Lorenzo v. Georgia Department of Corrections et al

Filing 29

ORDER granting Defendants' 15 Motion to Dismiss; instructing the Clerk to terminate the Georgia Department of Corrections and John Doe #1 and John Doe #2 as parties in this case; and determining that only Plaintiffs' claim against Williams and Pittman in their individual capacities for their alleged Failure to protect Lorenzo, which Defendants did not move to dismiss, will proceed. Signed by Judge J. Randal Hall on 3/8/2017. (jah)

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IN THE UNITED FOR THE STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OP GEORGIA STATESBORO DIVISION RAMIRO GONZALES, JR., Administrator the of Cristian of Ivan * as Estate Bailon * Lorenzo, and MARIBEL LORENZO MOLINA, * Plaintiffs, v, CV GEORGIA DEPARTMENT CORRECTIONS, Division of 616-011 OF an Administrative the State * of Georgia, STANLEY WILLIAMS, Individually and in his Official Capacity as Warden of * Smith State Prison, JARROD D. PITTMAN, Individually and in his Official Capacity as Correctional Officer at Smith State Prison, and JOHN DOE #1 and JOHN DOE #2, Individually * * and in their Official Capacities as Officials of Smith State Prison, Defendants. ORDER This case arises out Cristian Ivarj Bailon Lorenzo's death l at Smith State Prison in Glennville, Georgia. Following his death, Plaintiffs filed suit on Lorenzo' Is behalf alleging statelaw and constitutional claims. Defendants move to dismiss all but one their claim. claims sufficient Because fail, and facts indifference to Plaintiffs to because GRANTS Defendants' Before Prison. known his (Doc. death, 1 1 threatened Lorenzo, (Id.) who The Lorenzo. (Id. St was 12.) Lorenzo prison incarcerated be to Smith at transferred to officials/ however, According to Corrections; Prison, Pittman, suit (2) State a Duron a different ignored Plaintiffs, handcuffed, Duron, who his against: (1) Stanley Williams, the 13.) unrestrained, estate and his Department of individually and in his official capacity; a prison official at Smith State Prison, and in his official capacity; and (4) 1 (Id. 1 13-14.) Georgia the warden Defendant (Id. was Plaintiffs, the administrator of Lorenzo's filed Court Plaintiffs, stabbed Lorenzo repeatedly with a metal shank. mother, the And on February 12, 2014, Duron murdered 14.) was deliberate needs, Pittman entered Lorenzo's cell and handcuffed him. And while plead 15). According asked to (Id. 1 16.) requests. of to of He shared a cell with Richard Duron, 1 (Id. number Background Lorenzo 11.) (doc. a failed claim medical motion to dismiss murderer. cell. their serious I. that Plaintiffs support Lorenzo's concede Smith (3) of State Jarrod individually John Does #1 and #2. In their complaint, Plaintiffs assert claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of Lorenzo's rights under the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments and state-law claims under the Georgia Tort Claims Act. deliberate They allege that Defendants acted with indifference to Lorenzo's safety before the after stabbing. stabbing ! and to his medical needs the move to dismiss all but one claim. II. In courts considering test plaintiffs Rhodes, all will 416 facts the 232, alleged inferences in in the to 236 a 15.) dismiss sufficiency ultimately U.S. now Legal Standard motions legal (Doc. Defendants prevail (1974). complaint light most of Rule complaints, on A under the court and favorable the all whether Scheuer accept construe to not merits. must 12(b) (6), as true reasonable plaintiff. Hoffman-Pugh v. Ramsey, 312 F.3d 1222, 1^25 (11th Cir. 2002). court, however, only U.S. 678-79 A its well-pleaded facts. complaint on its face.'" "factual 544, also must that alleged." Id. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 "contain sufficient factual matter, Ato state a claim to relief that is plausible Id. at 678 570 content inference A (2009). accepted as true, 550 U.S. See need not accept a complaint's legal conclusions as true, 662, v. (2007)). that the (citing Bell Atl. allows A plaintiff the defendant is court to liable Corp. v. Twombly, is required to plead draw for the the reasonable misconduct "The plausibility standard is not akin to a ^probability requirement,' but it asks for more than possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ill. As More noted, specifically, asserted claims against the all Pittman medical acted needs. Plaintiffs seek Georgia with In concede constitutional to and their claims Id. and of the claim. claims Corrections, in all their official claim that Williams to motion state-law claims the one all indifference Defendants' against but dismiss Pittman deliberate to all to Department claims, response that dismiss move Williams state-law sheer Discussion Defendants asserted against capacities, and Defendants a fail, Georgia Lorenzo's to dismiss, that their Department of Corrections and against Williams and Pittman in their official capacities fail, and that Defendants fail. their claims against the John Doe Thus, the only disputed issue before the Court is whether Plaintiffs' claim against Williams and Pittman based their alleged deliberate indifference to; Lorenzo's medical needs should proceed. The state has a "constitutional obligation to provide minimally adequate medical care to those whom [it is] punishing by incarceration." Cir. under 1991). the indifference Harris v. Thigpen, 941 F.2d 1495, 1504 (11th Prisoners, eighth by therefore, amendment correctional to are be "guaranteed the free institutions from to their right deliberate serious" medical needs. Id. indifference to (1) that he officials needs; had (3) serious with on needs, medical subjective a claim needs; (2) deliberate Goebert v. Lee, of deliberate a plaintiff must that the prison officials' plaintiff's injuries. Cir. succeed serious medical acted and To that prove: the prison indifference misconduct 510 F.3d 1312, to his caused the 1326 (11th 2007) . A serious medical need "is one that has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a doctor's shown lay person would attention." by violation." easily Id. personal And recognize the " [c]ausation, participation in of the necessity course, for a can be constitutional Id. To show deliberate indifference, a plaintiff must prove (1) i subjective knowledge of a risk of harm and (2) disregard of that harm (3) "by conduct that is more than [gross] negligence." at 1327 (alteration in original) quotation marks omitted). (citation omitted) Id. (internal Whether a defendant had subjective knowledge of a risk of harm is typically a factual question "subject to demonstration in the usual ways, including inference from circumstantial evidence, and a factfinder may conclude that a prison official knew of a substantial risk from the very fact that the risk was obvious." quotation marks omitted). IdL_ (citation omitted) (internal Similarly, N> [d] isregard of the risk is also a question methods." Id. negligence' in care, need; (3) And fact that consider: "(1) Defendants pleaded that Lorenzo's is contend they serious 'more the of by standard than gross seriousness of that acted medical Plaintiffs with needs. As medical knew of a Pittman.1 Thus, Plaintiffs disregarded that risk have risk of the have deliberate Plaintiffs serious the condition; an have not and sufficiently indifference initial to matter, the adequately pleaded that needs and harm: that Lorenzo Defendants was focuses its sufficiently pleaded stabbed in analysis Court on that of medical Id. satisfied that subjectively whether of had Lorenzo front shown whether the delay worsened the medical the reason for the delay." Court be meaning "[t]he can is not self-evident," but in cases involving a delay courts (2) of harm by condpct that was Defendants more than gross negligence. In their complaint, Plaintiffs allege Lorenzo was repeatedly stabbed by Duron, administration of immediate medical that, Defendants delayed the treatment, proximately resulting in Mr. Lorenzo's death." 1 The Court notes that Plaintiffs have not "[a]fter Mr. directly (Doc. 1 and 1 18.) alleged that Williams was present when Duron stabbed Lorenzo and thus have not alleged that he was subjectively aware of Lorenzo's serious medical needs. But because Plaintiffs have failed to allege that either Defendant disregarded Lorenzo's needs by conduct that was more than gross negligence, the Court will assume Plaintiffs have adequately pleaded subjective knowledge of serious medical needs for purposes of this Order. They also claim that "[t]he actions of Defendants constituted a deliberate indifference to the safety and serious medical needs of prisoner Lorenzo, infliction punishment of and (Id. paragraphs complaint that indifference have, pain . . . ." These which of a 662, 678 (2009) Atl. Corp. v. contain pleaded cause of unnecessary and cruel and the only wanton unusual Plaintiffs' serious only "a action." allegations claim medical of formulaic Ashcroft 550 U.S. 544, the Plaintiffs recitation v. 555 in deliberate needs. Iqbal, (internal quotation marks omitted) Twombly, and SI 2 6.) Lorenzo's therefore, elements suffering, address to constituted of 556 the U.S. (quoting Bell (2007). Plaintiffs have not pleaded "factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that [Defendants misconduct alleged." Id. facts Defendants explaining assuming how Defendants did are] They do not allege, delay delayed liable for the for example, any treatment. treatment, And Plaintiffs do even not allege any facts showing that Defendants delayed treatment by conduct that was more than gross negligence. Nor do they offer any factual allegations supporting the inference that a delay in treatment caused Lorenzo's death. to plausibly indifference allege to that Lorenzo's GRANTS Defendants' Thus, Defendants serious Plaintiffs have failed acted medical motion to dismiss. with needs, and deliberate the Court IV. Because Plaintiffs claims fail, facts to deliberate and have because support conceded Plaintiffs their indifference to Court GRANTS Defendants' Conclusion claim that a number of their failed to plead sufficient that Lorenzo's Defendants acted serious medical motion to dismiss (doc. with needs, 15). the The Clerk is instructed to TERMINATE the Georgia Department of Corrections and John Doe #1 and John Doe #2 as parties in this case. Plaintiffs' individual Lorenzo — claim against capacities which for Williams their Defendants did and alleged not move Pittman failure to in to dismiss Only their protect — will proceed. ORDER ENTERED at Augusta, Georgia this _£ day of March, 2017. HONORRBTE J. RANDAL HALLV UNITED/STATES DISTRICT JUDGE IERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA

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