ANDERSON v. ANTHONEY et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE JOI ELIZABETH PEAKE signed on 4/27/2021. RECOMMENDED that Defendant Hiatt's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Doc. # 18 ) be granted and that any claims against Defendant Hiatt be dismissed. (Daniel, J)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
JIMMIE CALVIN ANDERSON,
STEVE HIATT, et al.,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
This is a pro se civil rights action filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by Plaintiff Jimmie Calvin
Anderson, a pretrial detainee formerly held in the Surry County Jail, but now housed at Central
Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina. Plaintiff originally raised claims against Surry County
Sheriff “Jimmy Anthoney” and Head Nurse Cynthia based on allegedly inadequate medical
treatment while at the Jail. Plaintiff filed a Letter Motion [Doc. #7] noting that the actual
name of the Surry County Sheriff at the time he filed the case was Jimmy Combes and that
the current Sheriff is Steve Hiatt. The Court treated this filing as a Motion to Amend and
allowed the amendment so that Steve Hiatt was substituted as a Defendant. (Order [Doc.
#9].) Defendant Hiatt thereafter filed a Motion to Dismiss [Doc. #18] under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted. Despite having been advised of his right to file a response, having been sent a
copy of the Motion to Dismiss by the Court, and receiving an extension of time to respond,
Plaintiff filed no response. Defendant Hiatt’s unopposed Motion to Dismiss is now before
I. Motion to Dismiss Standard
In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court must consider whether the
complaint “contain[s] 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 Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is “facially plausible” when the facts
pled allow “the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. This standard “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendantunlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. In other words, “the tenet that a court must accept
as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.
Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Id.
Defendant Hiatt argues that Plaintiff’s claims against him should be dismissed because
they are too conclusory and general to state any clam for relief. He is correct. The Complaint
contains detailed accusations concerning Defendant Head Nurse Cynthia. However, as to the
Sheriff, it alleges only that “[h]e is legally responsible for the Surry County Jail and for the
welfare of all the detainees in that jail” (Complaint [Doc. #2] at 2) and that he “was responsible
for each employee at the Surry County Jail as the Sheriff” (id. at 6). It alleges no personal
involvement by the Sheriff in any of the events set out or even any contemporaneous
knowledge by the Sheriff of the events. This is exactly the sort of “unadorned, the-defendantunlawfully-harmed-me accusation” that fails to state a claim under Iqbal. In fact, the entire
basis for liability in the Complaint is based on the Sheriff’s position as a supervisor. However,
theories of respondeat superior or vicarious liability predicated solely on a defendant’s identity as
a supervisor do not state a claim under § 1983, and each official “is only liable for his or her
own misconduct.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677. Given this, the Complaint fails to state any claim
for relief against Defendant Hiatt and his Motion to Dismiss should be granted.
IT IS THEREFORE RECOMMENDED that Defendant Hiatt’s Motion to Dismiss
for Failure to State a Claim [Doc. #18] be granted and that any claims against Defendant Hiatt
This, the 27th day of April, 2021.
/s/ Joi Elizabeth Peake
United States Magistrate Judge
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?