United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
WAYNE E. HAILEY, Plaintiff,
RED ONION STATE PRISON, et al., Defendants.
Michael F. Urbanski Chief United States District Judge.
E. Hailey, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, commenced
this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that
the defendants violated his constitutional rights related to
the use of five-point restraints and two separate
institutional disciplinary charges. Defendants Red Onion
State Prison ("Red Onion"), Qualified Mental Health
Professional ("QMHP") Huff, Counselor Gibson,
Warden Kiser, and Major Tate filed a motion to dismiss and
the motion is ripe for disposition. After reviewing the
pleadings, the court grants in part and denies in part
defendants' motion to dismiss.
alleges that on February 3, 2017, he cut himself and, on
February 24, 2017, he reopened the wound. As a result,
defendant QMHP Fletcher placed him in five-point restraints.
The next day, defendant QMHP Buchanan ordered that he be held
in the five-point restraints for an additional twenty-four
hours. Hailey claims that he laid in human body waste for
"several hours" before he was let up from the
restraints and shoved into a cold shower by defendant Sgt.
Dixon. After the cold shower, he was not allowed to dry off,
was put in a clean pair of underwear, and was re-strapped
down, "extra tight" by Sgt. Dixon and other
officers. His hands and feet lost feeling and he was in
"awful pain" because of the tight restraints.
Defendant Nurse McCoy checked the restraints and said they
were "okay." However, he claims that the straps of
the restraints cut into his skin. He also claims that there
was cold air blowing out of the vents in the cell, which
caused him to get "real cold" and to shake. Hailey
claims that he was tied down over and over again, at least
six times, during the "ordeal."
separate occasion, defendant Counselor Gibson charged Hailey
with an institutional disciplinary infraction for refusing to
enter general population, and defendant Warden Kiser approved
the charge. Hailey claims that he had an "enemy
problem," which he told Warden Kiser about in writing.
Hailey argues that Warden Kiser and Counselor Gibson were
"attempting to force" him into general population,
which was a "dangerous situation" where he could
"maybe get hurt bad or killed." Hailey claims that
Warden Kiser and defendant Major Tate, head of security, knew
his "situation," but nevertheless approved the
disciplinary charge, "laughed about it," and
"made threats of further harm to [him]." Hailey was
found guilty of the charge and fined.
response in opposition to defendants' motion to dismiss,
Hailey alleges for the first time that defendant QMHP Huff
"got involved by letting the ordeal go on -
know[ing]ly -without caring." Presumably, Hailey was
referring to his placement in five-point restraints. Hailey
also alleges that Major Tate saw him on the day he was let up
from the restraints and Major Tate told him he would put him
"straight back down - no matter how much pain and
suffering [he] was in." He also states that Counselor
Gibson wrote the disciplinary charge for refusing to enter
general population while "knowing he would put [Hailey]
in harm's way," and that Warden Kiser knew
"what was going on and gave his approval."
Red Onion, QHMP Huff, Counselor Gibson, Warden Kiser, and
Major Tate have moved to dismiss Hailey's complaint
against them. 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). 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). Nevertheless, "[principles
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).
named Red Onion as a defendant. To state a cause of action
under § 1983, a plaintiff must establish that he has
been deprived of rights guaranteed by the Constitution or
laws of the United States and that this deprivation resulted
from conduct committed by a person acting under color of
state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42 (1988).
Neither a state nor an entity considered to be an
"arm" of the state can be sued under § 1983.
Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S.
58, 71 (1989). Because Red Onion is considered an arm of the
Commonwealth of Virginia, this entity cannot be sued under
§ 1983. See Will, 491 U.S. at 65-70; McCoy
v. Chesapeake Corr. Ctr., 788 F.Supp. 890 (E.D. Va.
alleges that Counselor Gibson, Warden Kiser, and Major Tate
were involved in "attempting" to "force"
Hailey to go to general population despite
"knowing" that it would be dangerous for him. To
the extent Hailey is arguing that these defendants failed to
protect him, his allegations fail to state a cognizable
claim. An inmate has an Eighth Amendment right to be
protected from violence perpetrated by other prisoners.
Danser v. Stansberry,772 F.3d 340, 346 (4th Cir.
2014); see Farmer v. Brennan,511 U.S. 825, 833-35
(1994). To state a claim for damages against a prison
official for failure to protect from inmate violence, an
inmate must plead facts that show (1) he was incarcerated
under conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm,
(2) the official was deliberately indifferent to that
substantial risk to his health and safety, and (3) the
official's deliberate indifference caused him harm.
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. Although he alleges that
the defendants attempted to force him into entering general
population, Hailey does not allege that he did, in fact,
enter general population. Instead, he alleges that he was
found guilty of the disciplinary charge for failing to enter
general population and received a fine for his conviction of
the charge. ...