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Rutland v. Harris

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

May 27, 2014

CLARENCE J. RUTLAND, Plaintiff,
v.
IKE HARRIS, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

TERRY F. MOORER, Magistrate Judge.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) this case was referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for review and submission of a report with recommended findings of fact and conclusions of law (Doc. 21, filed July 19, 2013). Pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 35, filed December 31, 2013). The Court has carefully reviewed the Motion to Dismiss, the brief filed in opposition to the Motion (Docs. 35, 38) and the supporting and opposing evidentiary materials. For good cause, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that the Defendant's Motion be GRANTED.

I. JURISDICTION

The district court has subject matter jurisdiction over the claims in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Civil Rights Act of 1871, as amended) action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question jurisdiction). The parties do not contest personal jurisdiction or venue, and there are adequate allegations to support both.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Although it must accept well-pled facts as true, the court is not required to accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) ("[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions"). In evaluating the sufficiency of a plaintiff's pleadings, the court must indulge reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor, "but we are not required to draw plaintiff's inference." Aldana v. Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A., Inc., 416 F.3d 1242, 1248 (11th Cir. 2005). Similarly, "unwarranted deductions of fact" in a complaint are not admitted as true for the purpose of testing the sufficiency of plaintiff's allegations. Id .; see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 680, 129 S.Ct. at 1951 (stating conclusory allegations are "not entitled to be assumed true").

A complaint may be dismissed if the facts as pled do not state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679, 129 S.Ct. at 1950 (explaining "only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss"); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 561-62, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (retiring the prior "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts" standard). In Twombly, the Supreme Court emphasized that a complaint "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Factual allegations in a complaint need not be detailed but "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Id. at 555 (internal citations and emphasis omitted).

More recently, in Iqbal, the Supreme Court reiterated that although FED. R. CIV. P. 8 does not require detailed factual allegations; it does demand "more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. A complaint must state a plausible claim for relief, and "[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." Id. The mere possibility the defendant acted unlawfully is insufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. Id. The well-pled allegations must nudge the claim "across the line from conceivable to plausible." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

III. BACKGROUND

The Court accepts as true all relevant facts set forth by the Plaintiff in his Amended Complaint (Doc. 4) and supplemental Statement of Facts (Doc. 18 at 3-6). As best as this Court can discern, this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action arises out of a single incident which led to Plaintiff's two separate claims.

Clarence J. Rutland ("Rutland" or "Plaintiff") states that he is a lifelong diabetic that requires daily medication to control his condition. See Doc. 1 at 5. In or around May 2011, Correctional Officer Ike Harris ("Harris" or "Defendant") was in charge of the "pill call" line for distribution of prescribed medication to the inmates at Kilby Correctional Facility. See Doc. 18 at 3. Pill distribution was running behind schedule, and Rutland was forced to stand for an extended period of time causing medical problems with his feet related to his diabetes. Id. Rutland informed Harris that he is diabetic, to which Harris responded "shut the f*** up, I'm running this pill call line." Id.

After an hour long wait, Rutland reached the nurse's counter and stood side-by-side with another inmate. See Doc. 18 at 4. After both Rutland's and his fellow inmate's medication had been placed on the counter, an incident occurred with the other inmate and Harris told him to leave the window. Id. Harris then picked up one of the cups containing medication and handed it to Rutland. Id. Harris told Rutland to swallow them. Id. Rutland noticed that the medication did not look like his regular diabetes medication, but he took it as Harris instructed without objection. Id. Within five minutes Rutland became ill. Id.

Rutland went to the lunch room, but he was unable to eat and nearly lost consciousness. See Doc. 18 at 4. Since Rutland felt sick, he attempted to leave the lunch room; however, he was stopped by Harris who said "haa motherf***er where the f*** you think you going." See Doc. 18 at 5. Rutland did not respond because he was "extremely sick." Id. Harris took Rutland to the warden for "insubordination" and for being "extremely loud." Id. Although the circumstances are unclear, Rutland claims that due to this false disciplinary action taken against him, he was placed in segregation at some point in 2012. See Doc. 4 at 5.

Rutland claims that Harris violated his constitutional rights by acting with a deliberate indifference to his medical needs and for false disciplinary actions taken against him. See Doc. 18 at 8. Rutland requests one million dollars in ...


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