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Stambaugh v. St. Joseph County Sheriff Mike Grzegorek

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

April 28, 2015

JOSEPH STAMBAUGH, Plaintiff,
v.
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY SHERIFF MIKE GRZEGOREK, et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

RUDY LOZANO, Judge

This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint, filed by Defendant, St. Joseph County Sheriff Mike Grzegorek, on December 4, 2014 (DE #34). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion (DE #34) is GRANTED and the claims against the John/Jane Doe Defendants and St. Joseph County Sheriff Mike Grzegorek are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. The case remains pending against Defendant, Beacon Health Ventures, Inc.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are based on the allegations of the first amended complaint, which this Court accepts as true at this stage of the litigation. This lawsuit stems from the policies and practices engaged in by Defendants at the St. Joseph County Jail in South Bend from approximately May 25, 2013 to approximately November 28, 2014. Plaintiff, Joseph Stambaugh, claims he was denied adequate medical care for a serious medical condition while in St. Joseph County Jail.

Beacon Health Ventures, Inc., d/b/a Memorial Home Care, Inc., a/k/a Memorial Home Care (hereinafter “Beacon”), is a company doing business at 3355 Douglas Road, in South Bend, Indiana. (First Am. Compl., DE #21 at ¶4.) Beacon employed the John Does/Jane Does as medical personnel at the St. Joseph County Jail that were responsible for the medical care of Stambaugh during his incarceration. (Id.) Stambaugh was arrested on or about May 12, 2012. (Id. at ¶5.) During his arrest, Stambaugh was shot approximately fourteen times prior to being apprehended, with at least three of the shots hitting him in his hands causing damage to his fingers and hands. (Id.) Stambaugh’s physician ordered that he receive bone grafts and repair of severed nerves, which needed to be reconnected in his upper right arm. (Id.) After his arrest, the Plaintiff was booked into the St. Joseph County Jail, on or about May 25, 2012, where he continued to require significant medical care and treatment of his injuries. (Id.)

During the six months Stambaugh remained incarcerated at the jail, he never actually received nerve surgery for his right arm, contrary to his physician’s advice. (Id. at ¶6.) Plaintiff alleges the surgery was necessary for him to have the potential to regain movement and functioning in his right hand. (Id.) After asking the St. Joseph County Jail Warden and the Jail Medical Director about the nerve surgery, Stambaugh was told that the nearest specialist who could do the surgery was in Indianapolis, Indiana, and required payment of the surgery up front, or they could not do the surgery. (Id.) Stambaugh was indigent and could not pay up front for the surgery, so the nerve surgery was never scheduled. (Id.) However, the bone graft surgery did occur. (Id.) Stambaugh alleges because the John Doe/Jane Doe jail and medical personnel never arranged for or scheduled the nerve surgery for Plaintiff, his right arm is paralyzed and has atrophied. (Id. at ¶7.)

Stambaugh has sued St. Joseph County Sheriff, Mike Grzegorek, and Beacon Health Ventures, Inc., d/b/a Memorial Home Care, Inc., a/k/a Memorial Home Care. Stambaugh’s first amended complaint, pursuant to section 1983, alleges that the individually named Defendants, John Does/Jane Does were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical need for nerve surgery in his right arm and by failing to arrange for and schedule his surgery, they subjected him to a denial of adequate medical care in violation of Plaintiff’s federally protected right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eight Amendment of the United States. (Id. at ¶8.)

Stambaugh further contends that the individually named Defendants John Does/Jane Does were acting pursuant to the “unconstitutional/constitutionally deficient policies, practices, procedures, and/or customs of the St. Joseph County Sheriff pertaining to the provision of the medical care to prisoners, including indigent prisoners such as the Plaintiff when they denied him adequate medical care.” (Id. at ¶9.) Stambaugh alleges that the Sheriff, “in his official capacity, ” is therefore liable for the denial of adequate medical care as well. (Id.) Further, Stambaugh claims that John Doe/Jane Doe jail medical personnel who were the direct employees of Memorial Home Care, Inc., acted carelessly, recklessly and with negligence as to the provision of medical care to the Plaintiff, making Memorial Home Care Inc. liable to him under respondent superior. (Id. at ¶10.)

Defendant, St. Joseph County Sheriff, Mike Grzegorek, filed the instant Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim on December 4, 2014 (DE #34.) Stambaugh filed a response in opposition to the Motion to Dismiss on December 30, 2014 (DE #38.) Defendant then filed a reply on January 5, 2015 (DE #40.) This motion is fully briefed and ripe for adjudication.

DISCUSSION

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a complaint to be dismissed if it fails to “state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Allegations other than fraud and mistake are governed by the pleading standard outlined in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), which requires a “short and plain statement” that the pleader is entitled to relief.

In order to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face’.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)(quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). All well-pleaded facts must be accepted as true, and all reasonable inferences from those facts must be resolved in the plaintiff’s favor. Pugh v. Tribune Co., 521 F.3d 686, 692 (7th Cir. 2008). However, plaintiffs may plead themselves out of court if the complaint includes allegations that show they cannot possibly be entitled to the relief sought. McCready v. eBay, Inc., 453 F.3d 882, 888 (7th Cir. 2006).

Motion to Dismiss John/Jane Does Individually

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 10(a) states that every pleading must have a caption with the court’s name, a title, a file number and a Rule 7(a) designation. The title of the complaint must name all the parties; the title of other pleadings, after naming the first party on each side, may refer generally to other parties. Also, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 4m states: If a defendant is not served within 120 days after the complaint is filed, the court . ...


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