Sellassie v. Griffith et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER (See Full Order) IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED without prejudice. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all pending motions are DENIED as moot. An Order of Dismissal will be filed separately. Signed by District Judge Catherine D. Perry on 10/6/16. (EAB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
No. 4:16-CV-764 CDP
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the review of plaintiff’s second amended complaint. After review,
the Court finds that the complaint must be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted.
Standard of Review
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court is required to dismiss a complaint filed in forma
pauperis if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
To state a claim for relief, a complaint must plead more than “legal conclusions” and
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere
conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
A plaintiff must
demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of misconduct.”
Id. at 679. “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.” Id. at 678. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense. Id. at 679.
When reviewing a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court accepts the well-pled
facts as true. Furthermore, the Court liberally construes the allegations.
Plaintiff brings this action against Cindy Griffith, Chief Administrative Officer of the
Potosi Correctional Center, in her individual capacity. On December 22, 2014, Plaintiff injured
his left foot. “Since that time, Plaintiff has personally written communications ‘begging’ for a
cane regarding the circumstances for his foot injury.” Compl. at 6. He has filed several
grievances as well. On February 5, 2015, he was given a cane. On March 25, 2015, “two
employees” took the cane away. Plaintiff alleges that Griffith “personally refused” his request
for a cane.
To state a claim for medical mistreatment, plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to indicate
a deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976);
Camberos v. Branstad, 73 F.3d 174, 175 (8th Cir. 1995). Allegations of mere negligence in
giving or failing to supply medical treatment will not suffice. Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. In order
to show deliberate indifference, plaintiff must allege that he suffered objectively serious medical
needs and that defendants actually knew of but deliberately disregarded those needs. Dulany v.
Carnahan, 132 F.3d 1234, 1239 (8th Cir. 1997). There are no non-conclusory allegations
showing that plaintiff suffered an objectively serious need or that defendant deliberately
disregarded that need. He does not elaborate on his injury or his need for a cane. His allegations
regarding both are devoid of facts, which if proved, would entitle him to relief. Therefore, the
complaint does not state a plausible claim for relief.
Moreover, “[l]iability 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 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676 (2009) (“Because vicarious liability is inapplicable to
Bivens and § 1983 suits, a plaintiff must plead that each Government-official defendant, through
the official’s own individual actions, has violated the Constitution.”); Camberos v. Branstad, 73
F.3d 174, 176 (8th Cir. 1995) (“a general responsibility for supervising the operations of a prison
is insufficient to establish the personal involvement required to support liability.”). Plaintiff’s
allegation that Griffith was personally responsible for denying his request for a cane is entirely
conclusory. He only alleges that he filed grievances or sent letters, to which she may have
responded. However, ruling on grievances does not indicate personal involvement. See George
v. Smith, 507 F. 3d 605, 609 (7th Cir. 2007) (“Only persons who cause or participate in the
[constitutional] violations are responsible.
Ruling against a prisoner on an administrative
complaint does not cause or contribute to the violation.”). As a result, the complaint must be
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED without prejudice.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all pending motions are DENIED as moot.
An Order of Dismissal will be filed separately.
Dated this 6th day of October, 2016.
CATHERINE D. PERRY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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