Chappel v. Adams County Children's Services et al
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS. The R&R (Doc. 7) is ADOPTED and Plaintiffs Objections (Doc. 9) are OVERRULED. The Supplemental R&R (Doc. 11) is ADOPTED WITH MODIFICATION and Plaintiffs Objections (Doc. 12) are OVERRULED. Chappels Compla int is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The Court certifies pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that an appeal of this Order would not be taken in good faith. Plaintiff remains free to apply to proceed in forma pauperis in the Court of Appeals. Signed by Judge Susan J. Dlott on 5/18/2023. (wam)(This document has been sent by regular mail to the party(ies) listed in the NEF that did not receive electronic notification.)
Case: 1:22-cv-00747-SJD-KLL Doc #: 16 Filed: 05/18/23 Page: 1 of 6 PAGEID #: 502
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
Mary E. Francis,
Captain Damon Roberts, et al.,
Case No. 1:22-cv-743
Judge Susan J. Dlott
Order Adopting the Order and Report and
Plaintiff Mary E. Francis filed this pro se action against Defendants Captain Damon
Roberts, the Scioto County Jail, and the State of Ohio purporting to assert claims for violations
of her civil rights when she was being detained at the Scioto County Jail. (Doc. 11.) Pending
before the Court is the Order and Report and Recommendation (“Order and R&R”) issued by
Magistrate Judge Chelsey M. Vascura on February 21, 2013. (Doc. 12.) The Magistrate Judge
recommended that the initial Complaint be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, but she also recommended that Plaintiff Francis be granted fourteen days to
amend her Complaint to identify the Scioto County Jail employees who allegedly denied her
medical care with respect to her gunshot wound. (Id. at PageID 87.) In response, Plaintiff
Francis mailed a letter to the Court that Court will treat as Objections to the Order and R&R.
(Doc. 16.) For the reasons that follow, the Court will OVERRULE the Objections and ADOPT
the Order and R&R.
Factual Allegations in the Complaint
On July 30, 2022, Plaintiff Francis was arrested and incarcerated at the Scioto County
Jail. (Doc. 11 at PageID 70.) At the time of her arrest, Plaintiff Francis was suffering from a
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gunshot wound and related burns on her abdomen. (Id.) Although the Complaint allegations are
not detailed, it appears that Plaintiff requested medical care for the gunshot wound, but her
requests were denied. (Id.) As result, the gunshot wound became “severely infected.” (Id.)
Plaintiff Francis indicates that she did not receive treatment for this severe infection until August
29, 2022 when she was released and sought treatment at the Southern Ohio Medical Center
In September 2022, after obtaining treatment at SOMC for the gunshot wound infection,
Plaintiff Francis contracted COVID-19. (Id.) She was re-arrested while still under quarantine.
(Id. at PageID 72.) She developed pneumonia as a complication of the COVID-19 infection.
(Id. at PageID 71.) Plaintiff Francis alleges that she was denied access to a physician to treat her
COVID-19 infection and pneumonia, which she maintains was in violation of her “right to have
a medical doctor evaluate [her] health.” (Id. at PageID 71–72.) Plaintiff Francis acknowledges,
however, that she was given aspirin, underwent a chest x-ray, and was prescribed an inhaler,
steroids, and antibiotics. (Id. at PageID 71.)
Plaintiff Francis filed her pro se Complaint on December 12, 2022. (Id. at PageID 66,
69.) She alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to her serious medical needs in
violation of the Constitution when they failed to treat her gunshot wound and failed to provide
her with a doctor’s examination for her complications from COVID-19. (Id. at PageID 70–72.)
The Magistrate Judge issued an Order and R&R on February 21, 2023 after completing a
sua sponte review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b) to
determine if the suit was frivolous, failed to state a claim for relief, or was filed against a
defendant who is immune from suit. (Doc. 12.) She concluded that Plaintiff Francis’s official
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capacity claims against Captain Roberts and the Scioto County Jail failed because she did not
plead facts suggesting an official policy or custom of Scioto County caused the alleged violation
of her constitutional rights. (Id. at 82–83.) She also concluded that Plaintiff Francis’s individual
capacity claims against Captain Roberts failed because she did not plead facts from which the
Court could infer that he was personally involved in the alleged violation of her rights. (Id. at
PageID 84.) Finally, she concluded that Plaintiff Francis’s claims against the State of Ohio was
barred by the Eleventh Amendment. (Id. at PageID 84–85.) For these reasons, she
recommended that the Complaint as written be dismissed. (Id. at PageID 86.)
Additionally, however, the Magistrate Judge recognized that Plaintiff Francis had alleged
sufficient facts that unnamed Scioto County Jail employees had denied her medical care for
“such a serious and obvious condition as a gunshot wound” to “sufficiently state an individualcapacity medical indifference claim.” (Id.) She recommended that the Court allow Plaintiff
Francis the opportunity to amend her Complaint to identify which specific Scioto County Jail
employees denied her requests for medical care for her gunshot wound, what specific actions
those individuals took or failed to take, and how those actions caused her further injury. (Id. at
PageID 86–87.) Conversely, the Magistrate Judge concluded that Plaintiff Francis did not
plausibly state claims for relief against Scioto County Jail employees arising from their treatment
of her COVID-19 infection. (Id. at PageID 87.)
Plaintiff Francis responded to the Order and R&R by filing Objections in which she
expanded upon her Complaint allegations. (Doc. 16.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Title 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(1) authorize
magistrate judges to make recommendations concerning dispositive motions that have been
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referred to them. Parties then have fourteen days to make, file, and serve specific written
objections to the report and recommendations. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2).
If a party files objections to a report and recommendation on a dispositive matter, a district judge
must review it under the de novo standard. Baker v. Peterson, 67 F. App’x 308, 310 (6th Cir.
2003).1 “The district judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition; receive
further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
72(b)(3); see also 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (substantially similar).
Applying a de novo review, the Court will adopt the Order and R&R. A pretrial
detainee’s “constitutional right to be free from deliberate indifference to their serious medical
needs” arises under the Fourteenth Amendment. Howell v. NaphCare, Inc., — F.4th —, Nos.
21-4132/22-3306, 2023 WL 3163323, at *3 (6th Cir. May 1, 2023).2 To establish a claim for
deliberate indifference to medical needs, a pretrial detainee must prove “(1) that she had an
objectively serious medical need and (2) that each defendant acted deliberately and also
recklessly in the face of an unjustifiably high risk of harm that is either known or so obvious that
it should be known.” Id. at *4 (cleaned up).
In her Objections to the Order and R&R, Plaintiff Francis added new factual details to the
allegations in her Complaint. A district court, however, only can consider the allegations in a
“[T]he district court need not provide de novo review where the objections are frivolous, conclusive or general.”
Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th Cir. 1986) (per curiam) (cleaned up). Additionally, de novo review
applies only to matters involving disputed facts. Id.
Plaintiff Francis alleges that she was arrested on July 30, 2022 and that she had suffered the gunshot wound at that
time. (Doc. 11 at PageID 70.) The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (“ODRC”) lists her “effective
sentencing date” as February 16, 2023. ODRC, Offender Details,
https://appgateway.drc.ohio.gov/OffenderSearch/Search/Details/W110703, (last visited 5/3/2023). Accordingly,
Plaintiff Francis appears to have been a pretrial detainee at the Scioto County Jail in July and August 2022 when the
events underlying her claim occurred.
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complaint when determining if a plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief can be granted.
The Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that dismissal of the COVID-19 treatment claim is
appropriate under the Howell deliberate indifference standard. Plaintiff Francis admits she
received medical care for her infection, including a chest x-ray, an inhaler, steroids, and an
antibiotic. (Doc. 11 at PageID 71.) The care she received was not “so woefully inadequate so as
to amount to no treatment at all.” Alspaugh v. McConnell, 643 F.3d 162, 169 (6th Cir. 2011)
(citation omitted). Mere negligence is not enough to support a deliberate indifference claim.
Brawner v. Scott Cnty., Tenn., 14 F.4th 585, 596 (6th Cir. 2021), rehearing en banc denied, 18 F.
4th 551 (6th Cir. 2021).
On the other hand, Plaintiff Francis alleges that she received no treatment at all for the
gunshot wound she suffered at or just before the time of her arrest. (Doc. 11 at PageID 70.)
These allegations likely would be sufficient to state a claim against the officers and prison
officials who failed to secure treatment for her serious medical need under the Howell standard.
However, Plaintiff Francis has not stated a claim for relief against Captain Roberts, the Scioto
County Jail, or the State of Ohio for the reasons stated by the Magistrate Judge and summarized
above in the Procedural History. Accordingly, the Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that
Plaintiff Francis should be granted leave to file an amended complaint substituting as defendants
the officers and/or prison officials who failed to secure her medical care for her gunshot wound.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court ADOPTS the Order and Report and
Recommendation (Doc. 12) and OVERRULES the Objections (Doc. 16). The Court
DISMISSES the Complaint to the extent that Plaintiff Francis alleges that Defendants were
deliberately indifferent to her serious medical needs as to COVID-19 and related complications.
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Additionally, the Court finds that Plaintiff Francis has failed to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted against Captain Roberts, the Scioto County Jail, and the State of Ohio on
her deliberate indifference claim regarding her gunshot wound. However, the Court grants
Plaintiff Francis twenty-eight days from the date of this Order to file an amended complaint
substituting as defendants the officers and/or prison officials who failed to secure her medical
care for her gunshot wound. The amended complaint must include specific allegations
identifying what action the newly-named defendants took or failed to take that caused her
injuries. Plaintiff Francis is instructed that the new pleading must be in the form of an amended
complaint and not be a motion or letter to the Court. If Plaintiff Francis fails to timely file an
amended complaint as set forth herein, the Court will dismiss with prejudice this action in its
IT IS SO ORDERED.
BY THE COURT:
S/Susan J. Dlott
Susan J. Dlott
United States District Judge
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