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O'Neil v. Lessard

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

July 20, 2017




         Before the Court is the Rule 12(b)(1) and Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 13) filed by Sergeant Billy Verrett ("Sgt. Verrett"), and the Motion for Summary Judgment for Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies (Doc. 16) filed by Msgt. Eric Lane ("Msgt. Lane"), Sgt. Verret, Maj. Shannon Lessard ("Maj. Lessard"), and Lt. Jarod Verrett ("Lt. Verrett") (collectively "Defendants"). Gilbert O'Neil ("Plaintiff) filed responses to both motions. (Docs. 17, 20). Oral argument on the motions is not necessary. The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is an inmate at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center ("EHCC") in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff alleges that on or about January 8, 2016, he was badly beaten by Defendants after being taken to the infirmary for X-rays. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that an employee at EHCC initiated a physical altercation with Plaintiff. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 6). When Plaintiff fought back, the employee "took [Plaintiff] to the ground and handcuffed him." (Id. at ¶ 7). Plaintiff was eventually escorted to the infirmary to have X-rays taken of his shoulder and was thereafter placed in a holding cell. (Id. at ¶¶ 7-8). Plaintiff alleges that for the purpose of punishing him, Plaintiff was escorted back to the X-ray room in full restraints and was "beat...down to the ground, " kicked and punched by Maj. Lessard. (Id. at ¶ 11). Plaintiff asserts that Lt. Verrett and Msgt. Lane also entered the X-ray room, began punching and kicking Plaintiff, and "Major Lazard (sic) pulled [Plaintiff] by his shackles into [his] vomit" and further injured a preexisting ankle injury. (Id. at ¶¶ 12-13).

         Plaintiff next alleges that he was carried to the Assessment Triage Unit of the prison, where an EMT placed bandages on his leg and prison officials prepared him for transport to a cell in "Beaver 2." (Id. at ¶¶ 15-18). During this time, Plaintiff asserts that Msgt. Lane and Lt. Verrett continued striking him until Plaintiff cried. (Id. at ¶ 16). Plaintiff claims that he sustained several injuries from the alleged beating and did not received medical care despite several requests for such. (Id. at ¶¶ 19-20). Based on these allegations, Plaintiff sued Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated due to Defendants' deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs and use of excessive force. (See Doc. 1).



         Sgt. Verrett filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs claims against him, arguing, among other things, that Plaintiff failed to include in his Complaint any factual allegations implicating him.[1] (See Doc. 13). Plaintiff asserts that although he knows there was a prison employee with the surname "Verrett" involved in the alleged incident, Plaintiff is unsure whether the person involved was Sgt. Billy Verrett or Lt. Jarod Verrett.[2] (Doc. 17). Because of this, Plaintiff requests that the Court allow some discovery before requiring him to name the correct member of the Verrett family involved in this incident. (Id.).

         A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the sufficiency of a complaint against the legal standard set forth in Rule 8, which requires "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). "To survive a motion to dismiss, 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 BellAtl Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] . . . a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679. "[F]acial plausibility" exists "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Hence, a complaint need not set out "detailed factual allegations, " but something "more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action" is required. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         A review of Plaintiffs Complaint demonstrates that other than listing Sgt. Verrett as a defendant in this case, Plaintiff fails to specify any acts attributable to the basis of Plaintiffs lawsuit and for which Sgt. Verrett should remain in this lawsuit. As such, Plaintiff has failed to satisfy federal pleading standards and the Court must dismiss Plaintiffs claims against Sgt. Verrett. Accordingly, Sgt. Verrett's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 16) is GRANTED.


         In their motion for summary judgment, Defendants argue that Plaintiffs deliberate medical indifference claim should be dismissed for Plaintiffs failure to exhaust administrative remedies before filing his lawsuit. Specifically, Defendants argue that Plaintiff failed to complete grievance procedures for ARP No. EHCC-2016-0077 ("ARP No. 77") and ARP No. EHCC-2016-0136 ("ARP No. 136"), which address Defendants' alleged failure to provide constitutionally adequate medical care. (Doc. 16).

         1. Standard of Review

         Pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, "[t]he court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In determining whether the movant is entitled to summary judgment, the court views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-movant and draws all reasonable ...

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