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Wilson v. Polite

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

June 18, 2018


         SECTION “B”3



         Plaintiff, Harry G. Wilson, a state pretrial detainee, filed this federal civil rights action against John Polete.[1] In this lawsuit, plaintiff claims that he was denied adequate medical care at the Orleans Justice Center.

         Currently pending before the Court is Polete's motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[2] Plaintiff opposes that motion.[3] For the following reasons, the motion should be granted.

         Rule 12(b)(6) allows a defendant to move for dismissal when a plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, “[t]he court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litigation, 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks omitted). However, “[t]o survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must plead sufficient facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Id. (citation, footnote, and quotation marks omitted). On that point, the United States Supreme Court has explained:

A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement, ” but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citations and quotation marks omitted).

         In this lawsuit, plaintiff states his claim as follows:

On November 1st, 2017 I went to the clinic for emergency sick call, for swelling in my left leg. RN, John Polite, was the incharge nurse of the night shift. After I explained to him that I was in pain and my leg is constantly swelling (he) RN, John Polite, ignored me and denied me adequate medical treatment. In fact he never left the computer he was on. (See camera on unit) That's when another nurse urged the deputy whom escorted me to the clinic to bring me back to my said living quarters and to bring me back in the morning (which will be the morning shift). When the morning shift came on nobody summoned me to the clinic. When it became 24 hours later I declared myself another emergency sick call to the clinic. Soon as I arrived I was seen by RN, Payton, and soon as she seen that my left leg was infected and very swollen she immediately routed me out to University Medical Center. Whereas I was admitted and giving adequate medical treatment for the entire 2 days I was there, until the swelling & infection was gone. Please be advised that I have no right leg and no toes on my left leg due to gangegreen [sic] from 2013.[4]

         In his motion, the defendant argues that plaintiff's claim should be dismissed because he suffered nothing more than a one-day delay in receiving medical care and no substantial harm resulted from that delay. The defendant is correct.

         The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has held:

The Fourteenth Amendment provides that government officials may not disregard the “basic human needs” of pretrial detainees, which include medical care. Hare v. City of Corinth, Miss., 74 F.3d 633, 639 (5th Cir. 1996) (en banc). An official violates this clearly established right if actions are taken with deliberate indifference to the detainee's serious medical needs. Id. at 647-48. Deliberate indifference is shown where the official “knew of and disregarded an excessive risk to the inmate's health or safety.” Gibbs v. Grimmette, 254 F.3d 545, 549 (5th Cir. 2001).
Mere negligence is not sufficient to show deliberate indifference to medical needs. Id. “Rather, the plaintiff must show that the officials refused to treat him, ignored his complaints, intentionally treated him incorrectly, or engaged in any similar conduct that would clearly evince a wanton disregard for any serious medical needs.” Domino v. Tex. Dep't of Crim. Justice, 239 F.3d 752, 756 (5th Cir. 2001) (citation and quotation marks omitted). A delay in treatment is a constitutional violation only where “there has been deliberate indifference [that] results in substantial harm.” Easter v. Powell, 467 F.3d 459, 463 (5th Cir. 2006) (citation and quotation marks omitted) (alteration in original).

Flores v. Jaramillo, 389 Fed. App'x 393, 395 (5th Cir. 2010) (emphasis added); accord Childersv. San Saba County, 714 Fed. App'x 384, 386 (5th Cir. 2018); Rhine v. Ellison, 537 Fed. App'x 410, 411 (5th Cir. 2013) (affirming Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of inmate's medical claims, holding, “[a]lthough plaintiff alleged sufficient facts from which it could be inferred that [the defendants] knew that [plaintiff] believed her shoulder was hurt, her allegations do not permit the inference that these defendants knew that her shoulder injury posed a ...

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