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Finley v. Murphy

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

January 7, 2020

RAY L. FINLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSEPH MURPHY, et al., Defendants.

          James L. Graham, Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ELIZABETH A. PRESTON DEAVERS, CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court for consideration of the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants Joseph Murphy, Nurse Young, Nurse Tim Cowgill, and Correctional Officer Lawson (ECF No. 13), Plaintiff's Response in Opposition (ECF No. 14), and Defendants' Reply (ECF No. 15). For the reasons that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 13) be GRANTED.

         I.

         Plaintiff Ray Finley, a prison inmate under the custody and control of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (“ODRC”), brings his claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. (ECF No. 8.) Plaintiff sues Defendants in both their individual and official capacities and seeks both monetary and injunctive relief. (Id.)

         Plaintiff alleges that on July 5, 2018, he was given a fast-acting insulin injection at approximately 5:15 P.M. (Id. at 3.) According to Plaintiff, diabetic inmates are usually taken to the cafeteria to eat immediately after receiving their insulin and, to get to the cafeteria, they walk through the prison yard. (Id.) On this day, the yard was closed due to inclement weather, so the diabetic inmates (including Plaintiff) were not able to go to the cafeteria immediately following their insulin injections. (Id.)

         Plaintiff asserts that, within a half hour of receiving his insulin, he began experiencing shakiness, nervousness, and irritability. (Id.) He also reports sweating, getting the chills, getting lightheaded, and feeling dizzy. (Id. at 3-4.) According to Plaintiff, these symptoms lasted for around an hour at which point Plaintiff asked about getting some food delivered. (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Young responded in an “uncaring and rude” manner. (Id.) At some point thereafter, one of the Defendants administered a blood glucose check on Plaintiff and his blood sugar was 40 mg per decaliter. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that the blood sugar threshold for requiring immediate treatment is 54 mg per decaliter. (Id.) At this time, Plaintiff was given some graham crackers. (Id.) At around 6:30 P.M., a staff member brought meals and snacks to all of the diabetic inmates. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that, throughout this ordeal, none of the Defendants acted with concern for the health of Plaintiff and that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his pain and suffering. (Id.)

         Plaintiff filed an informal complaint on July 12, 2018. (Id.) Defendant Murphy responded to the complaint, finding no evidence of deliberate indifference or cruel and unusual punishment. (Id.) Plaintiff escalated his complaint on July 17, 2018, to a grievance, which was denied on July 30, 2018. (Id. at 4-5.) The institutional inspector denied this grievance, finding that proper protocol was followed. (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff then escalated his grievance to the chief inspector, who acknowledged a need for improvement with the processes. (Id.) Plaintiff asserts that on January 10, 2019, a new policy was implemented at the jail for responding to diabetic inmates whose blood glucose readings were irregular. (Id. at 6.)

         Defendants admit that on July 5, 2018, the prison yard was closed due to inclement weather, so the diabetic inmates who had just received insulin had to stay at the medical facility following their injections. (ECF No. 13 at 2.) Defendants maintain that there was a plan in place for treatment in the event one of the inmates experienced irregular blood glucose levels. (Id. at 3.) Defendants assert that this plan was followed as to Plaintiff, which is why he was given graham crackers when his blood glucose dropped and why all inmates were provided a meal and additional snacks at around 6:30 P.M. (Id.)

         II.

         To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff must satisfy the basic federal pleading requirements set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Thus, Rule 8(a) “imposes legal and factual demands on the authors of complaints.” 16630 Southfield Ltd., P'ship v. Flagstar Bank, F.S.B., 727 F.3d 502, 503 (6th Cir. 2013) (emphasis in original).

         Although this pleading standard does not require “‘detailed factual allegations,' . . . [a] pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, '” is insufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). A complaint will not “suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Instead, to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter . . . to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Facial plausibility is established “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. “The plausibility of an inference depends on a host of considerations, including common sense and the strength of competing explanations for the defendant's conduct.” Flagstar Bank, 727 F.3d at 504 (citations omitted).

         In considering whether a complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must “construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept its allegations as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.” Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund v. Standard & Poor's Fin. Servs. LLC, 700 F.3d 829, 835 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Directv, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007)). However, “the tenet that a court must accept a complaint's allegations as true is inapplicable to threadbare recitals of a cause of action's elements, supported by mere conclusory statements.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663. Thus, while a court is to afford plaintiff every inference, the pleading must still contain facts sufficient to “provide a plausible basis for the claims in the complaint”; a recitation of facts intimating the “mere possibility of misconduct” will not suffice. Flex Homes, Inc. v. Ritz-Craft Corp of Mich., Inc., 491 F. App'x. 628, 632 (6th Cir. 2012); Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

         In addition, the Court holds pro se complaints “‘to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Garrett v. Belmont Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't., No. 08-3978, 2010 WL 1252923, at *2 (6th Cir. April 1, 2010) (quoting Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)). This lenient treatment, however, has limits; “‘courts should not have to guess at the nature of the claim asserted.'” Fre ...


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