United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division
ROBERT E. ALLEN PLAINTIFF
SOUTHERN HEALTH PARTNERS, INC. and JODI WOODS DEFENDANTS
OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROOKS JUDGE
a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff Robert E. Allen,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Allen proceeds pro
se and in forma pauperis. He is currently
incarcerated in the Federal Correctional Institution in
Greenville, Illinois. Currently pending before the Court is a
Partial Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 13) filed by Defendants
Southern Health Partners, Inc. and Nurse Jodi Woods
(originally incorrectly identified as "Jody
Woods"). Specifically, both Defendants seek dismissal of
the official capacity claims against them. Allen has filed a
Response in Opposition to the Motion. (Docs. 16-17).
to the allegations of the Complaint (Doc. 1), when Allen was
incarcerated in the Boone County Detention Center in
Harrison, Arkansas, Nurse Woods and Boone County Detention
Center staff refused to treat Allen for prostate and
testicular cancer. Allen further alleges that Nurse Woods
verbally abused him in the presence of other inmates.
relief, Allen seeks compensatory and punitive damages. He
also asks that Nurse Woods be terminated from the Boone
County Detention Center and that her license be revoked.
8(a) contains the general pleading rules and requires a
complaint to present "a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). "In order to meet this standard,
and survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), 'a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.'" Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,
588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009)(quoting Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).
plausibility standard requires a plaintiff to show at the
pleading stage that success on the merits is more than a
'sheer possibility.'" Id., at 594. The
standard does "not impose a probability requirement at
the pleading stage; it simply calls for enough fact to raise
a reasonable expectation, " BellAtl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007), or a reasonable
inference, that the "defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678;
see also Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir.
2004)(while pro se complaints are liberally
construed, they must allege sufficient facts to support the
maintain they are entitled to the dismissal of all official
capacity claims against them because Allen has not alleged
facts sufficient to assert a plausible claim that an official
institutional policy or custom reflected deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs.
capacity claims are "functionally equivalent to a suit
against the employing governmental [or institutional]
entity." Veatch v. Bartels Lutheran Home, 627
F.3d 1254, 1257 (8th Cir. 2010). A plaintiff "seeking to
impose liability on a municipality [or institution] under
§ 1983 [must] identify [an unconstitutional] policy or
custom that caused the plaintiffs injury." Board of
Cnty. Comm'rs of Bryan Cnty., Okla. v. Brown, 520
U.S. 397, 403(1997). "There are two basic circumstances
under which municipal [or institutional] liability will
attach: (1) where a particular [institutional] policy or
custom itself violates federal law, or directs an employee to
do so; and (2) where a facially lawful [institutional] policy
or custom was adopted with 'deliberate indifference'
to its known or obvious consequences." Moyle v.
Anderson, 571 F.3d 814, 817-18 (8th Cir. 2009) (citation
has not alleged a plausible "policy" claim in this
case. He has not pointed to "any officially accepted
guiding principle or procedure that was constitutionally
inadequate" and has not pointed to a
"'deliberate choice of a guiding principle or
procedure made by the [institutional] official who has final
authority regarding such matters.'" Jenkins v.
Cnty. of Hennepin, 557 F.3d 628, 633 (8th Cir. 2009)
(quoting Mettler v. Whitledge, 165 F.3d 1197, 1204
(8th Cir. 1999)).
"a custom can be shown only by adducing evidence of a
continuing, widespread, persistent pattern of
unconstitutional misconduct." Id. at 634
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Allen has
simply not asserted facts sufficient to state a plausible
claim that there was any widespread, persistent pattern of
unconstitutional conduct with respect to the provision of
medical care at Boone County Detention Center.