services at the WRDCC, and Corizon nurse Donna Euler. Doc. 1-2. The defendants removed the case to federal court on May 8, 2017. Doc. 1. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims against Corizon Health, Inc. and Donna Euler. Docs. 61, 65.

         On July 30, 2018, Plaintiffs moved for leave to file an amended complaint to re-assert state law tort claims and to add as parties Corizon Health, LLC (the proper name of the entity) as well as Corizon doctor Covillo and Corizon nurses Bergman, Mowry, Munger, and Williams. Doc. 73. On August 24, 2018, the Court granted Plaintiffs' motion for leave to amend the complaint. Doc. 75.

         Plaintiffs filed the First Amended Complaint on September 4, 2018. Doc. 78. Bergman, Munger, Williams, and Dr. Covillo separately filed answers to the First Amended Complaint on October 11, 2018, and Mowry filed an answer on October 19, 2018. Docs. 99-102; Doc. 104. None of the October 2018 answers by the Corizon Defendants mentions the terms, “capacity, ” “individual, ” or “official.” Docs. 99-102, 104.

         On April 16, 2019, in response to a motion to dismiss based on sovereign immunity filed by defendants connected with Buchanan County (Doc. 263), Plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint in order to allege an insurance exception to the Buchanan County defendants' sovereign immunity defense, citing newly produced insurance documents. Doc. 279. Plaintiffs explained that the proposed second amended complaint made only the following changes:

1) the style of the case was shortened to reflect “et al.” after naming Buchanan County;
2) the case number was revised to properly reflect Judge Laughrey's initials;
3) the title of the document was changed to “Second-Amended Complaint”;
4) paragraphs 5(c)and 7(g) were added to make the insurance allegations;
5) former paragraphs 16, 79 & 94 were deleted as they pertained to dismissed defendant Warden Ryan Crews;
7) [sic] the signature block was corrected to reflect representation of the respective plaintiffs; and
8) the certificate of service was removed.

Id., p. 3.

         On July 1, 2019, while Plaintiffs' motion for leave to file a second amended complaint was pending, and nearly a year after Plaintiffs filed the First Amended Complaint naming him as a defendant, Dr. Covillo filed a motion to dismiss raising for the first time the defense of qualified immunity. Doc. 360. On July 3, 2019, Bergman, Mowry, and Williams moved for summary judgment on grounds of qualified immunity. Doc. 392. Similarly, on July 5, 2019, Munger moved for summary judgment on the ground of qualified immunity. Doc. 399.[1]

         On July 8, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion to file a second amended complaint. Doc. 410.[2] Plaintiffs filed the Second ...


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