United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
K. MOON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Williams, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed
a civil rights action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that the defendants denied him adequate medical
treatment and used excessive force against him. Defendants
filed motions to dismiss and Williams responded, making this
matter ripe for disposition. Having reviewed the record, I
conclude that defendants' motions must be granted as to
defendants Cox and Trent and denied as to defendants
Hairston, Bramblett-Robinson, and Hartman.
alleges that upon arriving at the Western Virginia Regional
Jail on April 12, 2016, he met with medical staff and
informed them of his allergies, including medication to which
he is allergic. On September 9, 2016, while experiencing a
migraine and tension headache, Williams asked defendant
Hairston, a medication technician, for pain medicine and she
told him that he could not take aspirin or Tylenol because he
was allergic to them. Instead, Nurse Hairston gave Williams
Excedrin twice a day for two days. Williams states
that Hairston did not “thoroughly” review his
medical file or refer him to the nurse practitioner or doctor
before giving him the Excedrin.
September 10, 2016, Williams submitted a health care request
form, notifying medical staff that he had a “sharp
pain” in his head. Williams states that “during
this time, ” his headaches and stomach pain became
“severe” and “unbearable” and he had
uncontrollable bowel movements. Williams alleges that on
September 12, 2016, the doctor notified medical staff that
Williams could not receive Excedrin because it has aspirin in
September 14, 2016, Williams submitted another health care
request form notifying medical staff of his allergies to
aspirin and Tylenol. On September 15, 2016, Williams saw
defendant Bramblett-Robinson, a physician assistant, who told
him that there was “nothing they could give” him.
Williams alleges that she “sent for” his medical
records concerning his allergic reaction to aspirin and
September 22, 2016, Williams sent another health care request
form, notifying medical staff of his abdominal pain and
migraine headaches, and that he had been denied medical
attention. On October 7, 2016, after a nurse came to
distribute medication to the unit where Williams was housed,
Officer Kought told Williams to “lock down” for
twenty-four hours. Williams alleges that the nurse had told
Officer Kought that Williams did not take his medication.
Williams walked to his cell with Officer Kought and defendant
Officer Hartman. Upon arriving at his cell, Williams stood in
the doorway, and while he was “not refusing or ac[t]ing
out, ” Officer Hartman pushed Williams into the cell,
then “came with a blow to the face, causing [his]
head to hit the wall very hard and [then] came with another
blow to [his] stomach” causing Williams to
“suffer a lot of pain in [his] stomach and [a]
cluster migraine.” A supervisor arrived after the
incident, asked Williams what had happened, and then placed
Williams in segregation. Williams alleges that he was denied
medical treatment for his stomach pain and cluster migraine.
He also alleges that his request for a grievance was denied.
filed motions to dismiss Williams'
complaint. A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency
of a complaint to determine whether the plaintiff has
properly stated a claim; “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). In
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must accept all
factual allegations in the complaint as true and must draw
all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Legal
conclusions in the guise of factual allegations, however, are
not entitled to a presumption of truth. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).
a complaint “does not need detailed factual
allegations, a plaintiffs obligation to provide the grounds
of his entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of a cause of
action's elements will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations and
quotations omitted). “Factual allegations must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level, ” id., with all the allegations in the
complaint taken as true and all reasonable inferences drawn
in the plaintiffs favor, Chao v. Rivendell Woods,
Inc., 415 F.3d 342, 346 (4th Cir. 2005). Rule 12(b)(6)
does “not require heightened fact pleading of
specifics, but only enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570. Consequently, “only a complaint that
states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to
dismiss.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). A claim is plausible if
the complaint contains “factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged, ” and if there is
“more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Id.. at 678.
order to allow for the development of a potentially
meritorious claim, federal courts have an obligation to
construe pro se pleadings liberally. See, e.g.,
Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (citation
omitted). Moreover, “[l]iberal construction of the
pleadings is particularly appropriate where . . . there is a
pro se complaint raising civil rights issues.”
Smith v. Smith, 589 F.3d 736, 738 (4th Cir. 2009)
(quoting Loe v. Armistead, 582 F.2d 1291, 1295 (4th
Cir. 1978)). Nevertheless, “[p]rinciples requiring
generous construction of pro se complaints are not .
. . without limits.” Beaudett v. City of
Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). “A
pro se plaintiff still must allege facts that state
a cause of action.” Bracey v. Buchanan, 55
F.Supp.2d 416, 421 (E.D. Va. 1999) (quoting Sado v.
Leland Mem'l Hospital, 933 F.Supp. 490, 493 (D. Md.
alleges that defendants Hairston and Bramblett-Robinson
denied him adequate medical treatment. I conclude that
Williams' allegations state a plausible Eighth Amendment
claim against these defendants and, therefore, I will deny
their motion to dismiss.
state a cognizable Eighth Amendment claim for denial of
medical care, a plaintiff must allege facts sufficient to
demonstrate that jail officials were deliberately indifferent
to a serious medical need. Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 105 (1976); Staples v. Va. Dep't of
Corr., 904 F.Supp. 487, 492 (E.D.Va. 1995). To establish
deliberate indifference, a plaintiff must present facts to
demonstrate that the defendant had actual knowledge of and
disregard for an ...