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Singleton v. Emran

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

January 26, 2017

THOMAS GARCIA SINGLETON, Plaintiff,
v.
Dr. EMRAN, et. al, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION (GRANTING IN PART MOTIONS TO DISMISS)

          HENRY E. HUDSON DISTRICT JUDGE

         Thomas Garcia Singleton, a former Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.[1] Singleton contends that Defendants Dr. Emran, Correct Care Solutions, and Sheriff C.T. Woody denied him adequate medical care during his incarceration in the Richmond City Jail ("RCJ"). The matter is before the Court on the Motions to Dismiss filed by Defendants Emran and Correct Care Solutions (ECF No. 25) and Defendant Woody (ECF No. 27). Singleton has responded. (ECF No. 34.) For the reasons stated below, Defendant Woody's Motion to Dismiss will be granted. The Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Emran and Correct Care Solutions will be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. STANDARD FOR MOTION 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 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. lqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure "require[ ] only 4a 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).

         II. SUMMARY OF ALLEGATIONS

         In his Amended Complaint ("Complaint, " ECF No. 17), [2] Singleton alleges that Defendants denied him adequate medical care for a broken finger in violation of the Eighth Amendment, [3] during his incarceration in the RCJ. Singleton alleges:

On May 10, 2013, I, Thomas G. Singleton broke my finger (fractured) at about 1 or 2 o'clock (p.m.) on the recreation yard at the Richmond City Jail. Deputy Franklin immediately took me to medical staff. There, Nurse Thompson only buddy taped (taped my broken, left-middle, finger to my left, ring finger). I was told to go back to population and wait for an x-ray tech to show up.
At about 4 or 4:30 (p.m.), an x-ray tech from Global Dynamic Imaging confirmed that my left-middle finger was broken. At that point, I asked jail staff to be immediately transported to [the] hospital. I was given the "run around." That next day, Saturday, May 11, 2013, Global Dynamic Imaging returned and did another x-ray.
I began filing grievances on May 13, 2013, complaining that my finger was in crucial pain and that it was broken; and I also complained about not being taken to the hospital. When I saw Dr. Emran that same morning, he stated he seen results of x-ray; that he understood my finger was broken, "fractured or dislocated, " yet, he stated he was merely going to call and speak to his supervisor. From that day, on through to the 11th of July 2013, I filed grievances constantly requesting to receive emergency medical assistance. I was very much aware that if I let my broken finger heal without replacing (re-setting) it, it would heal improperly. I was constantly told not to "reset" my finger myself (by staff, as well as by other inmates and even family). I was constantly told that an evaluation with an orthopedic was being scheduled. I did not see the hand surgeon until July. He informed me that due to cartilage and tissue reforming, I will have to undergo surgery to reset my finger.
On July 11, 2013, surgery was performed by hand surgeon. Since then, I have been to hospital once or twice every two months for therapy. This process ended about January 2014. The hospital staff all told me to do my own therapy whenever, and as often, as I could.
Towards the end of 2014, I began to realize that my left-middle finger will not be getting anywhere close to the way it was before May 10, 2013. It is permanently damaged and is not fully functional. I feel that Dr. Emran (with Correct Care Solutions) is responsible for [the] failure to respect my rights for emergency medical attention. Every staff member and deputy that I asked, "Who was in charge of emergency procedure, " stated that whatever doctor was on duty during time of injury was responsible for making the call. Dr. Emran, himself, even informed me that he was responsible. I also remember asking Dr. Emran on one of our last "follow-up" appointments why he would delay emergency medical treatment when he confirmed that my finger was broken, "fractured and dislocated." His response I can't exactly state. Yet I'm clear that he generally stated that whenever he sends someone to emergency room he has to notify his supervisor. So if that was his response to my question, then I feel that he didn't send me to emergency treatment because he didn't want to notify or disturb his supervisor.
Also, when I was receiving therapy at MCV Medical Center, the staff strongly recommended-and was anticipating-further therapy sessions with me. I relayed this to Dr. Emran and he stated that again he prefers not to call supervisor often. He also stated that there are costs concerning every trip to the hospital.
I feel that Correct Care Solutions is liable because there may be a policy concerning inmates and procedure for medical care. ... I feel that there's an unwritten policy or written policy that denied [me my] 8th Amendment right to avoid "deliberate indifference." They fail to properly train employees.
I also feel that Sheriff C.T. Woody is liable to me because I alerted various members of his staff and they did not take my plea for emergency care seriously. . . . There ha[ve] been previous lawsuits against either the jail or the sheriff concerning medical treatment. So I am positive that he is aware of the patterns and habits of his employees to become deliberately indifferent to pressing medical situations.....

(Compl. 7-11, ECF No. 17.) Singleton seeks monetary damages. (Id. at 12.) The Court construes Singleton to raise the following claims for relief:

Claim One: Dr. Emran denied Singleton adequate medical care for his ...

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