Williams v. Shumaker et al
ORDER granting 23 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim.; official capacity claims against Nurse Chelsey Foster are dismissed without prejudice. Signed by Honorable Susan O. Hickey on March 9, 2018. (cnn)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
DAMONT ANDRE’ WILLIAMS
Civil No. 4:17-cv-04093
OFFICER SHUMAKER, Miller County
Detention Center, (“MCDC”); CORPORAL
GRIFFIE, MCDC; NURSE CHELSEA,
MCDC; OFFICER NALLS, MCDC;
and MICHAEL CAGLE
Before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Nurse Chelsey Foster. 1 (ECF
No. 23). Plaintiff has not responded. The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.
Plaintiff filed his Complaint on October 23, 2017. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff is currently being
held in the Miller County Detention Center (“MCDC”) awaiting trial on pending criminal charges.
Plaintiff’s Complaint alleges that while at the MCDC he was: (1) subjected to excessive force by
Defendants Shumaker, Henderson, and Griffie; (2) denied his First Amendment right to practice
his religion by Defendant Griffie; and (3) denied medical care by Defendants Foster and Nalls. On
November 21, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Supplement to his Complaint alleging Officer Cagle used
excessive force against him. (ECF No. 17). Plaintiff has sued Defendants in their individual and
On December 1, 2017, Defendant Foster filed a Motion to Dismiss arguing that Plaintiff
failed to allege any facts to support an official capacity claim against her employer, Southern
Defendant Foster is referred to in Plaintiff’s Complaint as “Nurse Chelsea”. She is employed by Southern Health
Partners, Inc.—the entity with whom Miller County has contracted to provide medical services to the inmates in the
Miller County Detention Center.
Health Partners, Inc. On January 25, 2018, the Court issued an order directing Plaintiff to respond
to Defendant Foster’s Motion to Dismiss by February 15, 2018. (ECF No. 43). To date, Plaintiff
has not filed a response.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Rule 8(a) contains the general pleading rules and requires a complaint to present “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a)(2). “In order to meet this standard, and survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), ‘a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.’” Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotations omitted)). “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.” Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678.
Although the Court will liberally construe a pro se plaintiff’s complaint, the plaintiff must allege
sufficient facts to support his claims. See Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004).
Plaintiff has sued Defendant Foster in both her individual and official capacities. A suit
against an individual in his or her official capacity is actually a suit against the entity for which the
official is an agent. Elder-Keep v. Aksamit, 460 F.3d 979, 986 (8th Cir. 2006). Official capacity
claims are “functionally equivalent to a suit against the employing governmental entity.” Veatch
v. Bartels Lutheran Home, 627 F.3d 1254, 1257 (8th Cir. 2010). In other words, Plaintiff’s official
capacity claims against Defendant Foster are treated as claims against her employer, Southern
Health Partners, Inc. See Murray v. Lene, 595 F.3d 868, 873 (8th Cir. 2010).
To establish liability on the part of Southern Health Partners, Inc., under section 1983,
“plaintiff must show that a constitutional violation was committed pursuant to an official custom,
policy, or practice of the governmental entity.” Moyle v. Anderson, 571 F.3d 814, 817 (8th Cir.
2009) (citation omitted). Plaintiff has not alleged that any policy, practice, or custom of Southern
Health Partners, Inc., contributed in any way to the alleged violation of Plaintiff’s constitutional
rights. Nor has Plaintiff responded to Defendant Foster’s Motion to Dismiss the official capacity
claims. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s official capacity claim against Defendant Foster fail to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted and should be dismissed.
For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Foster’s Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 23) is hereby
GRANTED and Plaintiff’s official capacity claim against Defendant Nurse Chelsey Foster is
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
IT IS SO ORDERED, this 9th day of March, 2018.
/s/ Susan O. Hickey
Susan O. Hickey
United States District Judge
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