United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
GLORIA JUANITA OCTAVE, Administratrix of the Estate of Lutalo Octave, Plaintiff,
MICHAEL L. WADE, AUGUSTUS EDWARDS, SARA TOLENTINO, ASHLEY RHOADES, CHRISTINE SCHEIN, LOUIS FOX, and JOHN DOE S JAIL STAFF, Defendants.
A. GIBNEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Octave, a pretrial detainee, committed suicide at Henrico
County Regional Jail West (the "County Jail").
Octave's mother ("Mrs. Octave"), the
Administratrix of Octave's Estate, has sued the Henrico
County Sheriff, unknown correctional officers at the County
Jail ("John Doe(s) Jail Staff), and five members of the
County Jail's medical staff (the "Medical Staff
Defendants"). Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, she alleges
the Medical Staff Defendants acted with deliberate
indifference to Octave's serious medical needs, in
violation of his substantive due process rights under the
Fourteenth Amendment. Mrs. Octave also raises state law claims
based on both negligence and gross negligence. The Medical
Staff Defendants have moved to dismiss all counts brought
against them. The Court grants the motion as to the claims of
deliberate indifference and gross negligence because the
complaint does not identify specific facts demonstrating
liability by each defendant. The Court grants leave to amend
the complaint to cure the defects.
immunity protects the Medical Staff Defendants from the state
law claim of simple negligence. The Court dismisses that
claim with prejudice.
arrested Octave on August 14, 2015, after he set fire to his
parents' home. Police took him to the County Jail, where
intake records did not report any major medical problems.
August 19, 2015, Mrs. Octave spoke with Christine Schein at
the County Jail and asked the jail staff to give Octave a
mental health evaluation based on his recent unusual
behavior, including his crime. Over the next few days,
members of the medical staff, including Augustus Edwards and
Ashley Rhoades, met with and evaluated Octave. The staff noted
that Octave gave confused answers, experienced hallucinations
and delusions, heard voices, and had thoughts of self-harm.
On August 28, 2015, Louis Fox diagnosed Octave with
schizophreniform disorder, a form of psychosis with symptoms
August 29, 2015, after Octave made additional suicidal
statements, the jail placed him on a one-to-one mental health
watch. On August 31, 2015, Edwards transferred him from
one-to-one watch into the mental health dayroom, with
instructions for correctional officers to watch him once
every thirty minutes.
September 10, 2015, Octave told Sara Tolentino that if he
harmed himself, he would do so by hanging. On September 11,
2015, jail officials transferred Octave to a camera cell with
an improperly functioning camera,  with continued instructions
to watch him once every thirty minutes. The camera cell had a
high shelf on the wall and sheets on the bed. Octave
continued to report hallucinations and thoughts of self-harm.
September 19, 2016, Octave hanged himself with his bedsheet.
Guards found him at 11:56 a.m., twenty-three minutes after
the most recent check-in. Emergency personnel attempted to
revive Octave and took him to the hospital, but the hospital
pronounced him dead at 12:42 p.m.
the Medical Staff Defendants, Mrs. Octave alleges
unconstitutional deliberate indifference to Octave's
medical needs in Count III, gross negligence in Count IV, and
negligence in Count V. The Medical Staff Defendants ask this
Court to dismiss all counts against them.
immunity protects the Medical Staff Defendants against the
state law claim of simple negligence. In Virginia, sovereign
immunity protects employees of a local government if: (1) the
employing entity has immunity for the function performed by
the employees; (2) the employees meet the four-factor test
set forth in James v. Jane; and (3) the claim
against the employee raises liability based on simple