United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
SHELENA GARRETT, as Administratrix for the Estate of Henry Lewis Garrett, Plaintiff,
CORIZON, LLC, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
KEITH WATKINS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court are two motions to dismiss and a motion to set
aside service. Defendants Corizon LLC, Jefferson Dunn, and
Ruth Naglich filed the first motion to dismiss. (Doc. # 19.)
Defendants Jerry E. Robbins and Shahla Poursaied filed the
second. (Doc. # 45.) These motions are due to be granted in
part and denied in part. Additionally, based upon the
court's inherent authority, Plaintiff will be required to
replead her shotgun complaint. Therefore, the motion to set
aside service (Doc. # 26) is due to be denied as moot.
Lewis Garrett was incarcerated in Alabama Department of
Corrections (ADOC) facilities from July 29, 2013, to June 13,
2016. (Doc. # 1, at 8-11.) On July 11, 2016, Mr. Garrett was
diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer, and he passed away as a
result on November 17, 2016. (Doc. # 1, at 12.) While Mr.
Garrett was incarcerated, he was dependent on Defendants for
medical services. (Doc. # 1, at 2.) Plaintiff, Administratrix
for Mr. Garrett's estate, alleges that Defendants'
inadequate medical care resulted in Mr. Garrett's
contracting cancer and ultimately in his death. Plaintiff
filed her complaint on November 16, 2018 - two years, four
months, and five days after Mr. Garrett was diagnosed with
brings claims for deliberate indifference to serious medical
needs in violation of the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment (Count One); denial of due process
purportedly under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and
Fourteenth Amendments (Count Two); wrongful death (Count
Three); negligent hiring, training, supervision, and/or
retention (Count Four); and wanton conduct (Count Five).
(Doc. # 1, at 12-18.) Counts One, Two, and Three purport to
be federal-law claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Counts
Four and Five are state-law claims.
Corizon LLC, Dunn, Naglich, Robbins, and Poursaied seek
dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) of
Counts One and Two arguing that those claims are untimely.
They also seek dismissal of Counts Four and Five on grounds
that those claims do not survive the decedent's death and
are untimely. (Docs. # 19, 45.) Additionally, Defendants Dunn
and Naglich seek dismissal of Count Three on the basis of
qualified immunity. (Doc. # 19.) Furthermore, Defendant
Corizon seeks to set aside service on Defendants Wolke,
Shell, Geonagan, Barefield, Daniel, Whitaker, Robbins,
Poursaied, Hooper, Baker, and Hamilton. (Doc. # 26.)
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
court has subject-matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331, 1343, and 1367. Personal jurisdiction and
venue are uncontested.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of a complaint against the
legal standard articulated by Rule 8: “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The court
accepts the plaintiff's factual allegations as true,
Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73
(1984), and construes “them in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff, ” Duke v. Cleland, 5 F.3d
1399, 1402 (11th Cir. 1993). “A plaintiff's
obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to
relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (cleaned up). To survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint need not contain “detailed factual
allegations.” Instead, it must contain “only
enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.” Id. at 570. The factual allegations
“must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Id. at 555.
Counts One and Two plead a plausible basis for tolling
Alabama's two-year statute of limitations.
a statute-of-limitations bar is an affirmative defense,
“a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal on statute of limitations
grounds is appropriate only if it is ‘apparent from the
face of the complaint' that the claim is
time-barred.” La Grasta v. First Union Sec.,
Inc., 358 F.3d 840, 845 (11th Cir. 2004) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted). Where the complaint pleads
a plausible basis for tolling the statute of limitations,
dismissal is not appropriate. Cf. Henderson v. Reid,
371 Fed.Appx. 51, 54 (11th Cir. 2010) (affirming 12(b)(6)
dismissal on statute-of-limitations grounds where the
plaintiff filed the complaint outside the limitations period
and his complaint did not “plausibly allege any facts
showing that he is entitled to equitable tolling”);
Brown v. Montgomery Surgical Ctr., No.
2:12-CV-553-WKW, 2013 WL 1163427, at *11 (M.D. Ala. Mar. 20,
2013) (“[W]here the complaint's allegations
facially demonstrate that the claim is untimely and omit
allegations to support equitable tolling, the plaintiff
generally cannot survive a motion to dismiss on tolling
One and Two (deliberate indifference to serious medical needs
in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment and claims under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth,
and Fourteenth Amendments) are brought under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (Doc. # 1, at 14-15.) Defendants seek dismissal of
these claims (Docs. # 19, 45) on grounds that they are barred
by Alabama's two-year statute of limitations. Because the
complaint pleads a plausible basis for tolling the statute of
limitations, Defendants' argument does not support Rule
12(b)(6) dismissal of Counts One and Two.
The statute of limitations began running at the latest on
July 11, 2016.
courts apply a “forum state's statute of
limitations for personal injury actions to actions brought
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.” Lovett v.
Ray, 327 F.3d 1181, 1182 (11th Cir. 2003) (per curiam).
“[T]he two-year limitations period of Ala. Code §
6-2-38(l) applies to section 1983 actions in
Alabama.” Jones v. Preuit & Mauldin, 876
F.2d 1480, 1483 (11th Cir. 1989) (en banc). “The
statute of limitations begins to run from the date the facts
which would support a cause of action are apparent or should
be apparent to a person with a ...