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Henderson v. Rogers

United States District Court, D. Maine

March 3, 2015

THOMAS HENDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
VICTORIA ROGERS, et al., Defendants.

RECOMMENDED DECISION

JOHN C. NIVISON, Magistrate Judge.

In this action, Plaintiff Thomas Henderson, proceeding pro se, alleges that Defendants failed to treat him properly in connection with a medical incident occurring at the Maine Correctional Center.

The matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss of Defendants Keith, Garland, Reed, and Smith (the "Correctional Defendants") (ECF No. 11) and the Motion to Dismiss of Defendants Rogers and Stockwell (the "Medical Defendants") (ECF No. 15).[1] As explained below, following a review of the pleadings, and after consideration of the parties' arguments, the recommendation is that the Court grant the motions.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The facts set forth herein are derived from Plaintiff's Complaint (ECF No. 1), which facts are deemed true when evaluating the Motion to Dismiss.[2] Beddall v. State St. Bank & Trust Co., 137 F.3d 12, 16 (1st Cir. 1998). In his Complaint, filed September 12, 2014, Plaintiff stated that he sued each individual defendant in his or her "official capacity" and alleged that Defendants, who consist of a group of corrections officers and a group of medical providers, failed to address properly a medical incident. Plaintiff asserts that on July 12, 2014, at 7:39 p.m., Plaintiff reported to Defendant David Keith, the corrections officer on duty, that he had sneezed, had become incontinent of urine, could not move from his seated position, and was in a lot of pain. Defendant Keith called the medical department. Defendant Victoria Rogers, a medical technician and employee of Correctional Care Services, responded to the call. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Rogers initially laughed when Plaintiff said he could not move. By 7:55 p.m., Defendant Rogers called Defendant Dr. Stockwell, who advised Defendant Rogers that she should provide Plaintiff with hydrocodone and attempt to get Plaintiff into his bed. Defendant Rogers administered the drug and returned at approximately 8:15. At that time, Plaintiff still complained of great pain and advised that he could not feel his legs and was still sitting in his urine. Defendant Rogers consulted Dr. Stockwell again, and he directed Defendant Rogers to give Plaintiff an injection of Toradol. Defendant Rogers, however, consulted Plaintiff's medical chart and noted that Plaintiff has an allergy that precludes Plaintiff taking Toradol.

At 8:15, Defendants had two inmates hold Plaintiff while the table on which he was seated was removed and a wheelchair was placed beneath Plaintiff. Defendants attempted to move Plaintiff to his cell, but the cell door would not accommodate his wheelchair. Plaintiff waited outside his cell for a period of time, and he was incontinent of urine once more. Plaintiff advised Defendant Keith of that fact.

At or around 10:15 p.m., all named Defendants except Dr. Stockwell rolled Plaintiff into the bathroom of his housing unit and attempted to move him, without success, into another chair. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Rogers declined to help bathe him. At that time, Defendant Captain Kenneth Reed asked Defendant Rogers about Dr. Stockwell's recommendation. Defendant Rogers advised that Dr. Stockwell had not answered the phone. Defendant Reed instructed Defendant Rogers to call the Health Services Administrator, who authorized Defendants to call an ambulance. Plaintiff alleges that while they waited for the ambulance to arrive, Defendant Rogers asked Plaintiff not to tell anyone that she had refused to clean him. Plaintiff asserts that he was not cleaned for three and one half hours.

At the hospital, Plaintiff received an MRI. The MRI revealed degenerative disk disease at multiple levels, including discs one through five of the lumbar spine, and sacral disc one.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' response to his medical condition violated his constitutional rights and amounted to a breach of the standard of medical care. Plaintiff also alleges assault. Plaintiff requests declaratory relief, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. Plaintiff's request for money damages is based on the fact that he had "to sit in his own urine for hours, " and that he was not brought to the hospital "timely."

DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may seek dismissal of "a claim for relief in any pleading" if that party believes that the pleading fails "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." In its assessment of the motion, courts must "assume the truth of all well-plead facts and give the plaintiff[] the benefit of all reasonable inferences therefrom." Blanco v. Bath Iron Works Corp., 802 F.Supp.2d 215, 221 (D. Me. 2011) (quoting Genzyme Corp. v. Fed. Ins. Co., 622 F.3d 62, 68 (1st Cir. 2010)). To overcome the motion, a plaintiff must establish that his allegations raise a plausible basis for a fact finder to conclude that one or more defendants are legally responsible for the claims at issue. Id. The relevant question when assessing plausibility "is not whether the complaint makes any particular factual allegations but, rather, whether the complaint warrant[s] dismissal because it failed in toto to render plaintiffs' entitlement to relief plausible.'" Rodríguez-Reyes v. Molina-Rodríguez, 711 F.3d 49, 55 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 569 n.14 (2007)).

B. The Motions

The Correctional Defendants contend that they are entitled to dismissal of Plaintiff's claims because, even if the allegations are true, they do not state a claim of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. The Correctional Defendants also argue that dismissal is warranted because Plaintiff has sued them in their official rather than personal capacities. (Correctional Defendants' Reply, ECF No. 19, at 1.) They otherwise assert that the state law negligence claim should be dismissed without ...


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