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Creager v. Duchak

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

May 8, 2018

ROBERT CREAGER, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID DUCHAK, et al., Defendants.

          DLOTT, JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          STEPHANIE K. BOWMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, an individual who is currently incarcerated at the London Correctional Institution (“LCI”) and who proceeds pro se, tendered a complaint against thirteen individuals on May 22, 2017. On June 30, 2017, the undersigned granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. On the same date, the undersigned filed a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”), subsequently adopted as the opinion of the Court, recommending that multiple claims be dismissed for failure to state a claim, but that two claims against a total of seven individual Defendants be permitted to proceed. (Docs. 5, 22).

         Currently pending before the undersigned are more than a dozen motions, including two motions to dismiss this lawsuit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. For the reasons discussed below, the motions to dismiss should be GRANTED and all other motions should be denied as moot.

         I. Background

         Although Plaintiff's 15-page complaint contains additional allegations, this R&R discusses only those allegations that pertain to the two claims permitted to proceed beyond the screening stage.

         According to a medical record attached to his complaint, Plaintiff is 74 years of age. (See Doc. 4 at 13). Plaintiff alleges that on January 20, 2017, when he first arrived at the Butler County Jail, Defendant Officer Hartman “physically assaulted me by taking hold of me and throwing me up against the stone wall and pushing me as hard as he could, breaking my arm-elbow and fracturing my right shoulder.” (Id. at 5). On February 10, 2017, Plaintiff was transferred from the Butler County Jail first to the Upper Valley Medical Center for treatment, and then to the Miami County Jail, where he was incarcerated at the time he filed his complaint. (Doc. 4). Plaintiff alleges that officials at both jail facilities failed to provide him with adequate medical treatment. Thus, in addition to his excessive force claim against Defendant Hartman, Plaintiff alleges that seven individual Defendants (including Hartman) exhibited deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs, both with respect to Plaintiff's acute injury to his arm/elbow and/or shoulder, and with respect to Plaintiff's long-standing chronic pain issues due to severe degenerative disc disease. (See Doc. 4 at 13). Plaintiff specifically complains that jail officials discontinued his prescribed pain medications, and instead offered him only over-the-counter medications to treat his chronic, severe pain.

         In the June 30, 2017 R&R, the undersigned initially recommended that Plaintiff be permitted to proceed with an Eighth Amendment claim of excessive force against Defendant Hartman, and that he also be permitted to proceed with a second Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs against the following Defendants: Officer Hartman, Butler County Jail Dr. Abdullah, Miami County Jail Dr. Cole, Miami County Sheriff's Department Lt. Nate Collett, Miami County Jail “Nurse Kate” and “Nurse Sue, ” and Butler County Sheriff's Department [unnamed] ENT-Medical Nurse. (Doc. 5 at 5, 7).

         The R&R took note of the fact that for his claim for relief, Plaintiff was seeking injunctive relief. The R&R did not note any other claim for relief, as no other type of claim for relief appeared on the face of the complaint. (Id. at 5).

         On September 7, 2017, mail sent to Plaintiff at the address he had listed was returned to this Court as undeliverable. Thereafter, the Court directed Plaintiff to “show cause” for his failure to keep the Court apprised of his current address. (Docs. 25, 27). The same order directed the parties to file any motions to amend their pleadings by October 31, 2017, to complete discovery by May 31, 2018, and to file dispositive motions by July 31, 2018. (Doc. 27).

         By filings dated October 2 and October 5, 2017, Plaintiff notified the Court of a new address, indicating that he had been transferred to the Correctional Reception Center (“CRC”) on or about August 21, 2017. On October 23, 2017, Plaintiff notified this Court of an additional change of address, insofar as he was moved on October 19, 2017 to the London Correctional Institution in London, Ohio to serve out his sentence. (Doc. 43).

         On October 11, 2017, three of the Defendants associated with Miami County Jail (Dr. Cole, Nurse Kate and Nurse Sue) filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (Doc. 39). On March 5, 2018, the remaining four Defendants (Butler County Dr. Anthony Abdullah, Officer Todd Hartman, ENT-Medical Nurse of the Butler County Sheriff's Department, as well as Miami County Sheriff's Department Nate Collet), filed a similar motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (Doc. 71).

         II. Analysis

         A. Defendants' Motions to Dismiss

         All seven Defendants persuasively argue that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because Plaintiff has not been housed at either of the County Jails since August 21, 2017, and instead has been transferred to a more permanent prison location by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. All seven Defendants are associated with either Butler County or Miami County Jails, and none are associated with, or work at, the London Correctional Institution where Plaintiff is serving out his sentence. In short, Plaintiff's claims for injunctive relief have been rendered moot based upon his transfer to London Correctional Institution.

         This Court's jurisdiction is limited to “real and substantial controvers[ies] admitting of specific relief through a decree of a conclusive character” by the case or controversy clause of Article III of the Constitution. North Carolina v. Rice, 404 U.S. 244, 246 (1971) (citing Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Haworth, 300 U.S. 227, 240-241 (1937)); see also U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1. “Mootness results when events occur during the pendency of a litigation which render the court unable to grant the requested relief.” Carras v. Williams, 807 F.2d 1286, 1289 (6th Cir. 1986)(additional citation omitted). The Sixth Circuit has held that an inmate's claims for ...


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