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Fletcher v. Michigan Dep't of Corrections

March 30, 2010

DANIEL FLETCHER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert H. Cleland United States District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

Before the court is a "Motion to Dismiss," filed on February 5, 2010, by Defendant Center for Forensic Psychiatry ("CFP") and CFP's employees: Defendants Dr. Rita Garg, Dr. Thomas E. Fluent, Joseph Corso, and Bill Clark. A hearing on this motion is unnecessary. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(e)(2). For the reasons stated below, the court will grant Defendants' motion.

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

In 2006, Plaintiff Daniel Fletcher, who suffers from bipolar and personality disorders, had a pending legal matter in the Oakland County Circuit Court. (Pl.'s Compl. ¶¶ 25, 26.) On June 21, 2006, the Honorable David Reader of the Livingston County Circuit Court issued a Maintenance Order. (Id. ¶ 27.) Plaintiff states that the order required his "transportation to and from Defendant [CFP] while awaiting and participating in Court appearances to preserve his mental and physical status."*fn2 (Id.) Dr. Thomas Fluent, a Board Certified General and Child/Adolescent Psychiatrist at CFP, drafted a letter to an attorney two months later explaining the necessity of a Maintenance Order:

Mr. Fletcher left the Center for Forensic Psychiatry for five days in early to mid August to attend a hearing [at] Oakland County Court. He resided at the Oakland County Jail during this time. Upon return to the Center for Forensic Psychiatry, Mr. Fletcher appeared to have deteriorated significantly in regards to his mental and emotional health.

It is our opinion as a treatment team that Mr. Fletcher during the trial process would be best served by remaining at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry on a Maintenance Order, pending the outcome/resolution of his legal case. (Pl.'s Resp. at 8; Pl.'s Resp., Ex. A.)

In early October 2006, Plaintiff was incarcerated at Defendant Oakland County Jail*fn3 because CFP allegedly failed or refused to pick him up from Oakland County Circuit Court. (Pl.'s Compl. ¶ 29.) Plaintiff repeatedly asked officers at the jail to return him to CFP in compliance with the Maintenance Order and to provide him with his psychiatric medications, but the officers ignored his requests. (Id. ¶¶ 30-33.) Defendant John/Scott Doe, a counselor at the Oakland County Jail, interviewed Plaintiff, classified him as an inmate with mental issues, and recommended his transfer to the "K Block," a holding area surrounded by windows near the guard post. (Id. ¶¶ 35-38.)

John/Scott Doe later met with Plaintiff in the "K Block." (Id. ¶ 40.) During the meeting, Plaintiff asked John/Scott Doe when he would be transferred to CFP and when he would receive his medication. (Id. ¶¶ 42-43.) John/Scott Doe replied, "[W]hen I deem it time." (Id. ¶ 44.) Plaintiff was so disgusted with this response that he turned his back. (Id. ¶ 45.) This enraged John/Scott Doe, who stated "Don't turn your back on me." (Id. ¶ 46.) John/Scott Doe then repeatedly kicked Plaintiff in his lower back causing his head to strike a metal sink. (Id. ¶¶ 46-47.) When Plaintiff attempted to get up, John/Scott Doe grabbed Plaintiff by his neck and said, "Do something, say something to me mother fucker." (Id. ¶ 48.) John/Scott Doe then smashed Plaintiff's head into the metal sink again, which caused Plaintiff to slump against the wall. (Id. ¶ 49.) All of this was observed by Defendant Jane Doe, a nurse at the Oakland County Jail, who finally said, "That's enough John/Scott, I am not going to watch this." (Id. ¶ 50.) John/Scott Doe responded, "Okay," as Plaintiff became unconscious. (Id. ¶ 51.) Later that day, Plaintiff woke up in the middle of the floor in the "K Block." (Id. ¶ 52.) He had a bloody nose and excruciating pain in his head. (Id. ¶ 53.) Upon looking in the mirror, he observed a quarter-sized hole in his head. (Id. ¶ 54.) Plaintiff then sneezed, which caused blood to fill his sinus cavity and pour out of his nose. (Id. ¶ 55.) Plaintiff pressed the "911 button" and heard two jail officers, Defendants John Doe (2) and John Doe (3), laughing and arguing. (Id. ¶ 56.) Plaintiff requested to see a doctor but his requests were ignored. (Id. ¶ 57.) After at least seven more "911" calls, Plaintiff was finally escorted to the infirmary. (Id. ¶ 58.)

At the infirmary, Nurse Jane Doe did not acknowledge the quarter-sized hole in his head and stated that it was "just red." (Id. ¶¶ 59-61.) After his examination by Jane Doe, Defendant John Doe (4) transferred Plaintiff to a holding cell outside the infirmary. (Id. ¶ 63.) Defendant John Doe (5) then transferred Plaintiff back to the "K Block," denying Plaintiff's request to be taken to the hospital for x-rays. (Id. ¶¶ 64-66.) Upon return to the "K Block," Plaintiff's face became swollen and turned black and blue. (Id. ¶ 68.)

The next morning, Plaintiff was transferred to CFP. (Id. ¶ 72.) Defendant Bill Clark, CFP's head of security, photographed Plaintiff's injuries upon arrival and ordered him to be transported to St. Joe's Hospital for x-rays. (Id. ¶¶ 22, 74.) Doctors diagnosed Plaintiff as having a right orbital depressed comminuted fracture and performed a surgery that placed five plates and twenty-five screws into Plaintiff's head. (Id. ¶¶ 74-77.) After his surgery, Plaintiff returned to CFP, where he was called "Zipperhead" by the other inmates because of the forty-seven staples in his head. (Id. ¶ 78.)

Approximately three years later, on October 2, 2009, Plaintiff initiated this case against the Michigan Department of Corrections, Oakland County Jail, CFP, Sheriff Michael Bouchard, John/Scott Doe, John Doe (2), John Doe (3), John Doe (4), John Doe (5), Jane Doe, Dr. Rita Garg, Dr. Thomas E. Fluent, Joseph Corso, and Bill Clark. Plaintiff seeks damages in excess of $30,000,000.00 and alleges the following counts:

(1) "Violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution by All Defendants,"*fn4 (2) "42 U.S.C. § 1983 Violations by Oakland County Sheriff," (3) "42 U.S.C. § 1983 Violations by Michigan Department of Corrections," and (4) "Negligence/Gross Negligence of All Defendants." On February 5, 2010, Defendants Dr. Rita Garg, Dr. Thomas E. Fluent, Joseph Corso, and Bill Clark (collectively "the individual Defendants"), together with Defendant CFP, filed the present motion to dismiss.

II. STANDARD

When ruling on a motion to dismiss pursuant to12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court must construe the complaint in a light most favorable to the plaintiff and accept all the factual allegations as true. Evans-Marshall v. Board of Educ., 428 F.3d 223, 228 (6th Cir. 2005); Rossborough Mfg. Co. v. Trimble,301 F.3d 482, 489 (6th Cir. 2002). In doing so, "the court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff." Directv, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007). Yet, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Although a heightened fact pleading of specifics is not required, the plaintiff must bring forth "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "[O]nly a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss." Iqbal,129 S.Ct. at 1950.

Though decidedly generous, this standard of review does require more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions. Lillard v. Shelby County Bd. of Educ., 76 F.3d 716, 726 (6th Cir. 1996).

[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of a cause of action's elements will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the ...


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