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Hunter v. Rauf

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

August 26, 2019

CHARLES C. HUNTER, Plaintiff,
v.
DIRECTOR RAUF, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          John A. Gibney, Jr., United States District Judge

         Charles C. Hunter, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.[1] The action proceeds on Hunter's Particularized Complaint ("Complaint," ECF No. 18).[2] Hunter names as defendants: Director Rauf, [3] Supervisor Malike, and Supervisor Osafo. The matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss filed by Supervisor Malike and Supervisor Osafo. (ECF No. 42.) Hunter has responded. (ECF Nos. 47, 52.)'[4] For the reasons stated below, the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 42) will be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         I. STANDARD FOR MOTION TO DISMISS

         Pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") this Court must dismiss any action filed by a prisoner if the Court determines the action (1) "is frivolous" or (2) "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The first standard includes claims based upon "an indisputably meritless legal theory," or claims where the "factual contentions are clearly baseless." Clay v. Yates, 809 F.Supp. 417, 427 (E.D. Va. 1992) (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989)), aff'd, 36 F.3d 1091 (4th Cir. 1994). The second standard is the familiar standard for a motion to dismiss under 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) (citing 5A Charles A. Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1356 (1990)). In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a plaintiffs well-pleaded allegations are taken as true and the complaint is viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993); see also Martin, 980 F.2d at 952. This principle applies only to factual allegations, however, and "a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, arc not entitled to the assumption of truth." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure "require[ ] only 'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to 'give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Bell All. Corp. v. Twomhly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (second alteration in original) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Plaintiffs cannot satisfy this standard with complaints containing only "labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Id. (citations omitted). Instead, a plaintiff must allege facts sufficient "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level," id. (citation omitted), stating a claim that is "plausible on its face," id. at 570, rather than merely "conceivable." Id. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Ad. Corp., 550 U.S. at 556). In order for a claim or complaint to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, the plaintiff must "allege facts sufficient to state all the elements of [his or] her claim." Bass v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d 761, 765 (4th Cir. 2003) (citing Dickson v. Microsoft Corp., 309 F.3d 193, 213 (4th Cir. 2002); lodice v. United Slates, 289 F.3d 270, 281 (4th Cir. 2002)). Lastly, while the Court liberally construes pro se complaints, Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), it will not act as the inmate's advocate and develop, sua sponte, statutory and constitutional claims that the inmate failed to clearly raise on the face of his complaint. See Brock v. Carroll, 107 F.3d 241, 243 (4th Cir. 1997) (Luttig, J., concurring); Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).

         II. HUNTER'S ALLEGATIONS

         In his Complaint, Hunter alleges that Defendants Supervisor Malike and Supervisor Osafo "are head or supervisor nurses," and "[t]hese two nurses report to Director Rauf." (Compl. 1.) Hunter further alleges:

... [Defendants] are the heads of Fairfax Detention Center['s] medical department that I know of and the only names given [to] me. Rauf, Malike, and Osafo knew I wasn't or didn't receive meds and they took no actions in getting my meds. I wrote a number of medical request forms stating my concerns for missing meds (blood thinner) which my primary care doctor stress[ed] that I shouldn't miss a day of meds. My medical request forms state[] time and time again asking what danger was I in due to missing meds. I never received an answer which cause[d] me MAJOR mental stress and many sleepless nights thinking the blood clot would break off and kill me.
Constitution violation. My 8th Amendment under cruel and unusual punishment. A reply would have not cause[d] mental stress and sleepless nights and days worrying if the clot would break off.
Since being at Fairfax Detention Center, I have misse[d] a number of days of taking meds, again with no reply from staff. Only reply I receive was - we ran out of your meds. Again days and nights with no sleep concerning whether or not the clot would break off. I explain to medical I have an extensive blood clot which I had to fight for my life for months. Malike [and] Osafo knew just how extreme my clot is. They knew a small piece already broke off and went to my lung and I was already afraid for my life. Missing five days of meds wasn't an option for me.
Constitution violation. My 8lh Amendment under cruel and unusual punishment. Knowing my mental state from missing meds before due to medical not giving me my meds. Once again I go into a state of depression.
Just recently, I missed six days of meds and the staff, Malike and Osafo, on the six[th] day wanted to switch my meds without contacting my doctor or taking any tests (blood or urine) to see how or if the new meds would work for me. I explain[ed] that they should reach out to my doctor and ask [him] could I switch medication. I explain that my primary care doctor [gave] me Xarelto and to change it after a year might not be the right thing to do. Especially when you haven't taken any tests. These events cause lead [sic] me to seek forensic staff (Mental Health) which said they couldn't help because I wasn't hearing voices in my head.
Constitution violation. 8th Amendment under cruel and unusual punishment. I was being force[d] to change meds which made me mentally depress[ed] and once again I had many sleepless nights praying my clot won't break off.

(Id. (paragraph numbers omitted).)

         Additionally, Hunter alleges:

... [M]edical once again disregard[ed] my medical needs, I take morning meds for my (DVT) blood clot in my left leg. This is a medical fact that my meds should be taken every day around the same time, not only have I miss[ed] meds due to the medical staff, who the supervisor is at fault. Team leader (supervisor) Nurse Osafo who reports to Nurse (Sgt) Kent never informed Nurse Kent of the many issues, at least that's what Nurse Kent claims. My times are constantly altered by Nurse Osafo. I ask for a grievance form time after time in order to get help, I'm only provided request forms. I have never been provided a grievance form to address this matter. On 7-27-18, I received my meds at 4:10 p.m. after Deputy Roberts called main medical concerning my meds. Deputy Roberts was inform[ed] that due to me going to Bible study (programs) I wasn't given meds. If I want meds, I would have to cancel my Bible study class I attend [which] the jail provides. In short, I was ask[cd] to make a choice between getting meds or my faith. According to my 1st Amendment this is a violation, why should I have to choose between life and faith. Finally, I was sent to main medical and Nurse Osafo mention[ed] the same thing to me in the presence of Mr. Andrew who works in the office. Nurse Osafo was verbally abusive towards me concerning me going to programs. Regardless of my incarceration, I shouldn't have to deal with this emotional stress concerning refusal of meds and[/]or delay (seven hours) of meds. Please keep in mind I was force[d] to miss meds for six days and was pressured to change my meds after medical [had] been [giving] me the same meds for the better part of eight months. This was mention[ed] without contacting my primary care doctor which I asked them to do....
Constitution violation. 8th Amendment under cruel and unusual punishment. 1 worry every day concerning what's the next thing medical staff will do, when I mention medical staff, the nurses are Osafo and the supervisor he reports to which is Nurse (Sgt) Kent and Director Rauf. I find it difficult to sleep due to concerns of death. I have many sleepless nights.

(ECF No. 18-3, at l.)[5]

         Based on the foregoing allegations, the Court construes Hunter to raise the following claims for relief:

Claim One: Director Rauf, Supervisor Malike, and Supervisor Osafo violated Hunter's Eighth Amendment[6] rights when "they took no actions in getting [Hunter's] meds," despite knowing that he had not received ...

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