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Matthews v. Corecivic

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division

May 8, 2017

CORECIVIC, et al.,

          Honorable Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr., Chief District Judge.


          BARBARA D. HOLMES United States Magistrate Judge.

         By Order entered December 20, 2016 (Docket Entry No. 3), the Court referred this pro se and in forma pauperis prisoner civil rights action 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.

         Presently pending is the motion to dismiss filed by Rhonda Staggs, Rhonda Riley, and Cherry Lindamood (Docket Entry No. 19), to which no response in opposition has been filed. For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned Magistrate Judge respectfully recommends that the motion be granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Mack Matthews (“Plaintiff”) is an inmate of the Tennessee Department of Correction (“TDOC”) currently confined at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility. He filed this lawsuit pro se and in forma pauperis on December 12, 2016, seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his constitutional rights alleged to have occurred during his prior confinement at the South Central Correctional Facility (“SCCF”) in Clifton, Tennessee. Upon the Court's initial review of the lawsuit under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, Plaintiff was found to have alleged an arguable Eighth Amendment claim based upon allegations that he was denied constitutionally adequate medical care. All other claims alleged by Plaintiff, including claims for the unlawful deprivation of property, were dismissed for failure to state a colorable claim for relief under Section 1983. See Docket Entry No. 3 at 2-3.[1]

         An answer was filed on behalf of Defendant CoreCivic (formerly doing business as Corrections Corporation of America). See Docket Entry No. 18. In lieu of an answer, Defendants Rhonda Staggs, Rhonda Riley, and Cherry Lindamood (hereinafter referred to collectively as the “Individual Defendants”) have filed the pending motion to dismiss. The Individual Defendants argue that they should be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Specifically, they contend that the only factual allegation made against them in the Complaint pertain to the wrongful deprivation of property claims that were dismissed upon initial review and that there are no factual allegations made against them that support their individual liability with respect to Plaintiff's inadequate medical care claim. See Memorandum in Support (Docket Entry No. 20) at 3. They further argue against the viability of either a Fourteenth Amendment deprivation of property claim or a state law claim brought pursuant to discretionary supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Id. at 4-6.

         By Order entered March 14, 2017 (Docket Entry No. 32), the Court notified Plaintiff of the motion to dismiss and gave him a deadline of April 21, 2017, to file a response. To date, Plaintiff has not filed a response to the motion.[2]


         A 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. 2000).


         The motion to dismiss should be granted. A defendant cannot be held individually liable under Section 1983 for constitutional violations absent a showing that the defendant was personally involved in some manner in the allegedly unconstitutional conduct. Miller v. Calhoun County, 408 F.3d 803, 817, n.3 (6th Cir. 2005); Hardin v. Straub, 954 F.2d 1193, 1196 (6th Cir. 1992). Although the Complaint contains specific factual allegations against the Individual Defendants pertaining to the dismissed wrongful deprivation of property claims, see Docket Entry No. 1 at 4-5, the Complaint's fairly brief factual allegations concerning Plaintiff's medical care are devoid of any allegations of involvement by the Individual Defendants in his medical care. Id. at 10. There are simply no allegations made by Plaintiff supporting a claim that these three Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care. Additionally respondeat superior is not a basis for liability under Section 1983, see Monell v. Department of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72, 375-77, 96 S.Ct. 598, 46 L.Ed.2d 561 (1976), and the Individual Defendants cannot be held personally liable under Section 1983 merely because they hold supervisory positions at the SCCF. See Phillips v. Roane Cnty., Tenn., 534 F.3d 531, 543 (6th Cir. 2008); Shehee v. Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir. 1999), cert. denied, 530 U.S. 1264, 120 S.Ct. 2724, 147 L.Ed.2d 988 (2000); Hays v. Jefferson Cnty., 668 F.2d 869, 872 (6th Cir. 1982).


         Based on the foregoing, the undersigned Magistrate Judge respectfully RECOMMENDS that the motion to dismiss (Docket Entry No. 19) filed by Defendants Rhonda Staggs, Rhonda Riley, and Cherry Lindamood be ...

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