Eagle Boy v. Britten
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - Eagle Boy's Complaint is dismissed without prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). A separate judgment will be entered in accordance with this Memorandum and Order. Ordered by Judge Joseph F. Bataillon. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(GJG)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
CHARLES R. EAGLE BOY,
This matter is before the court on Defendant Fred Britten’s (“Britten”)
unopposed Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Charles Eagle Boy’s (“Eagle Boy”) Complaint
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Filing No. 16.) The court will
grant Britten’s Motion to Dismiss.
Eagle Boy filed a Complaint in this matter on January 11, 2013. Liberally
construed, Eagle Boy alleged that Britten, warden of the Tecumseh State Correctional
Institution (“TSCI”), failed to protect him from an assault by another inmate. (Filing
No. 1.) The court conducted an initial review of Eagle Boy’s Complaint and allowed
his claims against Britten to proceed to service of process. (Filing No. 13.) On
October 11, 2013, Britten filed a Motion to Dismiss Eagle Boy’s Complaint pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Filing No. 16.) Upon further review
of Eagle Boy’s Complaint, the court finds that the Complaint should be dismissed for
the reasons set forth by Britten in his Motion to Dismiss. Eagle Boy did not oppose
Britten’s Motion to Dismiss or move to amend his Complaint. The court deems this
matter fully submitted.
When ruling on a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), the court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and
view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “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. Although the court must
“accept as true all facts pleaded by the non-moving party and grant all reasonable
inferences from pleadings in favor of the non-moving party,” United States v. Any &
All Radio Station Transmission Equip., 207 F.3d 458, 462 (8th Cir. 2000), “[a]
pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do.’” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Eagle Boy alleges that on January 30, 2011, Britten and “Chair Members”
recommended that Eagle Boy be removed from administrative confinement and
placed in general population. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 5.) At this time, Eagle Boy
and his case manager discussed a possible risk of harm to Eagle Boy if he were
released to general population because of a personal conflict between Eagle Boy’s
brother (Ronald Grant) and another inmate (Austin Ice). (Id. at CM/ECF p. 5.) Eagle
Boy alleges that his case manager stated that he would recommend “to the
Administration Review Board” that Eagle Boy be transferred to another facility. (Id.
at CM/ECF p. 7.) It is unclear whether Eagle Boy was transferred to general
population at this time. However, Eagle Boy’s “Exhibit D” reflects that he was
housed in segregation from May 25, 2011, until some time after October 25, 2011.
(Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 42.)
More than one year after the aforementioned discussion between Eagle Boy
and his case manager, Eagle Boy was assaulted by an inmate on the yard at TSCI.
(Id. at CM/ECF p. 7.) Eagle Boy’s “Exhibit C” reflects that this assault occurred on
May 10, 2012, and was perpetrated by inmate Jesse Berg. (Id. at CM/ECF p. 35.)
Britten argues, and the court agrees, that Eagle Boy’s facts show no nexus
between Eagle Boy’s comments to his case manager in January 2011 and the attack
that he suffered in May 2012. Eagle Boy does not allege that he warned anyone about
a possible attack by Jesse Berg. Rather, he sets forth only a blanket assertion that he
was assaulted “[d]ue to the fact [Britten] ignored and or neglected the [case
manager’s] recommendations.” (See Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 7.)
To state a failure-to-protect claim, Eagle Boy was required to allege that (1)
Britten was aware of facts from which he could infer the existence of a substantial
risk of serious harm to him, (2) he actually drew the inference, and (3) he failed to
take reasonable steps to protect him. Schofield v. Hopkins, 491 Fed.Appx. 772, 774
(8th Cir. 2012). Here, Eagle Boy did not allege that Britten had actual knowledge of
a threat to Eagle Boy, and the complaint does not permit an inference of any such
knowledge. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (stating well-pleaded facts must permit court
to infer more than mere possibility of misconduct). Without more, the causal
connection between Eagle Boy’s conversation with his case manager in 2011 and the
2012 assault is too attenuated and cannot support the requisite finding of knowledge
on Britten’s part. Moreover, the prospective injunctive relief Eagle Boy sought in his
Complaint was to be transferred to a different facility. Since filing this Complaint,
Eagle Boy was transferred from TSCI to the Lincoln Correctional Center.
(See Docket Sheet.) That is, Eagle Boy’s claim for prospective injunctive relief is
Eagle Boy also alleges in his Complaint that there was a “[f]ailure to provide
medical, dental, or psychiatric care that is necessary to prevent or to treat serious or
emotional injury or illness.” (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 8.) Eagle Boy has named
only Britten as a defendant, and he has not set forth any facts suggesting that Britten
denied him medical, dental, or psychiatric care.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
Eagle Boy’s Complaint is dismissed without prejudice pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
A separate judgment will be entered in accordance with this
Memorandum and Order.
DATED this 29th day of May, 2014.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Joseph F. Bataillon
United States District Judge
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