Pineda v. GEO Group/Correct Care Recovery Solutions et al
ORDER denying Geo Group's 35 motion to dismiss without prejudice to this defendant raising the issue in a properly supported motion for summary judgment after the close of discovery. Defendant shall file an answer within 21 days of this Order. Signed by Judge John E. Steele on 11/13/2017. (RKR)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
FORT MYERS DIVISION
RECOVERY SOLUTIONS, (CCS),
This matter comes before the Court upon Defendant Geo Group,
Inc.’s (Defendant Geo Group’s) motion to dismiss (Doc. 35, filed
June 15, 2017).
Plaintiff, an involuntarily civilly committed
Arcadia, Florida, 1 initiated this action by filing a complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Geo Group/Correct
Care Recovery Solutions, Kristen Kanner, Mike Carroll, Donald
Florida’s Involuntary Civil Commitment for Sexually
Violent Predators Act was enacted in Florida “to create a civil
commitment procedure for the long-term care and treatment of
sexually violent predators.” Fla. Stat. § 394.910, et seq. A person
who is found, after a hearing, to be a “sexually violent predator”
is “committed to the custody of the Department of Children and
Family Services for control, care, and treatment until such time
as the person’s mental abnormality or personality disorder has so
changed that it is safe for the person to be at large.” Id. at §
Plaintiff’s original complaint is the operative complaint before
For the reasons given in this Order, Defendant Geo Group’s
motion is denied without prejudice to this defendant raising the
claim in a motion for summary judgment.
In his complaint, Plaintiff asserts that, on November 28,
2015, he was assaulted by another resident of the FCCC, and during
the attack, the resident bit off a portion of his right earlobe
(Doc. 1 at 4).
Plaintiff claims that there were no security
officers present to prevent the assault.
the following regarding Defendant Geo Group’s liability:
Defendant Geo Group/Correct Care Recovery
Solutions (CCS) was at all times relevant to
this action the private prison corporation
under contract with the Florida Department of
Children and Families to operate the Florida
Civil Commitment Center and was acting under
color of State law.
By failed [sic] to
protect the safety of Plaintiff who is under
its legal custody, GEO Group/CCS has violated
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Group/CCS is sued for monetary damages.
(Doc. 1 at 4-5).
Catron, Rebecca Jackson, and Donald Sawyer filed Answers and
However, Defendant Geo Group filed a motion to dismiss the claims
- 2 -
against it on the grounds that it was not operating the FCCC on
November 28, 2015—the date of the alleged attack—and that it has
no affiliation with Defendant Correct Care Recovery Solutions
(Doc. 35, filed June 15, 2017).
Defendant Geo Group notes that
similarly named Geo Care, LLC operated the facility until Defendant
Correct Care took over in September of 2014 and that Geo Group is
“a separate entity from CORRECT CARE.”
Id. at 2.
In response, Plaintiff asserts that “Defendant [Geo Group]
has failed to meet their burden of demonstrating that there is no
business connection between Geo Group, Inc. . . . and Correct Care
Recovery Solutions[.]” (Doc. 36).
Plaintiff asserts that Geo
Group and Correct Care “merged together in a contractual scheme
with the Florida Department of Children and Family Services to
take care for the full operations of the Florida Civil Commitment
responsibilities and liabilities under the contractual obligations
during the incident in which Nelson was injured, and therefore
they are ‘joinder parties’ to this action.”
Id. at 1-2.
Standard of Review
When considering a motion to dismiss, this Court accepts as
true all allegations in the complaint and construes them in the
Telecomms., 372 F.3d 1250, 1262-63 (11th Cir. 2004).
this Court favors the plaintiff with all reasonable inferences
- 3 -
from the allegations in the complaint. Stephens v. Dep’t of Health
& Human Servs., 901 F.2d 1571, 1573 (11th Cir. 1990) (“On a motion
to dismiss, the facts stated in [the] complaint and all reasonable
inferences therefrom are taken as true.”).
However, the Supreme
Court explains that:
While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss does not need detailed
factual allegations, a plaintiff’s obligation
to provide the grounds of his entitlement to
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.
Factual allegations must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level.
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal
citations and quotation marks omitted).
Further, courts are not
“bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).
In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the Supreme Court,
Twombly, illustrated a two-pronged approach to motions to dismiss.
First, a reviewing court must determine whether a Plaintiff’s
allegation is merely an unsupported legal conclusion that is not
entitled to an assumption of truth.
Next, the court must determine
whether the complaint’s factual allegations state a claim for
relief that is plausible on its face. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
In the case of a pro se action, the Court should construe the
- 4 -
lawyers. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980).
se litigants are not exempt from complying with the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, including Rule 8(a)(2)’s pleading standard. GJR
Investments, Inc. v. Cnty. of Escambia, 132 F.3d 1359, 1369 (11th
Cir. 1998) (“Yet even in the case of pro se litigants this leniency
does not give a court license to serve as de facto counsel for a
party, or to rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading in order to
sustain an action[.]” (internal citations omitted)), overruled on
other grounds as recognized in Randall v. Scott, 610 F.3d 701, 706
(11th Cir. 2010); see also Moon v. Newsome, 863 F.2d 835, 837 (11th
Cir. 1989) (stating that pro se litigants are “subject to the relevant
In his complaint, Plaintiff conflates Defendants Geo Group
and Correct Care Recovery Solutions and treats them as a single
defendant (Doc. 1).
However, although his response is not the
defendants are different companies and that Defendant Geo Group
ceased its operation of the FCCC in 2014 (Doc. 36 at 1).
Nevertheless, Plaintiff argues that both companies are liable for
his injuries because they “formed one merger.” (Doc. 36 at 2).
Defendant Geo Group urges that it “has no affiliation with
CORRECT CARE and GEO GROUP did not have anything to do with the
- 5 -
FCCC on November 28, 2015.” (Doc. 35 at 2).
However, as recently
as March 8, 2017, this Court identified The Geo Group, Inc. as
“the private company that Florida contracts with to operate the
FCCC.” (Case No. 2:10-cv-428-PAM-MRM at docket entry 174 at 2).
While it may very well be that Geo Group, Inc. no longer operates
the FCCC and did not do so on the date of Plaintiff’s alleged
injuries, this is a factual issue that cannot be resolved at this
stage of the proceedings.
ACCORDINGLY, it is hereby
Defendant Geo Group’s motion to dismiss (Doc. 35) is
DENIED without prejudice to this defendant raising the issue in a
properly supported motion for summary judgment after the close of
Defendant Geo Group shall answer Plaintiff’s complaint
within TWENTY-ONE (21) DAYS from the date on this Order.
DONE and ORDERED in Fort Myers, Florida on this
of November, 2017.
Copies: All Parties of Record
- 6 -
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?