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Triplett v. Sheldon

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

June 25, 2018

Timothy Triplett, Plaintiff
Edward Sheldon, Warden, et al., Defendants



         This is a state prisoner's civil-rights case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         Plaintiff Timothy Triplett is an inmate at the Toledo Correctional Institution. When he experienced a medical emergency in late 2012, prison staff took him to the medical ward. There, Triplett alleges, multiple correctional officers beat him for no reason, and doctors and nurses refused to treat his serious medical needs.

         Triplett then brought this suit alleging the defendants various correctional officers and members of the prison's medical staff either used excessive force, failed to protect him from a known risk of harm, and/or were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. He also alleges that the defendants were negligent under Ohio law.

         Jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367(a).

         Pending is the defendants' motion under Fed. R. Civ. P 12(b)(6) to dismiss for failure to state a claim. For the following reasons, I grant the motion in part and deny it in part.


         At 6:30 a.m. on November 5, 2012, Triplett, who was fifty-two years old and “on chronic care, ” became nauseated, had severe chest pains, and felt dizzy. (Doc. 66 at ¶14). It became difficult and painful for him to breath, and Triplett thought he was going to pass out. (Id.). A correctional officer to whom Triplett relayed his complaints sounded a “Major Medical Alert.” (Id. at ¶15).

         Shift Captain Green, some correctional officers, and “medical staff” entered Triplett's cell, put him in a wheel chair, and brought him to the medical department. (Id. at ¶13).

         One of two nurses in the examination room either defendant Bertok or defendant Peterson told Triplett “he would have to wait to see” the doctor, defendant Richard Pine. (Id. at ¶14). As Triplett described his symptoms for the nurses, defendant Benjamin Madrid, a correctional officer, entered the room and told Triplett there was nothing wrong with him. Madrid then left the room, shouting “Fuck that [m]other [f]ucker Triplett.” (Id. at ¶15).

         Nurses Bertok and Peterson then told Triplett to get up, sit in his wheel chair, and wait for the doctor, but Triplett said that “he could not sit up as he felt he would pass out[.]” (Id.). Madrid re-entered the room and told Triplett to get off the examination bed. When Triplett, who could not stand on his own, refused, Madrid “attacked Triplett [by] hitting him in his face, chest, and ribs using his hands, fist and elbows[.]” (Id. at ¶16).

         Thereafter, three correctional officers defendants Reed, Danhoff, and Caughorn came into the room in response to a “signal 3” or “man down” alarm that Madrid had triggered. These defendants grabbed, twisted, and bent Triplett's arms and handcuffed him. (Id. at ¶18). “[T]he CO defendants individually and/or collectively violently threw [Triplett] to the floor and then slammed him into a wheel chair[.]” (Id.).

         As Danhoff, Reed, and Caughorn took Triplett back to his cell, they “purposefully ran the wheel chair and Triplett into walls and jerked the wheel chair back and forth with great force.” (Id. at ¶19). At least one of the officers hurled a racial slur at Triplett. (Id.). When the officers reached Triplett's cell, they “dumped Triplett on the cell floor on his face causing him to cough up blood.” (Id. at ¶20).

         Eventually “Triplett was evaluated by medical personnel and Dr. Pine, ” and prison staff called for an “E.M.T. ambulance.” (Id. at ¶23). Paramedics determined that Triplett was experiencing “severe cardiac arrest complications” and wanted to transport him to an outside hospital. Nevertheless, defendant Burkin refused to let Triplett leave the prison. (Id. at ¶25). Within twenty-four hours, prison staff relented and transferred Triplett to the hospital at Ohio State University. (Id. at ¶¶27 28). Triplett underwent two cardiac surgeries and had a Pacemaker implanted. (Id. at ¶27).

         After Triplett filed this suit, defendant Reed allegedly retaliated against him by “stalking” him and interfering with his ability to worship. (Id. at ¶30). Moreover, “Triplett has been accused of misconduct and had to defend himself via the appropriate [grievance] procedures, ” which resulted in a “not guilty” finding. (Id. at ¶31).

         Standard of Review

         A complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “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.” Id.


         Defendants argue that I should dismiss the complaint for three reasons.

         First, defendants argue that, with the exception of the excessive-force claim against defendant Madrid, Triplett failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Second, they contend that none of Triplett's claims is plausible under the Iqbal/Twombly standard. Third, the defense maintains that I lack personal jurisdiction over defendants Caughorn, Burkin, Bertok, and Peterson because Triplett has not served those defendants.

         A. Exhaustion

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) (PLRA), requires that a state prisoner exhaust all available administrative remedies before filing a federal lawsuit challenging prison conditions. Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 8384 (2006).

         1. Inmate ...

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