United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
H.L. PEREZ-MONTES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court are virtually identical Rule 12(b)(6) Motions to
Dismiss filed by Defendants Concordia Parish Sheriff Kenneth
Hedrick (âSheriff Hedrickâ), Concordia Parish Deputy Sheriff
Brown (âBrownâ), and Concordia Parish Deputy Sheriff Brock
(âBrockâ) (collectively referred to as âDefendantsâ). (Docs.
22, 36). Plaintiff James Thompson (âThompsonâ) opposes the
motions. (Docs. 29, 38).
Thompson fails to state a plausible claim for relief against
Defendants in both their individual and official capacities
under § 1983, and because Brown and Brock are entitled
to qualified immunity, Defendants' motions (Docs. 22, 36)
should be GRANTED IN PART. Because Sheriff Hedrick is subject
to vicarious liability under state law, Defendants'
motions (Docs. 22, 36) should be DENIED IN PART. And because
the undersigned recommends dismissal of all federal claims,
the Court should decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over Thompson's state law claims.
filed this civil rights action, in forma pauperis,
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, asserting violation of his
Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care while housed
at both the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility (the
“Correctional Facility”) and Concordia Parish
Work Release Facility (the “Work Release
Facility”). (Docs. 1, 35). Thompson also asserts
supplemental state law claims under La. R.S. 9:2798.1. (Docs.
1, 35). Thompson names as Defendants Sheriff Hedrick, Brown,
Brock, and Concordia Parish Deputy Sheriff Deborah Cowan
(“Cowan”), in their individual and official
capacities. (Docs. 1, 35).
has a history of high blood pressure, acid reflux, and
asthma, for which he takes daily medications. (Docs. 1, 35).
Thompson was sentenced to ninety days following a probation
revocation hearing on July 11, 2016. (Docs. 1, 35). After
being incarcerated for one week at the Rapides Parish
Detention Center (“RPDC”), he was transferred to
the Correctional Facility. (Docs. 1, 35). Thompson asserts he
inquired about his medications and was initially told by a
staff member that they were with his belongings. (Docs. 1,
35). After a couple of days, Thompson claims he did not find
his medications with his belongings and inquired again.
(Docs. 1, 35). He was told by an unknown staff member that
the Correctional Facility never received his medications.
(Docs. 1, 35). He was then transferred to the Work Release
Facility. (Docs. 1, 35).
arrival at the Work Release Facility, Thompson asked again
for his medications without success. (Docs. 1, 35). Thompson
claims he was eventually assessed by Cowan, a nurse, who gave
him ibuprofen, an unidentified blood pressure pill (not
resembling his own), and acid reflux medication. (Docs. 1,
35). Despite some relief, Thompson asserts he asked Cowan to
pull his pharmacy records from any CVS Pharmacy to obtain the
names of his medications and primary physicians. (Docs. 1,
35). Thompson claims his request was ignored. (Doc. 1, 35).
Thompson further asserts he recommended that Cowan contact
the RPDC to locate the medications, and that request was also
ignored. (Docs. 1, 35).
at the Work Release Facility, Thompson admits he received
asthma treatment two times a day and had his blood pressure
checked three times a day. (Docs. 1, 35). The asthma
treatment was effective, but Thompson claims his blood
pressure remained elevated at every check. (Docs. 1, 35).
Thompson asserts Cowan did not believe Thompson needed his
prescribed blood pressure medication. (Docs. 1, 35). Thompson
asserts that over the next 20 days, Thompson asked Cowan for
the correct medication daily but was told “you will get
your medicine.” (Doc. 35). Thompson claims he never
received the correct medication, and was instead forced to
take the blood pressure medication given to him. (Doc. 35).
Thompson complained daily to Cowan that the medication she
was giving him was not working because he was constantly at a
loss of breath, the right side of his body was numb, and had
a constant dull headache. (Doc. 35). Thompson asserts that,
during this same twenty-day period, he asked to see a doctor
three to four times a week. (Doc. 35).
began having chest pains on August 14, 2016, and informed
Brown he believed he was having a heart attack and needed to
go to the hospital immediately. (Docs. 1, 35). Brown
responded that Thompson needed a nebulizer treatment. (Docs.
1, 35). Thompson claims that, immediately thereafter, he lost
his bowels and asked Brown for assistance to the restroom.
(Docs. 1, 35). Brown refused. (Docs. 1, 35). Thompson
contends Brock, upon witnessing the incident and instead of
calling 911, transported Thompson to Riverland Medical
Center. (Docs. 1, 35). Thompson was then transferred to
Rapides Regional Medical Center for treatment of a heart
attack. (Docs. 1, 35).
asserts he had a heart attack due to not taking the proper
medication and that, after an uneventful stent surgery, he
remained hospitalized for six days. (Docs. 1, 35). Thompson
claims he had approximately 45 days remaining on his sentence
and expected to be brought back to the Correctional Facility.
(Doc. 35). But he was told he was free to go. (Doc. 35).
Thompson asserts Sheriff Hedrick has a policy of keeping
operation costs down by providing “cheap” medical
care, jeopardizing inmate safety. (Doc. 35). Thompson claims
Sheriff Hedrick released him to avoid responsibility for
follow-up treatment, or additional medical treatment of
possible complications. (Doc. 35). Thompson contends Brown
and Cowan were still under a duty to provide adequate medical
treatment to him after he was released from the hospital, if
needed. (Doc. 35).
contends Sheriff Hedrick was the responsible decisionmaker
and policymaker for the Concordia Parish Sheriff's
Department (“CPSD”). (Docs. 1, 35). Thompson
asserts Sheriff Hedrick employed Brown, Brock, and Cowan as
full-time sheriff deputies for the CPSD. (Docs. 1, 35).
Thompson claims Defendants were deliberately indifferent to
his serious medical needs leading to, and after, a heart
attack, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Docs. 1, 35).
Thompson contends Sheriff Hedrick is also liable under state
law, La. R.S. 9:2798.1, for Defendants' “tortuous,
criminal, fraudulent, malicious, intentional, willful,
outrageous, reckless, and flagrant acts, ” while in the
course and scope of their employment for Sheriff Hedrick.
(Docs. 1, 35). Thompson further asserts claims under §
1983 against Sheriff Hedrick for the actions of Brown, Brock,
and Cowan, due to lack of training. (Docs. 1, 35).
response, Defendants seek dismissal of Thompson's claims.
(Docs. 22, 36). Thompson responded to the first motion
seeking leave to amend, which the Court granted. (Docs. 27,
34). Thompson's First Supplemental and Amended Complaint
corrects the mis-naming of Cowan, as noted above, and alleges
more specific factual allegations regarding Defendants'
alleged deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs,
as set forth above. (Doc. 35). Thompson also opposes both
motions to dismiss. (Docs. 29, 38).
Law and Analysis
Standards governing the 12(b)(6) Motion to
may grant a motion to dismiss for “failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted” under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A pleading states a claim for relief
when, inter alia, it contains a “short and
plain statement . . . showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
withstand 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) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible when it contains
sufficient factual content for the court “to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. Plausibility does not
equate to possibility or probability; it lies somewhere in
between. Id. Plausibility simply calls for enough
factual allegations to raise a reasonable expectation that
discovery will reveal evidence to support the elements of the
claim. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. The court must
view all well-pleaded facts in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff. Yumilicious Francise, L.L.C. v.
Barrie, 819 F.3d 170, 174 (5th Cir. 2016).
the court must accept as true all factual allegations set
forth in the complaint, the same presumption does not extend
to legal conclusions. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A
pleading comprised of labels and conclusions, a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action, or naked
assertions devoid of further factual enhancement, will not
stand. Id. Similarly, where the well-pleaded facts
do not permit the Court to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but
not “shown” - that the pleader is entitled to
relief. Id. at 679.
determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for
relief, a court draws on its judicial experience and common
sense. Id. In considering a motion to dismiss, a
court can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that,
because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled
to the assumption of truth. Id. While legal
conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they
must be supported by factual allegations. Id.
a court should not dismiss an action for failure to state a
claim under Rule 12(b)(6) without giving plaintiff “at
least one chance to amend.” Hernandez v. Ikon Ofc.
Solutions, Inc., 306 Fed.Appx. 180, 182 (5th Cir. 2009);
accord Great Plains Trust Co. v. Morgan Stanley Dean
Witter & Co., 313 F.3d 305, 329 (5th Cir. 2002).
However, that general rule does not apply if an amendment
would be futile. Townsend v. BAC Home Loans Serv'g,
L.P., 461 Fed.App'x. 367, 372 (5th Cir. 2011);
Jaso v. The Coca Cola Co., 435 Fed.App'x. 346,
351-52 (5th Cir. 2011). Futility in this context means
“that the amended complaint would fail to state a claim
upon which relief could be granted . . . [Thus, ] to
determine futility, we will apply the same standard of legal
sufficiency as ...