United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case is before the court on the Motion to Dismiss Second
Amended Complaint and Incorporated Memorandum of Law filed by
Defendant Dr. Karen E. Callahan (“Defendant
Callahan” or “Dr. Callahan”) on July 5,
2017 (Doc. # 78), the Motion to Dismiss Third Amended
Complaint filed by Defendant W. Fowler (“Defendant
Fowler”) on August 25, 2017 (Doc. # 106), and the
Motion to Dismiss Third Amended Complaint filed by Defendant
Callahan on August 25, 2017 (Doc. # 108). The parties have
fully briefed Defendant Callahan's Motion to Dismiss
Second Amended Complaint (Docs. # 78, 91, 107) and Defendant
Fowler's Motion to Dismiss Third Amended Complaint (Docs.
# 106, 113, 114). Despite the court's Order (Doc. # 111)
that Plaintiff file a responsive brief to Defendant
Callahan's Motion to Dismiss Third Amended Complaint
(Doc. # 108) on or before September 11, 2017, Plaintiff has
not responded to this Motion (Doc. # 108).
filed this action in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County
on May 20, 2016. (Docs. # 1-1, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6, 1-7, 1-8, 1-9,
1-16, 1-17, 1-18, 1-19, 1-20, 1-21, 1-22). On July 7, 2016,
Defendants removed this case to the Middle District of
Alabama. (Doc. # 1-1). The case was transferred to the
Northern District of Alabama on August 29, 2016. (Doc. # 1).
Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on January 9, 2017.
(Doc. # 43).
the court appointed an attorney to represent Plaintiff
“for the limited purpose of drafting a second amended
complaint, ” Plaintiff filed the Second Amended
Complaint on June 19, 2017. (Docs. # 73, 74). The claims in
the Second Amended Complaint relate to (1) Plaintiff's
confinement in the Birmingham City Jail from November 2014
through February 2015 and (2) Plaintiff's treatment by
Defendant Callahan while at Grandview Medical Center
(“Grandview”) in January 2015. (Doc. # 74). On
June 22, 2017, Defendants (including Defendant Fowler) who
were identified in the Complaint and First Amended Complaint
but were not included in the Second Amended Complaint were
dismissed from the proceeding. (Doc.# 76). After the court
gave Plaintiff leave to amend the Second Amended Complaint
(Doc.# 88), Plaintiff filed a Third Amendment to Complaint,
which added claims against Defendant Fowler. (Doc. # 97).
Rule 12(b)(6) motion questions the legal sufficiency of a
complaint; therefore, in assessing the merit of a Rule
12(b)(6) motion, the court must assume that all the factual
allegations set forth in the complaint are true.”
Mays v. U.S. Postal Serv., 928 F.Supp. 1552, 1557-58
(M.D. Ala. 1996). Thus, for the purpose of resolving
Defendant Callahan's Motions (Doc. # 78, 108) and
Defendant Fowler's Motion (Doc. # 106), the court treats
the facts alleged in the Second Amended Complaint (Doc. # 74)
and Third Amendment to Complaint (Doc. # 97) as true. The
court also liberally construes documents filed pro
se,  such as Plaintiff's Third Amendment to
Complaint (Doc. # 97). Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007). The underlying facts of Plaintiff's claims
-- which are related to (A) his alleged denial of services at
Cooper Green Mercy Health Services (“Cooper
Green”), (B) his treatment in and the conditions of
Birmingham City Jail, and (C) his medical care at Grandview
-- are outlined below.
Plaintiff's Claims against Defendant Fowler
point between May 13, 2014 and February 2015,  a Birmingham City
Jail officer escorted Plaintiff to Cooper Green. (Doc. # 97
at p. 2). Plaintiff told Defendant Fowler, a medical clerk at
Cooper Green, that he was experiencing excruciating pain;
however, Defendant Fowler allegedly denied Plaintiff access
to Cooper Green's services. (Id.). Plaintiff
claims this denial of services exacerbated his condition.
Count 10 of his Third Amendment to Complaint, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant Fowler had a legal and contractual
duty to allow Plaintiff access to Cooper Green's
services, Defendant Fowler breached her duty to allow
Plaintiff access to these services, and Defendant
Fowler's breach was wanton conduct that was the proximate
cause of Plaintiff's physical and psychiatrist injuries.
(Id. at p. 4). Liberally construed, Plaintiff's
pro se Third Amendment purports to assert both a
§ 1983 claim and a medical malpractice claim against
Defendant Fowler. (Doc. # 97 at p. 3-4). Plaintiff requests
compensatory and punitive damages along with his costs under
42 U.S.C. § 1988. (Id. at p. 4-5).
Plaintiff's Claims against Defendants City of Birmingham,
Davis, Singleton, Taylor, Campbell, Nunn, Sheffield, Debra,
Rogers, T. Brown, Moten, Drake, Bradford, and
November 19, 2014, Plaintiff was arrested on outstanding
warrants and taken to Birmingham City Jail to await trial.
(Doc. # 74 at ¶¶ 2, 16). Plaintiff told personnel
at the jail that he was suicidal and homicidal, and, from
November 20, 2014 through January 15, 2015, 
was held in a suicide watch strip cell. (Id. at
¶¶ 17-19). On January 19, 2015, Plaintiff was
placed in punitive segregation. (Id. at ¶ 31).
Shortly thereafter, he was moved to the medical cell block
where he remained until February 20, 2015. (Id.).
The claims against Defendants City of Birmingham, Davis,
Singleton, Taylor, Campbell, Nunn, Sheffield, Debra, Rogers,
T. Brown, Moten, Drake, Bradford, and Daniels (collectively,
“the Birmingham City Jail defendants”) relate to
the conditions of and events occurring within Birmingham City
Jail. (See id. at ¶¶ 34-45,
Plaintiff's Claims against Defendant Callahan
January 5, 2015, Plaintiff was moved from the Birmingham City
Jail to the psychiatric unit at Grandview Medical Center
(“Grandview”), where Dr. Callahan served as
Plaintiff's treating physician. (Id. at
¶¶ 28-29). Plaintiff's January 6, 2015
laboratory tests indicated that Plaintiff had a low blood
count; however, Dr. Callahan “did not make any effort
to determine the cause or treat” these results.
(Id. at ¶¶ 30, 47). On January 19, 2017,
Plaintiff was released from Grandview and returned to the
Birmingham City Jail. (Id. at ¶ 31). Once
Plaintiff was released from the jail in February 2015, he
sought further medical attention, and a colonoscopy revealed
that Plaintiff was bleeding internally. (Id. at
¶ 33). Surgery was required to correct this medical
alleges that (1) Dr. Callahan treated Plaintiff while he was
in the custody of the City of Birmingham, (2) he was a
patient of Dr. Callahan's pursuant to an order of
commitment from the Jefferson County Probate Court, and (3)
therefore, Dr. Callahan was acting under the color of state
law. (Id. at ¶ 15). Under Count Five of his
Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff contends that Defendant
Callahan was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's
physical medical needs and requests compensatory and punitive
damages, costs and attorney's fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1988, and any further relief to which he is
entitled. (Id. at ¶¶ 47-48). In
Count Nine of his Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff asserts
that Dr. Callahan had a legal and contractual duty to provide
Plaintiff with reasonable medical care; she breached this
duty; this breach was the proximate cause of Plaintiff's
physical injuries and damages; and this breach constituted
negligent or wanton conduct that was below the standard of
care for similarly situated medical providers. (Id. at
¶¶ 53-55). Plaintiff seeks compensatory and
punitive damages from Defendant Callahan along with his
costs. (Id. at p. 16).
Misjoinder of Defendants
court first addresses whether Plaintiff has misjoined the
claims among the Defendants and, if so, what the appropriate
remedy is for his misjoinder. A plaintiff may join claims
against multiple defendants if (1) the claims “aris[e]
out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of
transactions or occurrences” and (2) “any
question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise
in the action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2). The central
purpose of Rule 20 is to promote judicial efficiency and
expedite the resolution of claims, thereby eliminating
unnecessary, additional lawsuits. Alexander v. Fulton
Cty., 207 F.3d 1303, 1323 (11th Cir. 2000),
overruled on other grounds by Manders v. Lee, 338
F.3d 1304 (11th Cir. 2003).
provides that “the court may at any time, on just
terms, add or drop a party, ” and “[t]he court
may also sever any claim against a party.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
21. Rule 42(b) also allows for separate trials where the
efficiency of a consolidated trial is outweighed by its
potential prejudice. Grayson v. K Mart Corp., 79
F.3d 1086, 1097 (11th Cir. 1996). Thus, the court “has
broad discretion to join parties or not.” Swan v.
Ray, 293 F.3d 1252, 1253 (11th Cir. 2002).
determining whether claims are properly joined, courts in the
Eleventh Circuit apply the logical relationship test.
Smith v. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, 728 F.Supp.2d
1315, 1319 (M.D. Fla. 2010). “Under this test, a
logical relationship exists if the claims rest on the same
set of facts or the facts, on which one claim rests, activate
additional legal rights supporting the other claim.”
Id. (citing Republic Health Corp. v. Lifemark
Hosps. of Fla., Inc., 755 F.2d 1453, 1455 (11th
Cir.1985). “‘Whether severance would facilitate .
. . judicial economy is among the factors a court may examine
while determining whether to sever [ ] claims.'”
Formosa v. Lowe's Home Centers, Inc., 806
F.Supp.2d 1181, 1187 (N.D. Ala. 2011) (quoting Tillis v.
Cameron, 2007 WL 2806770, at *5 (M.D. Ala. Sept. 25,
court finds misjoinder, it can order one of two remedies: (1)
dropping parties on such terms as are just, or (2) severing
the plaintiff's claims and proceeding with them
separately. DirecTV, Inc. v. Leto, 467 F.3d 842, 845
(3d Cir. 2006). The statute of limitations is not tolled when
a court “drops” a defendant under Rule 21;
however, when the court severs a claim, the suit simply
continues against the severed defendant in another guise.
Id. Because the choice of remedy can affect a
plaintiff's ability to obtain relief, “a court must
analyze the consequences of a dismissal on a claimant's
ability to meet the statute of limitations prior to choosing
dismissal over severance.” Id. at 846.
because of the complex nature of medical malpractice claims
and the absence of factual overlap between Plaintiff's
claims against Defendant Callahan and against the other
defendants, allowing the claims against Defendant Callahan
and the other defendants to proceed as one case would not
facilitate judicial economy. See, e.g.,
Stojcevski v. Cnty. of Macomb, 143 F.Supp.3d 675,
683 (E.D. Mich. 2015) (holding that claims related to the
same jail during the same time period required
“entirely different proof” and were, therefore,
misjoined); Deskovic v. City of Peekskill, 673
F.Supp.2d 154, 171 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) (noting that a joint trial
would lead to confusion of the jury when claims against
various defendants “involve separate witnesses,
different evidence, and different legal theories and
defenses”). The fact that Plaintiff remained under the
custody of the City of Birmingham (Doc. # 74 at ¶ 15)
when Defendant Callahan treated him at Grandview -- a private
hospital not associated with the jail -- does not create a
logical relationship with Plaintiff's claims against the
Birmingham City Jail defendants. See Smith, 728
F.Supp.2d at 1319. Furthermore, Plaintiff has not alleged a
conspiracy linking Defendant Callahan's alleged conduct