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Shaw v. City of Hot Springs

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division

November 6, 2019




         This is a civil rights action provisionally filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3)(2011), the Honorable Robert T. Dawson, United States District Judge, referred this case to the undersigned for the purpose of making a Report and Recommendation. Currently before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss on the Pleadings by the City of Hot Springs and Defendant Stachey in his official capacity. (ECF No. 18).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on January 14, 2019. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff alleges his constitutional rights were violated by the delay of medical care on May 9th and 10th of 2016. (Id. at 6). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that at 11:30 pm on May 9, 2016, he was taken into custody by Hot Springs County jail staff with a bleeding bullet wound in is right thigh. (Id.) He alleges an ambulance was not called for him. Instead, he was taken into custody by City of Hot Springs police officers at 12:15 am on May 10, 2016. These officers then drove him past the Malvern hospital to the National Park Medical Center forty-five minutes away. (Id.). Plaintiff was then seen by Dr. Khan Akbar at 1:37 am. (Id.).

         Plaintiff alleges Stachey and Cash, in their official capacities as the City of Hot Springs Police Chief and Hot Springs County Sheriff, were negligent in their training of officers. He states this resulted in officers being “negligent in the case of my medical needs while in their custody.” (Id.). Plaintiff appears to allege that the officers acted in violation of the Arkansas Police Chiefs' Policy and Procedures Manual for Emergencies 2.22. (Id.)

         Plaintiff alleges he received “inadequate medical attention” because an ambulance with EMTs was not called immediately, it took forty-five minutes to get him to the National Park Medical Service, and he was not seen by a doctor at the medical center until 1:37 am. (Id.). Plaintiff states the medical records indicate he was shot by police. (Id.).

         Plaintiff alleges he suffered emotional distress as a result of the delay in medical treatment because he was afraid he would bleed to death. He now has a “lifelong fear and lack of trust in law enforcement.” (Id.).

         Plaintiff proceeds against Defendant Stachey and Cash in their official capacity only. (Id. at 2, 6).

         Plaintiff filed a Supplement to his Complaint on February 13, 2019. (ECF No. 13). Defendants' correctly note that Plaintiff did not request or receive permission from the Court to file this Supplement pursuant to Fed R. Civ. P. 15(d). The Court will, however, consider this information. The Supplement consisted of Plaintiff's medical records from the National Park Service Medical Center and a criminal investigation report by Mark Fallis, dated May 9, 2016. (ECF No. 13). The criminal investigation report states that Plaintiff drove from Malvern, Arkansas to Hot Springs, Arkansas, in the company of an adult female and her child, to purchase the drug “Ice.” Plaintiff was shot in the leg during the attempted drug purchase. He then drove himself and his companions to the Budget Inn in Malvern where he was arrested. At the time of the arrest, bloody clothing was seen in the hotel room. (ECF No. 13 at 7). There is no indication in the report that Plaintiff himself sought medical care for the gunshot wound during his thirty to forty-five-minute drive. In contrast, the medical records indicate that Plaintiff told emergency room staff that police had shot him in order to subdue him. (ECF No. 13 at 8).

         Defendant Stachey and the City of Hot Springs filed their Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings on April 26, 2019. (ECF No. 18). Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition to the Motion on May 23, 2019. (ECF No. 22).


         Rule 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 to 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) (internal quotations omitted)). A Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings is reviewed under the same standard as a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Westcott v. City of Omaha, 901 F.2d 1486, 1488 (8th Cir. 1990). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678. While the Court will liberally construe a pro se plaintiff's complaint, the plaintiff must allege sufficient facts to support his claims. See Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Defendants Stachey and the City of Hot Springs argue Plaintiff's case should be dismissed because: (1.) Plaintiff's official capacity claims fail as a matter of law; and (2.) the City of Hot Springs is ...

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