United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Middle Division
OWEN BOWDRE, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the court on motions to dismiss Plaintiff
Stephen Hammonds's Second Amended Complaint (doc. 39)
filed by Defendants DeKalb County (doc. 45), Sheriff Jimmy
Harris (doc. 47), and Robert Theakston and Matthew Martin
(doc. 49). Mr. Hammonds alleges violations of his Fourteenth
Amendment rights through § 1983 and discrimination
through the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act. While a pretrial detainee at the DeKalb County jail, Mr.
Hammonds, a Type-I diabetic, suffered a serious medical
crisis, which, Mr. Hammonds claims, Defendants caused or
failed to timely address.
reasons stated in this Memorandum Opinion, the court will
GRANT the County's and Sheriff Harris's motions to
dismiss and GRANT IN PART and DENY IN PART Dr. Theakston and
Mr. Martin's motion to dismiss. Specifically, the court
will DISMISS WITH PREJUDICE Count I against all Defendants,
Count II against the County, and Count III against Sheriff
Harris. However, Mr. Hammonds may proceed with his claims in
Counts IV and V that Dr. Theakston and Mr. Martin,
respectively, personally participated in the alleged
Hammonds brought this action pursuant to the ADA,
Rehabilitation Act, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants
moved to dismiss Mr. Hammonds's original complaint under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (Docs. 9, 11). This court granted the
motions to dismiss as to Mr. Hammonds's ADA and
Rehabilitation Act allegations and ordered Mr. Hammonds to
provide a more definite statement as to his § 1983
claims. (Doc. 27). Although the court originally dismissed
Mr. Hammonds's ADA and Rehabilitation Act allegations
with prejudice, it reconsidered and permitted Mr. Hammonds to
file an amended complaint. (Doc. 38). Mr. Hammonds filed his
Second Amended Complaint (doc. 39) and Defendants responded
with their second round of motions to dismiss (docs. 45, 47,
49), which are now fully briefed and under submission.
court incorporates and adopts the standard of review outlined
in its prior Memorandum Opinion (doc. 26) addressing
Defendants' first motions to dismiss.
the facts alleged by Mr. Hammonds in his Second Amended
Complaint are substantially the same as those in the original
complaint, the court adopts its factual statement from the
prior Memorandum Opinion (doc. 26). The court likewise adopts
its finding that it will consider the July 2014 Department of
Homeland Security report (“DHS Report”)
referenced by Mr. Hammonds's complaints. Furthermore, the
court adopts its previous findings about the DHS Report's
weight with respect to Mr. Hammonds's allegations.
stated, Mr. Hammonds, who suffers from Diabetes Mellitus Type
I, alleges that the County, Sheriff Harris, Dr. Theakston,
and Mr. Martin denied him access to the necessary medical
treatment for his condition while they detained him at the
DeKalb County jail. As a result, Mr. Hammonds suffered
multiple diabetes-related complications, including diabetic
ketoacidosis (“DKA”), anemia, leukocytosis, and
acute renal and kidney failure. Mr. Hammonds alleges that he
informed Defendants of his condition, but they failed to
treat him properly. Specifically, he contends that Dr.
Theakston, a physician, placed him on a treatment regime for
Type-II diabetes patients. That regime was inadequate to
treat Type-I diabetes and led to Mr. Hammonds's
complications. Further, while Mr. Hammonds's condition
was deteriorating, Mr. Hammonds's family called 911 to
report his condition. Mr. Martin got wind of the call and
threatened Mr. Hammonds's family members with arrest and
Count I of the Second Amended Complaint, Mr. Hammonds alleges
that all four Defendants violated the ADA and the
Rehabilitation Act by denying him proper care. In Count II,
Mr. Hammonds alleges that the County violated § 1983 and
the Fourteenth Amendment by depriving him of his fundamental
right to adequate medical care. In Counts III, IV, and V, Mr.
Hammonds alleges that Sheriff Harris, Dr. Theakston, and Mr.
Martin, respectively, acted to deprive him of his fundamental
right to adequate medical care. Mr. Hammonds appears to
allege that Sheriff Harris, Dr. Theakston, and Mr. Martin
acted both personally and as supervisors to injure him. Mr.
Hammonds asks the court to enter a declaratory judgment that
Defendants' practices violate the Constitution, the ADA,
and the Rehabilitation Act. Mr. Hammonds also asks that the
court enjoin Defendants' practices, order the development
and implementation of appropriate practices, and award
monetary damages and punitive damages, as well as
attorneys' fees, costs, and interest.
Count I: ADA and Rehabilitation Act
to Mr. Hammonds, Defendants violated Title II of the ADA and
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act by failing to
accommodate his Type-I diabetes and by discriminating against
him on the basis of his Type-I diabetes. Specifically, Mr.
Hammonds states that Defendants discriminated against him by
placing him in administrative segregation and by failing to
provide a diabetes-compliant diet and space and permission to
exercise. Mr. Hammonds further alleges that Defendants
discriminated against him because of his diabetic condition
by refusing to allow him access to “basic inmate
services; regular mealtimes; the opportunity to exercise; the
ability [to] access  the inmate kiosk and known needs for
his diabetic condition.” (Doc. 39 ¶ 163).
argue that Mr. Hammonds has failed to state a claim for
relief because the Second Amended Complaint fails to provide
facts sufficient to draw a discriminatory connection between
the alleged denial of services and Mr. Hammonds's
condition. The court agrees.
state a claim under Title II of the ADA, a plaintiff must
allege: (1) that he is a ‘qualified individual with a
disability;' (2) that he was excluded from participation
in or . . . denied the benefits of the services, programs, or
activities of a public entity' or otherwise
‘discriminated [against] by such entity;' (3)
‘by reason of such disability.'” Shotz v.
Cates, 256 F.3d 1077, 1079 (11th Cir. 2001) (quoting 42
U.S.C. § 12132). Similarly, a prima facie case
for discrimination under the Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act requires a plaintiff to show (1) that he
is “handicapped” within the meaning of the Act
and relevant regulations; (2) that he is “otherwise
qualified” to participate in the program or activity;
(3) that the program or activity received federal financial
assistance; and (4) that he was adversely treated solely
because of his handicap. See Jackson v. Veterans
Administration, 22 F.3d 277, 278 (11th Cir. 1994).
same reasons as discussed in the court's prior Memorandum
Opinion (doc. 26 at 12-16), Mr. Hammonds has failed to state
a claim for relief under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.
A defendant does not violate the ADA or Rehabilitation Act
merely because it failed to provide medical care to disabled
prisoners or detainees. See Cash v. Smith, 231 F.3d
1301, 1305 & n.2 (11th Cir. 2000) (observing that
discrimination claims under the Rehabilitation Act are
governed by the same standards used in ADA cases and that
cases decided under the Rehabilitation Act are precedent for
cases under the ADA); see also Bryant v. Madigan, 84
F.3d 246, 249 (7th Cir. 1996) (“The ADA does not create
a remedy for medical malpractice.”); Fitzgerald v.
Corr. Corp. of Am., 403 F.3d 1134, 1144 (10th Cir. 2005)
(holding that “purely medical decisions” do not
ordinarily fall within the scope of the ADA).
state a claim under the ADA and or Rehabilitation Act Mr.
Hammonds would need to bring non-conclusory allegations that
Defendants treated him worse than other prisoners because
of Mr. Hammonds's Type-I diabetes. Mr. Hammonds
identifies a potential disability (diabetes) and several
adverse actions (e.g., the misdiagnosis, the
placement of Mr. Hammonds in administrative segregation, and
his restriction from using the prisoner-services kiosk), but
he does not allege facts that suggest Defendants chose to
mistreat him because he had diabetes.
the court finds that Count I is due to be DISMISSED WITH
PREJUDICE in favor of all Defendants. See Ashcroft v.
Iqbal 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (stating that a claim
must contain enough facts that “allow[ ] the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.”).
Count II: § 1983 Deliberate Indifference to Serious
Medical Needs (DeKalb County)
Hammonds bases his first § 1983 claim on the
County's alleged deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs as a pretrial detainee, in violation of the
Fourteenth Amendment. He states that “[p]ursuant to
DeKalb County's jail policy and long-standing
policy” he “was not identified” as a Type-I
diabetic and did not receive the appropriate treatment or
management. (Doc. 39 ¶ 176). Mr. Hammonds repeats his
contention that the County has such a policy several times.
Mr. Hammonds also alleges that the County “owns and
funds the operation of the jail, its personnel, including
medical staff, and employs Dr. Theakston for the part time
provision of medical care for persons incarcerated
there.” (Doc. 39 ¶ 170). Mr. Hammonds further