United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
H SHARP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court in this civil rights lawsuit are Motions to
Dismiss filed by three of the individual Defendants. One,
filed by Defendant Richard Middleton (Docket No. 82), seeks
dismissal on the merits and will be denied. The other two,
filed by Defendants Kevin Cole (Docket No. 90) and Michael
McCoy (Docket No. 92), seek dismissal on statute of
limitations grounds and will be granted.
order to place the present arguments in context, only a bit
of background is necessary. Drawn from the now-controlling
100-page, 730-paragraph Second Amended Complaint, the
relevant factual allegations are as follows.
was arrested on April 29, 2015, and booked into the Davidson
County Male Correctional Development Center
(“CDC”) as a pretrial detainee. On August 8,
2015, he was in the common area of the C-pod at CDC having a
discussion with his bunkmate about the law.
asked correctional officer Patrick Vongsamphanh, a Defendant
herein, to change the television channel. Apparently
disagreeing with what Plaintiff was telling his cell mate,
Defendant Vongsamphanh confronted Plaintiff and tried to grab
him in an effort to take him to a holding cell. Plaintiff
demurred, backed up, sat down in a chair, and asked to speak
to the Lieutenant on duty.
none of it, Defendant Vongsamphanh radioed for back up
(i.e. called a “Code Red”), yanked
Plaintiff out of the chair, and twisted his arm behind his
back. Defendant Vongsamphanh then attempted a double-leg
takedown, picked Plaintiff up, and slammed him head first
into the floor. While Plaintiff was prone, Defendant
Vongsamphanh kneed him in the back and handcuffed his hands
behind his back.
head slam caused Plaintiff to temporarily lose consciousness.
When he awoke, Plaintiff was groaning and said that he could
not move his extremities. His breathing was labored, he was
not moving, and he was lying in a pool of blood.
correctional officers, including Casey Fiddler, David Jones
and Gregory Williamson, all Defendants herein, responded to
the “Code Red.” Despite seeing Plaintiff's
condition and hearing his complaints, those Defendants forced
Plaintiff to stand and allowed him to collapse to the floor
when his legs gave out. Defendants Fiddler and Jones then
dragged Plaintiff into the hallway and pinned him up against
a nurse also responded to the back-up call, as did Defendant
Middleton, who rolled Plaintiff over so that the nurse could
finish her examination. When the nurse ordered that Plaintiff
be transported to the hospital, Defendants Williamson and
Jones, under the supervision and direction of Defendant Kevin
Cole, forcibly changed Plaintiff's clothing and placed
him in a squad car.
Michael McCoy shackled Plaintiff's hands and feet and
drove him to Nashville General Hospital. Because Plaintiff
was unable to use his arms or legs, Defendant McCoy pulled
him out of the car and dragged him into the hospital.
hospital, Plaintiff was stabilized and an ambulance was
called to transport him to the Vanderbilt University Medical
Center for more emergent care. Plaintiff was placed on a
backboard, and a cervical collar was fitted around his neck.
Ambulance attendants reported that Plaintiff did not move his
arms or legs during the trip to Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt, Plaintiff was intubated, a tracheotomy tube was
inserted, and he was placed on mechanical ventilation for
respiratory failure. Physicians ordered a series of tests and
procedures, including a CT scan of the head, cervical spine,
chest, abdomen and pelvis, and X-rays of the chest and
pelvis. These tests indicated neurologic deficits and a
cervical spine injury.
after the incident, Plaintiff underwent an emergency C3-C6
laminectomy and spinal fusion at Vanderbilt. He remained on
mechanical ventilation for respiratory failure.
point, he was transferred from Vanderbilt to the Lois M.
DeBerry Special Needs Facility, a Tennessee Department of
Corrections facility. On November 25, 2015 Plaintiff was
transferred to the Spinal Cord Injury Center at the
Veteran's Affairs Medical Center (“VA Medical
Center”) in Memphis, Tennessee for more aggressive
rehabilitation. After a stint in a private rehabilitation
facility where Plaintiff's condition deteriorated, he was
returned to the VA Medical Center and remains there today.
claims that as a result of the incident at the CDC he
suffered paralysis, chronic neck pain, severe spasticity,
insomnia, and tingling in both upper extremities. Suit was
filed in this Court on July 8, 2016. The Second Amended
Complaint filed some 4½ months later brings a number
of federal and state claims against a dozen named Defendants
and eight “John Doe” Defendants.
Defendant Middleton's Motion to Dismiss (Docket No.
sues Defendant Middleton under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for
excessive force and deliberate indifference to a serious
medical need in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the
United States Constitution. He also sues that Defendant for
assault and ...