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Stojcevski v. County of Macomb

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 26, 2018

COUNTY OF MACOMB, et al. Defendants.



         This lawsuit arises from Plaintiff Vladimir Stojcevski's incarceration in the Macomb County Jail in June 2014. Plaintiff alleges that during his incarceration, Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He also alleges that Defendants' conduct amounted to gross negligence in violation of Michigan law. Presently before the Court is a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) by Defendant Correct Care Solutions (“CCS”) and certain individuals employed by CCS (collectively “CCS Defendants”). The motion has been fully briefed. Finding the facts and legal arguments sufficiently developed in the parties' briefs, the Court is dispensing with oral argument pursuant to Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f).

         I. Standard for Motion to Dismiss

         A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. RMI Titanium Co. v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 78 F.3d 1125, 1134 (6th Cir. 1996). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ” but it must contain more than “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action . . ..” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A complaint does not “suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertions' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

         As the Supreme Court provided in Iqbal and Twombly, “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “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. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The plausibility standard “does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage; it simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of illegal [conduct].” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.

         In deciding whether the plaintiff has set forth a “plausible” claim, the court must accept the factual allegations in the complaint as true. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). This presumption is not applicable to legal conclusions, however. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 668. Therefore, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         Ordinarily, the court may not consider matters outside the pleadings when deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Weiner v. Klais & Co., Inc., 108 F.3d 86, 88 (6th Cir. 1997) (citing Hammond v. Baldwin, 866 F.2d 172, 175 (6th Cir. 1989)). A court that considers such matters must first convert the motion to dismiss to one for summary judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P 12(d). However, “[w]hen a court is presented with a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, it may consider the [c]omplaint and any exhibits attached thereto, public records, items appearing in the record of the case and exhibits attached to [the] defendant's motion to dismiss, so long as they are referred to in the [c]omplaint and are central to the claims contained therein.” Bassett v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 430 (6th Cir. 2008). Thus, a court may take judicial notice of “other court proceedings” without converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment. Buck v. Thomas M. Cooley Law Sch., 597 F.3d 812, 816 (6th Cir. 2010) (citing Winget v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 537 F.3d 565, 575 (6th Cir. 2008)).

         II. Factual and Procedural Background[1]

         Plaintiff arrived at the Macomb County Jail on June 11, 2014. (Compl. ¶ 1.) On intake, Plaintiff was measured as being 5'6” in height and 165 pounds in weight. (Id. ¶ 44.) His blood pressure was 110/84, his pulse rate was 64, and his temperature was normal. (Id.) Prior to his incarceration, Plaintiff had been prescribed 600 mg. Neurontin TID, 2 mg. Klonopin TID, and 5/325 mg. Norco. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Lawrence Sherman, M.D. (“Dr. Sherman”) chose to prescribe a less expensive medication in lieu of Neurontin and failed to determine the correct dosage or to prescribe a loading dose for this new medication. (Id. ¶ 57.) Dr. Sherman is the Medical Director of the Macomb County Jail and a CCS employee. (Id. ¶ 22.) Defendant Macomb County contracted with CCS to provide medical care and services at the jail. (Id. ¶ 19.)

         Upon his arrival at the Macomb County Jail, Plaintiff was placed in a holding cell and then transferred to the “day room” for approximately two days. (Id.) On or about June 13, 2014, he was placed in the jail's Detoxification Unit. (Id.) Plaintiff remained in the unit until approximately 8:34 a.m. on June 17, 2014. (Id. ¶ 45.) Four hours later, he was transferred to a cell in the jail's Mental Health Unit. (Id.) He was moved around cells within the Mental Health Unit over the next thirty-two hours. (Id.)

         At around 9:00 p.m. on June 18, 2014, Plaintiff was moved to a “step-down” cell in the Medical Unit, where he remained for about three days. (Id. ¶ 46.) He stayed in two different cells during this period. (Id.) He was moved to the Mental Health Unit on June 21, where he remained until 8:39 p.m. on June 23, 2014. (Id. ¶ 50.) Early in the evening on June 23, Plaintiff was transported to McLaren Medical Center. (Id.) Upon his arrival at the hospital, Plaintiff was diagnosed as suffering from the following: (a) systemic inflammatory response syndrome criteria with possible sepsis; (b) acute peritoneal cellulitis; (c) muscular edema secondary to infections versus inflammation of the bilateral gluteus maximus muscle group; (d) acute encephalopathy; (e) possible rectal mucosal tear secondary to anal trauma; (f) increased white blood cell count; (g) acute intractable rectal and abdominal pain; (h) sacral wound; and (i) low potassium. (Id. ¶ 60.)

         Prior to his hospitalization, while at the Macomb County Jail, Plaintiff had seizures accompanied by vomiting spells and bowel incontinence from about June 11-15, 2014. (Id. ¶ 51.) Plaintiff alleges that he requested the opportunity to clean the vomit and stool from his body, but his requests were denied. (Id. ¶ 54.) He also alleges that he requested, but was denied, an examination of his lower extremity for injury or disease. (Id.)

         According to Plaintiff, several CCS Defendants “knew of the extremely unsanitary conditions existing in [his] cell, and disregarded the serious risk of harm caused by those conditions, knowing that such unsanitary conditions can lead to, or contribute to, infectious processes developing or worsening to the point where hospitalization would be necessary ….” (Id.) Specifically, Plaintiffs identifies those defendants as LPNs Deeann Pavey, Cynthia Deview, Vicki Bertram, Dinal Good, Sarah Breen, Dixie Debenne, Amber Barber, and Linda Parton. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he, in fact, suffered physical and mental injury as a result of being refused medical care and the ability to cleanse his body to remove the vomit and feces on his upper and lower extremities. (Id. ¶ 58.)

         Dr. Sherman instituted an Alcohol or Sedative Hypnotic Withdrawal for Plaintiff from June 15-20, 2014. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 48.)

         On June 19, 2014, Plaintiff was weighed by CCS Defendants Temittipe Olagbaiye, RN, and Deeann Pavey, LPN. (Id. ¶ 48.) He weighed 136 pounds, or 29 pounds less than his recorded weight at intake. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that this weight loss was significant and posed a serious risk of harm to him, yet no action was taken by these nurses. (Id.) On June 22, 2014, Plaintiff complained of a “racing” heart rate-presumably to CCS Defendant Vicki Bertram, LPN-who Plaintiff asserts did not contact a physician. (Id. ¶ 52.)

         In his Complaint, filed June 9, 2017, Plaintiff names the County of Macomb, certain individuals employed by Macomb County, CCS, and the following CCS employees as Defendants: (a) Dr. Sherman; (b) RN Olagbaiye; (c) Health Services Administrator David Art, RN; (d) Director of Nursing Monica Cueny, RN; and (e) LPNs Pavey, Deview, Bertram, Good, Breen, Debenne, Barber, and Parton. In response to the CCS Defendants' motion to dismiss, Plaintiff stipulates to the dismissal of his claims against LPNs Barber, Breen and Debenne. (Pl.'s Resp. Br. at 6, ECF No. 39 at Pg ID 263.)

         In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Sherman was a supervisor and policy maker for CCS. (Compl. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff seeks to hold CCS, Dr. Sherman, and RNs Art and Cueny liable for maintaining unconstitutional policies and practices for managing inmates suffering from the signs and symptoms exhibited by Plaintiff and for failing to properly train the medical staff to provide constitutionally sufficient medical care. (Id. ¶¶ 77-84; 91-97.) Plaintiff specifically identifies a failure to train staff to monitor inmates' food and water intake and to identify dehydration and malnourishment. (Id.) Plaintiff identifies two previous jail inmates, David Stojcevski (Plaintiff's brother) ...

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