United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART MOTION TO DISMISS
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
before the Court is Defendant Marion County Sheriff's
Office's (the “Sheriff's
Office”) Motion to Dismiss for Failure to
State a Claim. [Filing No. 16.] The Sheriff's
Office seeks dismissal of the claims brought against it by
Plaintiff Lee Pratt pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the
state law doctrine of respondeat superior.
[Filing No. 1.] For the reasons detailed herein, the
Court is GRANTS IN PART and DENIES
IN PART the Sheriff's Office's Motion to
Dismiss and dismisses Mr. Pratt's § 1983 claim
against the Sheriff's Office.
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) “requires only ‘a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.'” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Fed. R. Civ.
Pro. 8(a)(2)). “Specific facts are not necessary, the
statement need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (quoting
Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
motion to dismiss asks 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 Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must
accept all well-pled facts as true and draw all permissible
inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Active
Disposal, Inc. v. City of Darien, 635 F.3d 883, 886 (7th
Cir. 2011). The Court will not accept legal conclusions or
conclusory allegations as sufficient to state a claim for
relief. See McCauley v. City of Chicago,
671 F.3d 611, 617 (7th Cir. 2011). Factual allegations must
plausibly state an entitlement to relief “to a degree
that rises above the speculative level.” Munson v.
Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 633 (7th Cir. 2012). This
plausibility determination is “a context-specific task
that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Id.
factual allegations in Mr. Pratt's Complaint, which the
Court must accept as true, are as follows:
Pratt initiated this action in July 2017 against various
defendants, including the Sheriff's Office. [Filing
No. 1.] Mr. Pratt's claims arose when he received
injuries to his face, mouth, teeth, and jaw in a physical
altercation with two inmates during his incarceration in
Marion County Jail II (the “Jail”).
[Filing No. 1 at 4.] John and Jane Joe, Marion
County Sheriff Deputies assigned to the Jail, were aware of
the incident. [Filing No. 1 at 4.] Shortly after the
incident, an employee of the jail identified only as Ms. Shaw
met Mr. Pratt. [Filing No. 1 at 5.] Mr. Pratt
notified Ms. Shaw that he required medical attention for his
injuries. [Filing No. 1 at 5.] Mr. Pratt was visibly
bleeding from his mouth, and notified Ms. Shaw that he had
suffered the loss of a tooth, had three loose teeth in his
lower jaw, was experiencing severe pain, and believed that
his jaw was broken. [Filing No. 1 at 5.] However,
Ms. Shaw denied Mr. Pratt's request for medical attention
and denied four subsequent requests for the same. [Filing
No. 1 at 5.] Throughout this time, the condition of Mr.
Pratt's mouth and jaw continued to deteriorate to the
point where Mr. Pratt could not eat. [Filing No. 1 at
6.] Mr. Pratt's complaints and requests were ignored
by Jail Personnel for the next six to seven days. [Filing
No. 1 at 6-7.]
thereafter, Mr. Pratt complained to a Jail employee
identified only as Wilson about his need for immediate
medical care and treatment. [Filing No. 1 at 7.] The
next day, Mr. Pratt was transferred to the Emergency
Department at Eskenazi Health, where he was diagnosed with
three left mandible fractures and a severe infection of his
lower teeth that would require removal. [Filing No. 1 at
7.] Mr. Pratt underwent left mandible surgery at
Eskenazi Health and was proscribed a “regimen of
medication, non-solid food, and periodic follow-up medical
care.” [Filing No. 1 at 7.] Since Mr.
Pratt's surgery, Jail personnel have prevented him from
obtaining his prescribed medications and attending his
follow-up medical appointments, and have prevented him from
eating by replacing Mr. Pratt's liquid diet with solid
food. [Filing No. 1 at 7.]
August 25, 2017, Mr. Pratt filed suit for compensatory and
punitive damages, attorneys' fees, and costs pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983, 42 U.S.C. § 1988, and Ind. Code
§ 34-24-3-1. [Filing No. 1 at 11.] Furthermore,
Mr. Pratt requests a permanent injunction requiring the
Sheriff's Office to adopt appropriate policies for hiring
and supervising its law enforcement officers and agents, and
for the care and treatment of the Jail inmates. [Filing
No 1 at 11-12.] On November 9, 2017, the Sheriff's
Office filed a Motion to Dismiss. [Filing No. 16.]
Mr. Pratt did not respond to the Sheriff's Office's
Motion, and it is now ripe for the Court's review.
Sheriff's Office asserts two arguments in support of its
Motion to Dismiss: (1) that Mr. Pratt failed to plead
sufficient factual content to support a 42 U.S.C. § 1983
claim under the Monell standard; and (2) that Mr.
Pratt's respondeat superior claims against the
Sheriff's Office are invalid since his allegations are
against unnamed employees. [Filing No. 17.] The
Court will address each argument in turn.
Mr. Pratt's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Claim
Against the Sheriff's Office
support of its argument that Mr. Pratt failed to plead
sufficient factual content to support a 42 U.S.C. § 1983
claim under the Monell standard, the Sheriff's
Office argues that the language used in the Complaint is
boilerplate Monell language that is nonactionable.
[Filing No. 26 at 3-4.] Mr. Pratt's Complaint
alleges that the Sheriff's Office violated 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 when “the Sheriff implemented and executed
official government policy” that caused injury to Mr.
Pratt, and that the Sheriff's “acts and/or edicts
may fairly be said to represent the official policies of the
Marion County Sheriff's Office.” [Filing No. 1
at 3.] Mr. Pratt's Complaint further states that the
Sheriff “developed and maintained policies and customs
exhibiting deliberate indifference to the ...