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Gudino v. Hamilton County Sheriff Department

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

February 11, 2019

RAYMOND GUDINO, THE ESTATE OF RAYMOND GUDINO, by Lesha Creek as Personal Representative, and LESHA CREEK individually, Plaintiffs,
v.
HAMILTON COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT, JARROD HILL, OFFICER, KEVIN HALE, OFFICER, and TIM REED, NURSE, Defendants.

          ENTRY GRANTING DEFENDANT TIM REED'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS ON PLAINTIFFS' FEDERAL CLAIMS

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Tim Reed's (“Nurse Reed”) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings on Plaintiffs' Federal Claims filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) (Filing No. 15). On March 5, 2018, Plaintiffs, the Estate of Raymond Gudino, by Personal Representative Lesha Creek and Lesha Creek individually (“Plaintiffs”), filed a Complaint for Wrongful Death and Request for Jury Trial, asserting various constitutional and statutory claims against Nurse Reed, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department, Officer Jarrod Hill, and Officer Kevin Hale (Filing No. 1). For the reasons stated below, Nurse Reed's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Filing No. 15) is granted

         I. BACKGROUND

         The following facts are not necessarily objectively true, but as required when reviewing a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the Court accepts as true all factual allegations in the Complaint and draws all inferences in favor of Plaintiffs as the non-moving party. See Emergency Servs. Billing Corp. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 668 F.3d 459, 464 (7th Cir. 2012).

         In June 2017, Raymond Gudino (“Gudino”) was a juvenile inmate housed at the Hamilton County Juvenile Detention Center. At 17 years old, Gudino had a history of suicide and diagnosed mental health issues. (Filing No. 1 at 2.) On June 6, 2017, Gudino was placed in medical lockdown after eating a bar of soap. Id. On June 14, 2017, Gudino died, but the Complaint does not reveal the cause of death other than to say that he died “as a direct and proximate result of the failure of the Defendants to follow their own policies regulations and procedures.” Id. at 2-3. The Complaint stresses that Gudino had a history of suicide attempts, and that the Defendants did not “receive sufficient training with respect to suicide precautions, suicide risk, first aid and CPR.” Id. The Complaint hints, but does not expressly say, that Gudino committed suicide in his cell on June 8, 2017.

         On May 15, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint alleging five counts against all Defendants: (1) deprivation of rights, privileges, and immunities secured by the Constitution and law of the United States under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (2) denial of privileges and immunities under Article IV, Section II of the United States Constitution; (3) due process and equal protection violations under Amendment XIV, Section I of the United States Constitution; (4) violation of the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment in Amendment VIII of the United States Constitution; and (5) wrongful death under Indiana's Child Wrongful Death Act.

         Nurse Reed was an employee of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department, which is legally responsible for management of the Juvenile Detention Center. Id. at 4. Other than identifying him as such, the Complaint does not mention Nurse Reed except in its references to the Defendants collectively. It asserts “[t]he Defendants were on notice of [Gudino's] past attempts to commit suicide.” Id. at 2. According to the Complaint, “[t]he Defendants were to be in contact with Raymond Gudino at least every fifteen (15) minutes and further by the Defendants' own admission they were to conduct block checks every fifteen (15) minutes. The Defendants failed to provide proper observation for Raymond….” Id. at 3. The Complaint also alleges Defendants “failed to provide proper medical treatment constituting a deliberate indifference to the serious medical needs of Raymond Gudino” and that failure resulted in his death. Id. at 3.

         In its “Factual Basis for Claims for Relief” section, the Complaint states:

The Defendants took no steps, or grossly inadequate steps to implement procedures and protocol complying with the United States Constitution and the Indiana State Constitution, and their own rules and procedures and the common law of the State of Indiana with respect to the incarceration and treatment of Raymond Gudino, and also failed to take steps to ensure on the date of his death that the procedures that were in place for his proper care and treatment while in detention were followed.

Id. at 5. Nurse Reed filed an Answer to the Complaint on March 30, 2018 (Filing No. 9). The other Defendants filed their Answer on April 4, 2018 (Filing No. 11). Nurse Reed moved for judgment on the pleadings on April 30, 2018.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) permits a party to move for judgment after the parties have filed a complaint and an answer. Rule 12(c) motions are analyzed under the same standard as a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Pisciotta v. Old Nat'l Bancorp., 499 F.3d 629, 633 (7th Cir. 2007); Frey v. Bank One, 91 F.3d 45, 46 (7th Cir. 1996). The complaint must allege facts that are “enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Although “detailed factual allegations” are not required, mere “labels, ” “conclusions, ” or “formulaic recitation[s] of the elements of a cause of action” are insufficient. Id. Stated differently, the complaint must include “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Hecker v. Deere & Co., 556 F.3d 575, 580 (7th Cir. 2009) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted). To be facially plausible, the complaint must allow “the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         Like a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court will grant a Rule 12(c) motion only if “it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff cannot prove any facts that would support his claim for relief.” N. Ind. Gun & Outdoor Shows, Inc. v. City of S. Bend, 163 F.3d 449, 452 (7th Cir. 1998) (quoting Craigs, Inc. v. Gen. Elec. Capital Corp., 12 F.3d 686, 688 (7th Cir. 1993)). The factual allegations in the complaint are viewed in a light most favorable to the non-moving party; however, the court is “not obliged to ignore any facts set forth in the complaint that undermine the plaintiff's claim or to assign any weight to unsupported conclusions of law.” Id. (quoting R.J.R. Serv., Inc. v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 895 F.2d 279, 281 (7th Cir. 1989)). “As the title of the rule implies, Rule 12(c) permits a judgment based on the pleadings alone…. The pleadings include the complaint, the answer, and any written instruments attached as exhibits.” Id. (internal citations omitted).

         III. ...


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