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Costine v. Correct Care Solutions, LLC

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

July 2, 2019

EUGENE DEWITT COSTINE, Plaintiff,
v.
CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS, LLC, and HAMPTON ROADS REGIONAL JAIL AUTHORITY, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Robert G. Doumar Judge

         The plaintiff, Eugene Dewitt Costine ("Plaintiff), filed this Section 1983 action against the defendants, Correct Care Solutions, LLC and Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority, seeking $10 million in damages stemming from the amputation of his left foot in June 2017, which Plaintiff claims was caused by the allegedly negligent medical care he received as an inmate in Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth, Virginia, from 2016 to 2017. Defendant Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority moved to dismiss to the complaint on various grounds. For the reasons stated herein, such motion is GRANTED only as to Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority, which is hereby DISMISSED as a defendant from this case.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On January 29, 2019, Eugene D. Costine ("Plaintiff) filed the instant action against defendants Correct Care Solutions, LLC ("CCS") and Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority ("HRRJA") (collectively, "Defendants") seeking $10 million in damages for injuries sustained due to the allegedly inadequate medical care Plaintiff received while incarcerated at Hampton Roads Regional Jail. Complaint, ECF No. 1 (hereinafter "Compl."). On March 1, 2019, defendant CCS filed its answer to the complaint along with several affirmative defenses. ECF No. 14. On March 20, 2019, defendant HRRJA filed its answer to the complaint along with several affirmative defenses. ECF No. 18.

         On March 20, 2019, HRRJA also filed the instant Motion to Dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure along with a supporting memorandum ("Mem."). ECF Nos. 16, 17. The motion has been fully briefed. See Plaintiffs Response, ECF No. 22, and HRRJA's Reply, ECF No. 23. On June 24, 2019, the Court conducted a hearing on same. HRRJA's Motion to Dismiss is now before the Court.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A Rule 12(b)(1) motion permits dismissal of a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). Where, as here, a defendant makes a facial rather than factual challenge to subject matter jurisdiction, "the plaintiff, in effect, is afforded the same procedural protection as he would receive under a Rule 12(b)(6) consideration." Kerns v. United States. 585 F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 2009) (internal citations omitted). Therefore, "the facts alleged in the complaint are taken as true, and the motion must be denied if the complaint alleges sufficient facts to invoke subject matter jurisdiction." Id.

         A Rule 12(b)(6) motion permits dismissal of a complaint where it "fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion must be read in conjunction with Rule 8(a)(2), which requires "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), so as 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, 550 (2007) (internal quotation omitted). To satisfy this pleading standard, a complaint must contain sufficient factual information to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face" and "raise a right to relief above the speculative level" to survive a motion to dismiss. Id.

         Because a Rule 12(b)(6) motion tests the sufficiency of a complaint without resolving factual disputes, the court "must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint" and "draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff." Kensington Volunteer Fire Dep't v. Montgomery County, 684 F.3d 462, 467 (4th Cir. 2012) (internal quotations omitted). However, the court is not bound by the "legal conclusions drawn from the facts" and "need not accept as true unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments." E. Shore Mkts.. Inc. v. J.D. Assocs. Ltd.. 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000).

         III. FACTS ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT

         As set forth above, when deciding HRRJ's Motion to Dismiss, the Court must assume the truth of all well-pleaded factual allegations contained in Plaintiffs complaint. These allegations are as follows.

         In or about November 2014, Plaintiff, a resident of Newport News, Virginia, underwent surgery on his left foot at the VCU Medical Center in Richmond. Compl. ¶ 1. He was subsequently placed under the care of Dr. Eugene Link of TPMG in Newport News, who conducted home-care visits at Plaintiffs home three times a week. Id. On or about October 2, 2016, Plaintiff was detained in the Newport News City Jail by the Newport News Sheriffs Department. Id. ¶ 11 • At that time, Plaintiffs foot wound was still being treated by Dr. Link, with the most recent date of such treatment occurring on or about September 29, 2016. Id. Plaintiff was held in Newport News City Jail for approximately two weeks during which time he received occasional wound treatment and bandage changes. Id. ¶ 12.

         On or about October 17, 2016, Plaintiff was transferred from Newport News City Jail to Maryview Hospital where he underwent surgery to clear out an infection in his left foot. Id. ¶ 13. After approximately one week at the hospital, he was transferred to Hampton Roads Regional Jail ("HRRJ") "where he was to continue receiving intravenous antibiotics daily and external wound care." Id. ¶ 14. At all relevant times, "Correct Care Solutions, LLC [CCS] was responsible for providing medical care to inmates housed at the [HRRJ] as an independent medical provider or in the alternative acting as agent, servant, or employee of Defendant [HRRJA]." Id. ¶ 4.

         While being held at HRRJ, and while under the care of CCS, Plaintiffs wounds were not cared for as directed in the Plaintiffs discharge instructions from Maryview Hospital. Id. ¶ 15. For example, Plaintiff was "forced to endure long gaps in between bandage [changes] causing his wounds to not heal as expected." Id.

         In March 2017, CCS medical staff placed Plaintiffs foot in a Unaboot. Id. ¶ 16. After this, Plaintiffs wound care "continued to be sporadic and inadequate with Plaintiff sometimes being deprived up to a week between wound cleaning and re-bandaging." Id.

         At some point between March 2017 and June 2017, Plaintiffs left foot began to emit noxious odors and to seep fluid. Id. ¶ 17. Defendants were made aware of this condition, after which time CCS instructed Plaintiff to do his "own wound care" and provided Plaintiff bandages every two to four days. Id. At some point between June 17 and 19, 2017, Plaintiff developed a fever. Id. ΒΆ 18. "Defendants ...


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