United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
J. CAMPBELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are five motions to dismiss (Doc. Nos. 25, 28, 30,
33, 35) filed by defendants the Metropolitan Government of
Nashville & Davidson County, Tennessee
(“Metro”), Daron Hall, Tony M. Wilkes, Richard
Middleton, Casey Fiddler, David Jones, Kyle Kort, Gregory
Williamson, and Antoine Smith.
Factual and Procedural Background
Edgar Mhoon instituted this action on July 8, 2016 against
the above-referenced defendants as well as Patrick
Vongsamphanh, Caylan Hawkins, and eight “John
Doe” defendants. He filed his Amended Complaint (Doc. No.
16) on August 8, 2016. In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff
asserts that, on August 8, 2015, while he was a pretrial
detainee in the custody of the Davidson County Sheriff's
Office (“DCSO”), a division of Metro, he was
brutally assaulted by Vongsamphanh “and/or other
Defendants” who also thereafter demonstrated deliberate
indifference to serious medical injuries resulting from the
assault by forcibly changing his clothes and then
transporting him to the hospital in a police car instead of
asserts that, as a result of this incident, he suffered
severe trauma, including serious spinal injuries that left
him paralyzed. Plaintiff was initially transported to
Nashville General Hospital and then transferred to Vanderbilt
University Medical Center. After having undergone numerous
medical procedures, he currently resides at a private
rehabilitation facility in Memphis, Tennessee.
on the assault and its aftermath, Plaintiff asserts eight
counts in the Amended Complaint, as follows:
• Claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and
1986 for excessive force and cruel and unusual punishment, in
violation of his rights under the Fourth, Eighth, and
Fourteenth Amendments, against all Defendants (Counts One
• State-law claims of assault and battery against the
individual Defendants (Count Four);
• Claim against Metro under Tenn. Code Ann. §
8-8-302 arising out of the individual Defendants'
intentional acts (Count Five);
• Claims of deliberate indifference to serious medical
needs against Metro and the individual Defendants insofar as
their actions “were not customary or in compliance with
DCSO practice and policy” (Am. Compl. at 19), in
violation of Fourteenth Amendment of the United States
Constitution and Article 1, Section 8 of the Tennessee
Constitution (Count Six);
• Claims of intentional infliction of emotional
distress/outrageous conduct against all Defendants (Count
• Negligence claims under the Tennessee Governmental
Tort Liability Act, Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-20-101, et
seq., against all Defendants (Count Eight).
seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney
fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988.
seek dismissal of all claims against them. Plaintiff does not
oppose the motion filed by Antoine Smith. (See Doc.
No. 40.) That motion (Doc. No. 35) will therefore be granted
without discussion and the claims against Smith dismissed
the remaining motions, Plaintiff does not contest the
dismissal of his claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985 and
1986, and he concedes that, because he was a pretrial
detainee rather than an arrestee or convicted prisoner at the
time the events alleged in this action occurred, his rights
were protected by the Fourteenth Amendment rather than the
Eighth or Fourth. Accordingly, the claims asserted against
all Defendants under §§ 1985 and 1986, and those
§ 1983 claims premised on alleged violations of
Plaintiff's rights under the Fourth and Eighth
Amendments, will be dismissed without discussion.
also does not oppose Defendants' contention that, to the
extent that Plaintiff invokes the Tennessee Constitution as
the basis for any of his civil rights claims, such claims
should be dismissed because Tennessee law does not recognize
a private right of action for damages based on violations of
the Tennessee Constitution. See Bowden Bldg. Corp. v.
Tenn. Real Estate Comm'n, 15 S.W.3d 434, 446 (Tenn.
Ct. App. 1999) (no “implied cause of action for
damages” for violations of the Tennessee Constitution);
Cline v. Rogers, 87 F.3d 176, 179-80 (6th Cir.
1996). Any claim for violation of the Tennessee Constitution
will also be dismissed.
Plaintiff opposes the motions to dismiss and, in the
alternative, requests in response to some of the motions that
he be permitted the opportunity to amend his complaint prior
to dismissal if the Court is inclined to grant
Standard of Review
motions to dismiss are filed under Rule 12(b)(6). In deciding
a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule
12(b)(6), the Court will “construe the complaint in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept its allegations
as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
plaintiff.” Directv, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d
471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007). The complaint's allegations
“must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). To establish the
“facial plausibility” required to “unlock
the doors of discovery, ” the plaintiff cannot rely on
“legal conclusions” or “[t]hreadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, ” but,
instead, must plead “factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). “[O]nly a
complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a
motion to dismiss.” Id. at 679;
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.
Casey Fiddler, David Jones, Kyle Kort, and Gregory
Williamson's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 33); Richard
Middleton's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 25)
asserts federal claims against Defendants Fiddler, Jones,
Kort, Williamson, and Middleton (the “Fiddler
Defendants”),  under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the use of
excessive force and deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs; and state law claims of assault and battery,
intentional infliction of emotional distress/outrageous
conduct, and negligence. In their motions to dismiss, the
Fiddler Defendants argue that (1) the individual capacity
claims § 1983 claims must be dismissed because the
complaint does not adequately allege each Defendant's
personal involvement in the events giving rise to
Plaintiff's injuries, and the Defendants are entitled to
qualified immunity; (2) the Court should decline to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state-law
claims if the federal claims are dismissed; and (3)
alternatively, Plaintiff's outrageous conduct claim
should be ...