United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
R. Spencer Senior U.S. District Judge
Eugene Johnson, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se
and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. §
1983 action. In his Particularized Complaint
("Complaint, " ECF No. 19), Johnson contends that
Defendant Nurse Porter denied him adequate medical care
during his incarceration in the Riverside Regional Jail
("RRJ"). The matter is before the Court on the
Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Porter. (ECF No. 27.)
Johnson has responded. For the reasons stated below, the
Court will GRANT Defendant Porter's Motion to Dismiss.
STANDARD FOR MOTION TO DISMISS
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 N.C.
v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992)
(citing 5 A 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 plaintiffs 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).
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. Leehe, 51A 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).
SUMMARY OF ALLEGATIONS
Complaint, Johnson alleges that Defendant Porter denied him
adequate medical care, in violation of the Eighth Amendment,
when she failed to check his blood sugar on one occasion on
December 21, 2014. Johnson alleges:
At 8:00 p.m. on 12-21-2014, it was announced diabetic
call.... When the Pod Officer Jarman left out he came back
[and] I told him I need to go, so he took me out his self
because he knows I go every night. I told him it's low
because the last time I checked it at 4:00 PM it was high,
443, [and] I took 14 units regular which is a fast reaction.
When I got up front to the unit control where the diabetic
call was being held, Nurse Porter said I was not on her list
at night. I tell her that Dr. Stairs had change[d] me to 4
times a day on 10-19-14 ... . Sgt Armistead overheard the
conversation and told her that Mr. Johnson comes out every
night, I know he's on the list to get his shot or check.
Ms. Porter still said I only get check twice a day. She still
deprived me of medical attention. I know my sugar was low
because I took 14 units of regular 4 hours ago and I was
shaking, sweating, and I was weak. . . . She also stated that
she has to go by what's in the computer system....
On December 22, 2014, 1 went to the diabetic call at 5:30
a.m. I ask Nurse manning to give me a copy of my medical
sheet to show how many times I get check[ed] and she gave me
a copy and I have it showing 4 times daily, 5:30 a.m., 10:00
a.m., 4 p.m., 8 p.m. by Dr. Stairs ..
By me being a[n] insulin dependent diabetic, I should never
be denied to because of my health. That's cruel and
unusual punishment. Since I been here, I always get check at
least 3 times daily, never twice.
(Compl. 1-2.) Johnson fails to identify what relief he seeks.
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 person
would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's
attention.'" Iko v. Shreve, 535
F.3d 225, 241 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting Henderson v.
Sheahan, 196 F.3d 839, 846 (7th Cir. 1999)).
context of delayed medical care, the objective-prong analysis
does not end there. In addition to demonstrating that a
medical need that was objectively serious, a plaintiff must
also establish that the delay in the provision of medical
care '"resulted in substantial harm.'"
Mata v. Saiz,427 F.3d 745, 751 (10th Cir. 2005)
(quoting Oxendine v.Kaplan,241 F.3d 1272,
1276 (10th Cir. 2001)); see Webb v. Hamidullah, 281
F.App'x 159, 165 (4th Cir. 2008). "[T]he substantial
harm requirement may be satisfied by lifelong handicap,
permanent loss, or considerable pain." Shabazz