United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division
ROXANNE ADAMS, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF JAMYCHEAL M. MITCHELL, Plaintiff,
NAPHCARE, INC., et al., Defendants.
REBECCA BEACH SMITH CHIEF JUDGE.
matter comes before the court on the Motion to Dismiss
("Motion") and Memorandum in Support filed by
Defendant Natalya Thomas ("Thomas") on August 15,
2016. ECF Nos. 109, 110. The Plaintiff filed a Response on
September 12, 2016, ECF No. 129, and on September 30, 2016,
Thomas filed a Reply. ECF No. 135.
October 3, 2016, this court referred the Motion to United
States Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leonard, pursuant to the
provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 72(b), to conduct hearings, including
evidentiary hearings, if necessary, and to submit to the
undersigned District Judge proposed findings of fact, if
applicable, and recommendations for the disposition of the
Motion. ECF No. 137.
conducted a hearing regarding the Motion on October 19, 2016,
ECF No. 139, the Magistrate Judge filed the Report and
Recommendation ("R&R") on February 22, 2017.
ECF No. 164. The Magistrate Judge recommended denying the
Motion. R&R at 1. By copy of the R&R, the parties
were advised of their right to file written objections to the
findings and recommendations made by the Magistrate Judge.
See id. at 17-18. On March 8, 2017, Thomas filed
Objections to the R&R. ECF No. 168. On March 20, 2017,
the Plaintiff filed a Response to the Objections. ECF No.
170. The matter has been fully briefed and is ripe for
action was brought by the Plaintiff in her capacity as the
administrator of the estate of Jamycheal Mitchell
("Mitchell"), who died as a pretrial detainee in
the Hampton Roads Regional Jail ("HRRJ"). Compl.
¶¶ 1, 20. During Mitchell's period of pretrial
detention, Defendant Thomas was "a licensed registered
nurse and the Health Services Administrator at HRRJ, "
employed by Defendant NaphCare, Inc. ("NaphCare").
Id. ¶ 27. Under a contract with HRRJ, NaphCare
provided on-site medical services to the HRRJ inmates,
including Mitchell, and supervised, directed, and controlled
health care personnel at the jail. Id. ¶ 21.
Throughout the Complaint, Defendant Thomas and other
Defendants who worked for NaphCare are collectively referred
to as the "NaphCare Defendants." Id.
¶ 32. The Complaint alleges the following claims against
Defendant Thomas in particular: negligence, gross negligence,
and willful and wanton negligence under Virginia law (Count
One), id. ¶¶ 202-211; deprivation of civil
rights through the denial, delay, and withholding of medical
care, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count Two), id.
¶¶ 212-223; deprivation of civil rights due to
conditions of detention, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count
Three), id. ¶¶ 224-238; and a general
deprivation of civil rights, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(Count Five), id. ¶¶ 252-258.
instant Motion, filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), Thomas seeks dismissal of the
aforementioned claims due to the Plaintiff's failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See
Mot. at 1. The Magistrate Judge, accepting the facts as
alleged in the Plaintiff's Complaint as true, found that
the Plaintiff has sufficiently stated these claims against
Thomas, and recommended denying the Motion. See
R&R at 13-17.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), the court, having
reviewed the record in its entirety, shall make a de
novo determination of those portions of the R&R
to which a party has specifically objected. Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b). The court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or
in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, or
recommit the matter to him with instructions. 28 U.S.C.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint must
be dismissed when a plaintiff's allegations fail to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). "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). "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to *
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Facial plausibility means that a
"plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court
to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556) . It is, therefore, not
enough for a plaintiff to allege facts demonstrating a
"sheer possibility" or "mere
consist[ency]" with unlawful conduct. Id.
(citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
Supreme Court has offered the following guidance to courts
evaluating a motion to dismiss:
[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.
While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a
complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.
When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court
should assume their veracity and then determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.
Id. at 679. That is, the court accepts facts alleged
in the complaint as true and views those facts in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff. See, e.g.,
Venkatraman v. REI Sys.,Inc., 417 F.3d
418, 420 (4th Cir. 2005). After doing so, the court should
not grant the defendant's motion if the plaintiff
"demonstrate[s] more than a sheer possibility"'
that the defendant has violated his rights, by
"articulat[ing] facts, when accepted as true, that
'show' that the plaintiff has stated a claim
entitling him to relief . . . ." Francis v.
Giacomelli, 588 ...