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Adams v. Louisiana Dept. of Corr.

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

April 22, 2019

COREY MARQUEE ADAMS (#357624)
v.
LOUISIANA DEPT. OF CORR., ET AL.

          NOTICE

          RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Please take notice that the attached Magistrate Judge's Report has been filed with the Clerk of the United States District Court.

         In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), you have fourteen (14) days after being served with the attached Report to file written objections to the proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations therein. Failure to file written objections to the proposed findings, conclusions, and recommendations within 14 days after being served will bar you, except upon grounds of plain error, from attacking on appeal the unobjected-to proposed factual findings and legal conclusions of the Magistrate Judge which have been accepted by the District Court.

         ABSOLUTELY NO EXTENSION OF TIME SHALL BE GRANTED TO FILE WRITTEN OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT.

         MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

         This matter comes before the Court on Motions to Dismiss filed on behalf of defendants Louisiana Department of Corrections, James Leblanc, Darrel Vannoy, Jerry Goodwin, Joseph Lamartiniere, Stephanie Lamartiniere, Jimmy Smith, Tim Delaney, Kevin Benjamin, Randy Lavespere, Trent Barton, Shirley Cooley, Tracy Falgout, Matthew Gamble, Melvin Warner, Lonnie Nail, Justin Worsham, Michael Strain, Jesse Bellamy, Mark Hunter, Roy Adams, Roger Young, Steve Hayden, River Kirby, Marcia Booker, Carol Gilcrease, Herman Holmes, and Joel Williams (R. Docs. 36, 66, and 85). Two Motions (R. Docs. 66 and 85) are opposed. See R. Docs. 78 and 88.

         Pro se plaintiff, an inmate formerly confined at the Louisiana State Penitentiary (“LSP”), Angola, Louisiana, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. (“ADA”) against numerous defendants complaining that his constitutional rights were violated due to the use of excessive force and deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. As an initial matter, the Court notes that on April 3, 2019, the Court dismissed all of the plaintiff's claims, with prejudice, except the plaintiff's claim for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs asserted against defendants S. Lamartiniere, Adams, Dr. Lavespere, Dr. Gamble, Bellamy and Smith, and the plaintiff's claim for excessive force asserted against defendant Holmes, all occurring prior to March 1, 2017.[1]See R. Docs. 90 and 95. As such, the Motion to Dismiss filed on behalf of defendants Louisinaa Department of Corrections, James Leblanc, Darrel Vannoy, Jerry Goodwin, Joseph Lamartiniere, Stephanie Lamartiniere, Jimmy Smith, Tim Delaney, Kevin Benjamin, Randy Lavespere, Trent Barton, Shirley Cooley, Tracy Falgout, Matthew Gamble, Melvin Warner, Lonnie Nail, Justin Worsham, Michael Strain, Jesse Bellamy, Mark Hunter, Roy Adams, and Roger Young (R. Doc. 36) is moot except with regards to defendants S. Lamartiniere, Smith, Dr. Lavespere, Dr. Gamble, Bellamy, and Adams. The Motion to Dismiss filed on behalf of defendant Steve Hayden (R. Doc. 66) is moot in its entirety. The Motion to Dismiss filed on behalf of defendants River Kirby, Marcia Booker, Carol Gilcrease, Herman Holmes, and Joel Williams (R. Doc. 85) is moot except with regards to defendant Holmes.

         Turning to the claims not rendered moot by virtue of this Court's Ruling (R. Doc. 95), the moving defendants first seek dismissal on jurisdictional grounds, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, of the plaintiff's claim against them in their official capacities. In this regard, the defendants are correct that § 1983 does not provide a federal forum for a litigant who seeks monetary damages against either a state or its officials acting in their official capacities, specifically because these officials are not seen to be “persons” within the meaning of § 1983. Will v. Michigan Department of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). In addition, in Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21 (1991), the United States Supreme Court addressed the distinction between official capacity and individual capacity lawsuits and made clear that a suit against a state official in an official capacity for monetary damages is treated as a suit against the state and is therefore barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Id. at 25.

         Accordingly, the plaintiff's claims asserted against the defendants in their official capacities, for monetary damages, are subject to dismissal. In contrast, the plaintiff's claims for monetary damages asserted against the defendants in their individual capacities remain viable because a claim against a state official in an individual capacity, seeking to impose personal liability for actions taken under color of state law, is not treated as a suit against the state. Id. at 29. The plaintiff's claims for declaratory and injunctive relief asserted against the defendants in their official capacities also remain viable because such a claim is not treated as a claim against the state. Will v. Michigan Department of State Police, supra, 491 U.S. at 71 n.10. Of course, the plaintiff must prove a deprivation of a constitutional right to obtain any relief.

         Turning to the plaintiff's claims that are not subject to dismissal on the basis of Eleventh Amendment immunity, the defendants next assert, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, that the plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the Supreme Court clarified the standard of pleading that a plaintiff must meet in order to survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Specifically, “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, supra, at 555. “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, supra, 556 U.S. at 678, quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, supra. “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.” Id. It follows that, “where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.' ” Id. at 679. “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.' ” Id. at 678 (internal quotation marks omitted).

         On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court “must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the Complaint.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Further, “[a] document filed pro se is ‘to be liberally construed' ... and ‘a pro se Complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.' ” Id. (citation omitted). Notwithstanding, the court need not accept “a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation, ” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986), or “naked assertions [of unlawful conduct] devoid of further factual enhancement.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, supra, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal quotation marks omitted).

         In his Complaint as amended (R. Docs. 1, 6, 8, 31, and 69), the plaintiff alleges in short that on May 16, 2015 his upper body and head were shut in a cell door due to a mechanism dysfunction. As a result of the incident, the plaintiff began to suffer from vertigo and seizures which caused him to fall furthering injuring his head, neck, and back. The resultant unbearable pain causes the plaintiff to suffer from anxiety and depression resulting in acts of self-harm which include cutting of various body parts and banging of the head.

         Despite numerous requests for treatment of his pain, the plaintiff has not been provided with any form of effective treatment for his pain. On several occasions of self-harm, the plaintiff's resulting injuries were untreated or not promptly treated. On other occasions, the plaintiff's threats of self-harm were ignored resulting in the plaintiff being placed on standard watch only and ending in acts of self-harm. Additionally, the plaintiff has been written up for behaviors resulting from his mental illness and excessive force has been used against the plaintiff for the same reason. In September of 2017, the plaintiff filed a “sensitive ARP” directly with the secretary of the Department of Corrections. The ARP was rejected in October of 2017 and the details of the plaintiff's grievance became known at the prison. The following month, the plaintiff was transferred to the David Wade Correctional Center (“DWCC”) in retaliation for filing the “sensitive ARP.”

         At DWCC some of the plaintiff's property was lost and some was unfairly confiscated. The plaintiff's medical and mental health needs still remain untreated, and the plaintiff ...


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