United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton
MELODY L. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
OHIO DEPT. OF REHAB. AND CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.
M. Rose District Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS 
L. Ovington United States Magistrate Judge.
Melody L. Williams is a former inmate at the Dayton
Correctional Institution and is presently incarcerated (since
mid-September 2016) in the Ohio Reformatory for Women. Her
pro se Complaint and attached Exhibits total 297
pages. Given this length, it is not surprising that she
advances a plethora of constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 arising from, for example, the conditions of her
confinement; inadequate medical or dental care; unequal
educational programming, benefits, pay rates, and wages;
inadequate fire safety; sexual harassment; inadequate kitchen
and recreational facilities; inadequate staffing and
supervision; and substandard or dangerous housing units. Her
Complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, and
proposes the creation of a class of Plaintiffs described, in
part, as “prisoners of the State of Ohio in the custody
of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and
Correction.” (Doc. #1, PageID #8). In a
limiting statement, the Complaint explains, “All
parties are currently confined at the Dayton Correctional
Complaint names the following Defendants: The Ohio Department
of Rehabilitation and Correction/Gary Moore; Dayton
Correctional Institution (DCI) Wardens Mr. Pringle and Ms.
Jackson-Mitchell; DCI physicians Drs. Moore and Duncan; DCI
health care administrator Ms. Jenkins-Harris; and, prior DCI
inspector Terrence Griffin. (Doc. #1, PageID #s
case is presently pending upon Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. #20), Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File
an Amended Complaint (Doc. #25), Defendants' Memorandum
in Opposition (Doc. #26), Plaintiff's Reply (Doc. #27),
and the record as a whole.
contend that they are entitled to dismissal of
Plaintiff's claims under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for
failure to raise a plausible claim for relief. They reason:
(1) the Eleventh Amendment bars Plaintiff's claims
because the Complaint sues them only in their official
capacities; (2) Plaintiff lacks standing to sue on behalf of
other inmates identified by name in the Complaint; (3) her
claims concerning the conditions of confinement at the Dayton
Correctional Institution are moot because she is no longer
incarcerated there; (4) her claims against the individual
Defendants fail because the Complaint alleges no wrongdoing
by them; (5) her own allegations show that the physician and
healthcare worker were not deliberately indifferent to her
medical problems; and (6) the documents attached to her
Complaint contradict her allegations of due-process
response to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff
seeks leave to amend her Complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2), which instructs, “The Court should freely
give leave when justice so requires.” She acknowledges
that she is no longer incarcerated at the Dayton Correctional
Institution and therefore seeks leave “to omit issue
that have expired, and to omit issues as they relate to the
conditions of her confinement at the Dayton Correctional
Institution. She also seeks to add additional defendants
“as they relate to her complaints of negligent medical
care, and an inadequate right to medical care. The new
claims, and new Defendants, do stem from, and are the direct
result of, … Plaintiff's original medical
negligence and inadequate medical care claim.” (Doc.
#25, PageID #733).
maintain that Plaintiff's Motion to Amend her Complaint
is untimely. Although Defendants are correct that
Plaintiff's Motion is untimely (by approximately one
month), they do not identify any undue prejudice they will
suffer if Plaintiff is permitted to file her Motion to Amend.
Additionally, leave to amend a pleading “should be
freely granted when justice requires, ” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2), unless the proposed amendments would be futile
“such as when the amended complaint cannot survive a
motion to dismiss.” United States ex rel. Ibanez v.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, 874 F.3d 905, 917 (6th
than specifically addressing futility, Defendants rely on
their Motion to Dismiss and point out that Plaintiff has yet
to address their dismissal arguments. (Doc.#26,
PageID #748). The problem with this is that
Plaintiff's proposed Amended Complaint contains new
allegations and a new claim relating to dental care at DCI.
She alleges that upon her incarceration at DCI, she was
denied dental care for serious dental problems that caused
her severe pain and unnecessary tooth loss. She asserts,
“Plaintiff did enter the ODRC prison system with
considerable dental issues, the first being dental issues
that had been started, but not completed, due to the
plaintiff['s] sudden incarceration, such as the capping
of her two front teeth after four root canals. Because of
incomplete dental procedures[, ] the plaintiff had two open
and exposed teeth in the very front of her mouth, as well as,
a post that needed to be removed from a prior root canal that
constantly raised up through the gums creating severe pain,
bleeding and tenderness.” (Doc. #25, PageID #s
739-40). Plaintiff further alleges that she was missing most
of her back teeth (top and bottom) due to erosion from
mercury fillings and a history of heavy smoking. She also had
several cavities and a history of severe gum disease. And she
was unable to eat and properly digest her food.
says that she was denied dental care for her serious existing
dental problems, and was denied preventative dental services,
during the first year she was incarcerated at DCI pursuant to
a policy set by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and
Correction (ODRC). The policy? New inmates must wait one year
before receiving dental services, “except extractions
upon incarceration.” Id. at 739. Plaintiff
further states that the DCI dentist (name unknown) informed
her, “it was not the policy of ODRC or DCI to perform
root canal or to cap or crown teeth and that her two front
teeth could not be saved or repaired and would need to be
extracted.” Id. at 740. Plaintiff declined to
have her teeth extracted, hoping to save them. In addition to
these new allegations, Plaintiff's proposed Amended
Complaint appears to more specifically describe the medical
care she did and did not receive at DCI and the Ohio
Reformatory for Women.
light of Plaintiff's new allegations concerning her
medical and dental care, and because leave to amend should be
freely granted as justice requires, and because Defendants
have yet to address Plaintiff's new allegations and
Eighth Amendment claim, Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to
Amend is well taken.
conclusion, however, does not end the present inquiry because
Plaintiff's proposed Amended Complaint significantly
limits her claims by omitting many of the factual allegations
and legal claims she advanced in her original Complaint.
Specifically, she explains that her purpose of seeking leave
is to omit issues that have expired and issues as they relate
to the conditions of her confinement at DCI. (Doc. #25,
PageID #733). As a result, allowing Plaintiff to
amend her Complaint serves both parties by allowing them to
focus on Plaintiff's remaining claims, reducing the cost
of litigation and allowing the Court to direct its limited
resources to the parties' central disputes.
Plaintiff should be permitted to file her proposed Amended
Complaint, her claims concerning the conditions of her
confinement at DCI should be dismissed, and the case should
proceed only upon her claims that she was denied medical and
dental care in violation of her rights under the Eighth
Amendment to the Constitution.
IS THEREFORE ...