United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WAFORD K. BRYANT
BRUCE WESTBROOKS, et al.
REPORT AND RECOMENDATION
BARBARA D. HOLMES United States Magistrate Judge.
Order entered December 6, 2016 (Docket Entry No. 5), this
prisoner civil rights action was referred to the Magistrate
Judge for pretrial proceedings under 28 U.S.C. §§
636(b)(1)(A) and (B), Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, and the Local Rules of Court.
pending before the Court is the motion to dismiss (Docket
Entry No. 15) filed by Defendant Charles Sidberry. For the
reasons set out below, the Court recommends that the motion
Bryant (“Plaintiff”) is an inmate of the
Tennessee Department of Correction (“TDOC”)
confined at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution
(“RMSI”) in Nashville, Tennessee. On November 21,
2016, he filed this action pro se and in forma
pauperis against five prison officials at the RMSI
seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged
violations of his civil rights. He alleges that his Eighth
Amendment right to medical care was violated at the RMSI when
he was not appropriately treated after it was discovered that
he had foreign objects lodged in his stomach.
Plaintiff alleges that, on May 13, 2016, RMSI Physician Dr.
Charles Sidberry (“Sidberry”) wrote an order
directing that Plaintiff, who suffers from a mental illness,
be transported to an off-premises hospital after an x-ray
revealed that Plaintiff had a foreign object lodged in his
stomach. See Complaint (Docket No. 1) at 7.
Plaintiff alleges that RMSI Warden Bruce Westbrooks
(“Westbrooks”) disregarded Sidberry's order
and directed RMSI Captain and Chief of Security Earnest Lewis
(“Lewis”) to not transport Plaintiff to the
hospital. Id. at 7-8. Plaintiff alleges that he was,
nonetheless, subsequently transported to the Nashville
General Hospital on May 26, 2016, where, after an examination
and testing, the emergency room physician told the Plaintiff
that the foreign object had perforated his bowel and caused
an infection, necessitating immediate, emergency surgery.
Id. at 7. Plaintiff alleges that, on August 13,
2016, he again had an x-ray taken that revealed a foreign
object lodged in his stomach. Id. at 8. He alleges
that, instead of being given any treatment or being
transported to an outside hospital, he was placed in
four-point restraints at the RMSI. Id. He contends
that he eventually developed a fever, which prompted
emergency blood work on August 13, 2016, showing that he
again had an infection. Id. He was then transported
to TDOC's DeBerry Special Needs Facility, where he
underwent a CT-scan, and then was transported to an outside
initial review, the Court directed that process issue to: 1)
Defendants Westbrooks and Lewis on Plaintiff's claim that
they violated his Eighth Amendment rights by preventing him
from receiving treatment related to the May 2016 events; and
2) to Defendant Sidberry on Plaintiff's claim that he
violated Plaintiff' Eighth Amendment rights by failing to
ensure that he was sent to an off-site hospital on August 13,
2016, for treatment for another medial problem that caused
Plaintiff's condition to worsen. See Memorandum
(Docket Entry No. 4) at 4. Although the Court dismissed
claims brought against two of the other prison officials
named in the complaint, the Court found that the claims
against Defendants Westbrooks, Lewis, and Sidberry should
proceed for further factual development. Id.
Defendants Earnest Lewis and Bruce Westbrooks have filed an
answer to the complaint, see Docket Entry No. 32,
and a scheduling order has been entered providing for a
period of pretrial activity in the action. See
Docket Entry No. 34.
January 30, 2017, Defendant Sidberry filed his motion to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure in lieu of an answer. He argues that
Plaintiff's allegations fail to support a claim that
Sidberry acted with deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff's serious medical needs, which is the standard
required for an Eighth Amendment claim. See
Memorandum in Support (Docket Entry No. 16) at 3-6. He
further contends that Plaintiff has not exhausted his
administrative remedies for his claim against Defendant
Sidberry, as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).
Id. at 7-9. Finally, Defendant Sidberry asserts
that, to the extent that Plaintiff's complaint can be
read to assert a medical malpractice or negligence claim
under Tennessee law, the complaint does not show that
Plaintiff has complied with the pre-suit requirements
necessary to pursue such a claim. Id. at 6-7.
Plaintiff has not responded to the motion to dismiss.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion to dismiss filed under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure is reviewed under the standard that
the Court must accept as true all of the well-pleaded
allegations contained in the complaint and construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Morgan v. Church's Fried Chicken, 829 F.2d 10,
11-12 (6th Cir. 1987). Although a complaint need not contain
detailed factual allegations, the factual allegations
supplied must be enough to show a plausible right to relief.
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555-61, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (abrogating
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d
80 (1957)). See also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). 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.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In review of the sufficiency
of the complaint, the Court need not accept as true legal
conclusions or unwarranted factual inferences. See
Gregory v. Shelby County, 220 F.3d 433, 446 (6th Cir.
the Court notes that nowhere in Plaintiff's pleadings
does he assert a claim under state law. Nor did the Court in
its initial review of the Complaint construe the complaint as
asserting anything other than claims brought by Plaintiff
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his
constitutional rights. Accordingly, Defendant Sidberry's
argument regarding the inadequacy of any state law claims is
not germane to the issues raised in this case.
Section 1983 claim against Defendant Sidberry should be
dismissed because Plaintiff has not shown that the claim has
been administratively exhausted. The Prison Litigation Reform
Act (“PLRA”) provides that:
No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions
under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law,
by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other
correctional facility until such ...