Shipley v. Iron County, Missouri et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER..IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk shall issue process or cause process to issue upon the complaint as to defendant Bessi Lynn Nash.IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2), defendant Nash shall repl y to plaintiffs claims within the time provided by the applicable provisions of Rule 12(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiffs official-capacity claims are DISMISSED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk sha ll not issue process or cause process to issue upon the complaint as to defendants James Mays, Don Barzewski, Bradford Johnson, Dustin Walker, or Virginia Queen because, as to these defendants, the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Signed by District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr on 5/3/13. (MRS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
STUARD T. SHIPLEY,
IRON COUNTY, MISSOURI, et al.,
No. 1:13CV00038 SNLJ
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court for review of plaintiff’s amended complaint
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss a complaint
filed in forma pauperis if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief. An action is frivolous if it “lacks an arguable basis in either law or
fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989); Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S.
25, 31 (1992). An action is malicious if it is undertaken for the purpose of harassing
the named defendants and not for the purpose of vindicating a cognizable right.
Spencer v. Rhodes, 656 F. Supp. 458, 461-63 (E.D.N.C. 1987), aff’d 826 F.2d 1059
(4th Cir. 1987). A complaint fails to state a claim if it does not plead “enough facts
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
Plaintiff brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff brings this action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deliberate indifference to his medical needs. Named as
defendants are James May, Chief Deputy for the Sheriff’s Department of Iron County;
Bessi Lynn Nash, Head Jailer, Iron County Jail; Don Barzewski, Presiding
Commissioner, Iron County; Bradford Johnson, Iron County Board of
Commissioners; Dustin Walker, Iron County Board of Commissioners, and Virginia
Queen, Clerk of the County Commission.
Plaintiff alleges that he has a history of heart problems and extensive heart
surgery. He has two artificial heart valves, and he has to take Coumadin, a blood
thinner, on a daily basis, to prevent blood clots from forming on the valves. This is
a life-sustaining medication, for the formation of blood clots is potentially lifethreatening.
Plaintiff asserts that he was booked into custody at the Iron County Jail (the
“Jail) on March 4, 2010. Plaintiff claims he told defendant Nash on his arrival of his
medical history and need for daily Coumadin as a life-saving drug. Plaintiff was in
custody at the Jail until March 14, 2010, when he was released to the Madison
County Sheriff’s Department. Plaintiff alleges that during his ten day stay at the Jail,
he was not given any Coumadin.
Plaintiff avers that he was taken back into custody by Iron County on March
18, 2010. Plaintiff says that on March 19, 2010, he again told defendant Nash that
he needed Coumadin or that he could develop a heart attack or stroke. Plaintiff
claims that Nash told him she could not authorize the drug but would ask defendant
Mays to authorize it as soon as she could.
Plaintiff alleges that he never received any Coumadin. Plaintiff maintains that
whenever he tried to talk to Nash about it she would ignore him.
Plaintiff says that the other defendants were negligent in the manner they
supervised Nash or the Iron County Jail.
When plaintiff left the Jail, he immediately sought medical attention. His INR
blood levels were low and required two days of therapy in the hospital before his
blood levels were at a level where he could be released.
The Court finds that the allegations in the amended complaint state a plausible
cause of action against Nash in her individual capacity for deliberate indifference to
plaintiff’s serious medical needs. As a result, the Court will direct the Clerk to issue
process on Nash.
Naming a government official in his or her official capacity is the equivalent
of naming the government entity that employs the official. Will v. Michigan Dep’t
of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). To state a claim against a municipality or a
government official in his or her official capacity, plaintiff must allege that a policy
or custom of the government entity is responsible for the alleged constitutional
violation. Monell v. Dep’t of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978). The
instant complaint does not contain any allegations that a policy or custom of a
government entity was responsible for the alleged violations of plaintiff’s
As a result, plaintiff’s official-capacity claims will be
“Liability under § 1983 requires a causal link to, and direct responsibility for,
the alleged deprivation of rights.” Madewell v. Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th
Cir. 1990); see also Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1338 (8th Cir. 1985) (claim not
cognizable under § 1983 where plaintiff fails to allege that defendant was personally
involved in or directly responsible for the incidents that injured plaintiff); Boyd v.
Knox, 47 F.3d 966, 968 (8th Cir. 1995) (respondeat superior theory inapplicable in
§ 1983 suits). In the instant action, plaintiff has not set forth any facts indicating that
defendants James Mays, Don Barzewski, Bradford Johnson, Dustin Walker, or
Virginia Queen were directly involved in or personally responsible for the alleged
violations of his constitutional rights.
Plaintiff has not alleged any facts
demonstrating that they actually knew of his need for Coumadin. And plaintiff’s
allegations that they were negligent or “turned a blind eye to” the problems at the Jail
do not rise to the level of a constitutional violation. As a result, the Court will
dismiss these defendants from the complaint without prejudice.
Plaintiff did not include defendants Iron County, Missouri, or the Iron County
Sheriff’s Department in the amended complaint. Consequently, the Court will direct
the Clerk to dismiss these parties as well.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk shall issue process or cause
process to issue upon the complaint as to defendant Bessi Lynn Nash.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2),
defendant Nash shall reply to plaintiff’s claims within the time provided by the
applicable provisions of Rule 12(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff’s official-capacity claims are
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or cause
process to issue upon the complaint as to defendants James Mays, Don Barzewski,
Bradford Johnson, Dustin Walker, or Virginia Queen because, as to these defendants,
the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
An Order of Partial Dismissal will be filed with this Memorandum and Order.
Dated this 3rd day of May, 2013.
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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