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Davis v. Ruby

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

February 5, 2015

DOCTOR RUBY, et al., Defendants.


JOHN A. GIBNEY, Jr., District Judge.

Willie Unique Davis, a former Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.[1] Davis contends that Defendants Dr. Ruby, Dr. Abassi, and Ms. Charles denied him adequate medical care during his incarceration in the Riverside Regional Jail ("RRJ"). The matter is before the Court on the Motions to Dismiss filed by Defendants Ruby and Charles (ECF No. 29) and Defendant Abassi (ECF No. 33). Despite sending appropriate Roseboro [2] notice with the Motions to Dismiss, Davis has not responded. For the reasons stated below, the Court will GRANT Defendants' Motions to Dismiss.


"A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of a complaint; importantly, it does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Republican Party of NC. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992) (citing 5A Charles A. Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1356 (1990)). In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations are taken as true and the complaint is viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993); see also Martin, 980 F.2d at 952. This principle applies only to factual allegations, however, and "a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure "require[ ] only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ' in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.' Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (second alteration in original) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Plaintiffs cannot satisfy this standard with complaints containing only "labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Id. (citations omitted). Instead, a plaintiff must allege facts sufficient "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, " id. (citation omitted), stating a claim that is "plausible on its face, " id. at 570, rather than merely "conceivable." Id. "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 (citing Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 556). In order for a claim or complaint to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, therefore, the plaintiff must "allege facts sufficient to state all the elements of [his or] her claim." Bass v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d 761, 765 (4th Cir. 2003) (citing Dickson v. Microsoft Corp., 309 F.3d 193, 213 (4th Cir. 2002); Iodice v. United States, 289 F.3d 270, 281 (4th Cir. 2002)). Lastly, while the Court liberally construes pro se complaints, Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), it does not act as the inmate's advocate, sua sponte developing statutory and constitutional claims the inmate failed to clearly raise on the face of his complaint. See Brock v. Carroll, 107 F.3d 241, 243 (4th Cir. 1997) (Luttig, J., concurring); Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).


In his Complaint, Davis alleges that Defendants Doctor Ruby, Doctor Abassi, and Ms. Charles denied him adequate medical care for an unidentified condition, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, [3] during his incarceration in the Riverside Regional Jail. Davis alleges:[4]

The medical staff were notified of my condition and of the pain I was experiencing. I was not seen until I called home and had my family call up to the facility various times to check on my condition. The medical did not come to see me until 4-5 days of complaining to the staff. I was seen by the staff for 1 minute only. After... complaining for another 2 days, I was finally seen and nothing was done. After finally complaining to the Sgt., I was able to file a grievance. During this time I constantly complained to the nurses and I was informed that the doctor stated he was not going to see me. At this time, I kept on complaining about my condition also about another condition concerning boils up under my arm. On 8/9/12, I was seen by Dr. Ruby and he suggested that I fall out and fake it in order to be seen immediately. He refused to send me out to see a specialist and also stated that I should do what's necessary for the boils to come back in order to treat me. I informed him that I would just take the proper procedures in order to get proper care. Because of not being seen for so long my pain has gotten worse and plus the fact they had ran out of my medication. I was informed by Nurse Taylor that I would not be seen by the doctor because he knows of my condition. I have just been dealing with the pain in which was about 3 weeks of constantly complaining, putting in request to be seen, and having my family call to complain in order to be seen. I have been trying to get the medical department since March to get me an appointment so I can be seen by the specialist. My family has made all the necessary stages to get this done also in which the medical staff kept on telling them different things and after so many calls and attempts nothing was still done. I then contacted the specialist several times in order to see what can be done. I have been in pain ever since I tried to get medical attention for my issues. Because of my condition, the pain is unbearable at times and has caused my bowels to be affected and I have lost weight because of these issues. I have all the necessary paperwork in which I have complained and complained in order to get some medical attention in which every avenue to be helped was denied.

(Compl. 4-5, ECF No. 1.) Davis seeks unspecified monetary damages. ( Id. at 6.)


A. Defendants Abbasi and Charles

In order to state a viable claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that a person acting under color of state law deprived him or her of a constitutional right or of a right conferred by a law of the United States. See Dowe v. Total Action Against Poverty in Roanoke Valley, 145 F.3d 653, 658 (4th Cir. 1998). "Government officials may not be held liable for the unconstitutional conduct of their subordinates under a theory of respondeat superior." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676 (citations omitted). "[A] plaintiff must plead that each Government-official defendant, through the official's own individual actions, has violated the Constitution." Id. Davis fails to mention Defendants Abassi or Charles in the body of his Complaint, much less explain how either Defendant was personally involved in the events for which Davis seeks relief. "Where a complaint alleges no specific act or conduct on the part of the defendant and the complaint is silent as to the defendant except for his name appearing in the caption, the complaint is properly dismissed, even under the liberal construction to be given pro se complaints." Potter v. Clark, 497 F.2d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir. 1974) (citing U.S. ex rel. Brzozowski v. Randall, 281 F.Supp. 306, 312 (E.D. Pa. 1968)). Thus, Davis has failed to state a claim against Defendants Abassi or Charles. Accordingly, the claims against Defendants Abassi and Charles will be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

B. Defendant Ruby

To allege an Eighth Amendment claim, an inmate must allege facts that indicate (1) that objectively the deprivation suffered or harm inflicted "was sufficiently serious, ' and (2) that subjectively the prison officials acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind.'" Johnson v. Quinones, 145 F.3d 164, 167 (4th Cir. 1998) (quoting Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991)). With respect to the denial of adequate medical care, "a prisoner must allege acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). A medical need is "serious" if it "has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay ...

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