United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
JARED T. GREINER, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF OCEANA et al., Defendants.
T. Neff United States District Judge
a civil rights action brought by Jared T. Greiner, who is the
Personal Representative of the Estate of Gary Greiner, a
pretrial detainee in the Oceana County Jail, under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L.
No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996) (PLRA), the Court is
required to dismiss any prisoner action brought under federal
law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Court must read
Plaintiff's complaint indulgently, see Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept
Plaintiff's allegations as true, unless they are clearly
irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992). Applying these
standards, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint
for failure to state a claim against Defendants County of
Oceana, Sheriff Craig Mast, and Lieutenant Louis Herremans.
The Court will serve the complaint against Defendants Deputy
Treven Padilla and Deputy Brad Fritcher.
time of his death, Plaintiff's decedent, Gary Greiner was
confined at the Oceana County Jail. Plaintiff alleges that
Gary was arrested by the Oceana County Sheriff's
Department on November 3, 2018. Deputy Sheriff Young
conducted the booking process at approximately 10:30 p.m. The
Medical Assessment form shows that Gary had been hospitalized
for psychiatric care approximately one month prior and that
Gary was contemplating suicide. Consequently, Gary was placed
on suicide watch.
November 4, 2018, at approximately 4:00 a.m., Deputy Young
called Community Mental Health. Deputy Young performed checks
on Gary every fifteen minutes from 10:35 p.m. on November 3,
2018, until 6:00 a.m. on November 4, 2018. Later that day,
Community Mental Health worker Bart Theodore Dawson, LLPL,
came to see Gary and formulated a Mental Health Management
Plan. The plan included specific recommendations to be
implemented by jail staff, including a restriction on sheets
and blankets, thirty minute cell checks, and continuous video
observation. The plan specified behaviors to observe and
report as “Suicidal statements; preparatory actions
(i.e. searching for sheets, preparing his own garments in a
fashion to hang himself).” (ECF No. 1, PageID.5.) For
staff interventions, the plan stated “Jail protocol as
decedent, Gary, was dressed in “blues” and was
placed in cell 13B. In the Jail Activity Report for November
4, 2018, Defendant Fritcher noted that he was on duty from
6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and performed cell checks on Gary at
2:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.
Deputy Young was on duty beginning at 6:00 p.m. and working
until 6:00 a.m. on November 5, 2018. Deputy Young performed
cell checks at 6:04 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m.,
8:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 10:00 p.m., 10:30 p.m.,
11:00 p.m., 12:00 a.m., 12:30 a.m., 1:00 a.m., 1:30 a.m.,
2:00 a.m., 2:30 a.m., 3:30 a.m., 4:30 a.m., and 5:30 a.m.
Deputy Hay performed checks on 3:00 a.m., 4:00 a.m., and 5:00
Padilla and Fritcher were both on duty from 6:00 a.m. until
6:00 p.m. on November 5, 2018. Defendant Fritcher was
assigned to “booking” and did not perform any
cell checks on Plaintiff's decedent, Gary, on November 5,
2018. Defendant Padilla noted in the Jail Activity Report
that he performed cell checks on Gary at 6:30 a.m., 7:00
a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 8:30 a.m. (via camera), 9:05 a.m.
(via camera), and 9:38 a.m. Plaintiff asserts that review of
the video footage shows that Gary engaged in preparatory
actions from 9:00 a.m. to 9:14 a.m. on November 5, 2018, when
he paced repeatedly around the cell, inspected the inmate
visitation kiosk, moved a trash can further from the kiosk,
wrapped the cord to the handset of the visitation kiosk
around his neck, and lowered himself to the floor with the
cord wrapped around his neck. Plaintiff states that video
footage also shows that Gary was hanging from a phone cord,
motionless, with his head slumped forward from 9:14 a.m.
until 9:38 a.m.
alleges that jail security monitors were readily visible in
the booking office of the jail and in the Correction
Officers' office in the housing area. Plaintiff states
that it is clear that Defendants Padilla and Fritcher failed
to check on Gary during the time that he was hanging with a
phone cord around his neck, a period of 24 minutes. At 9:38
a.m., while returning inmate laundry, Defendant Padilla found
Gary with the cord around his neck and radioed Defendant
Fritcher for assistance. Defendant Padilla lifted Gary's
body while Defendant Fritcher removed the cord from his neck.
A 911 called was placed from the jail at 9:39 a.m. and EMS
arrived at 9:46 a.m. Plaintiff reportedly had a pulse before
he was transported to the hospital. Plaintiff was taken to
the hospital by EMS on 10:08 a.m. on November 5, 2018.
Plaintiff was pronounced dead on November 16, 2018.
contends that Defendants conduct violated Gary Greiner's
rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff
Failure to state a claim
complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it
fails “‘to give the defendant fair notice of what
the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While a complaint need not contain
detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's allegations
must include more than labels and conclusions.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”). The
court must determine whether the complaint contains
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” 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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679. Although the plausibility standard is not equivalent
to a “‘probability requirement,' . . . it
asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[W]here
the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more
than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged - but it has not ‘show[n]' - that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)); see also Hill
v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding
that the Twombly/Iqbal plausibility standard applies
to dismissals of prisoner cases on initial review under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the federal
Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was
committed by a person acting under color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Street
v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir.
1996). Because § 1983 is a method for vindicating
federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself,
the first step in an action under § 1983 is to identify
the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed.
Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994).
claims that Defendants violated his decedent Gary's
rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Eighth
Amendment itself does not apply to pretrial detainees such as
Plaintiff's decedent. See Richko v. Wayne Cty.,
Mich., 819 F.3d 907, 915 (6th Cir. 2016). Instead, the
Fourteenth Amendment grants analogous rights to adequate
medical treatment to pretrial detainees. Id. (citing
Roberts v. City of Troy, 773 F.2d 720, 723 (6th Cir.
1985)). The Eighth Amendment obligates prison
authorities to provide medical care to incarcerated
individuals, as a failure to provide such care would be
inconsistent with contemporary standards of decency.
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 102, 103-04 (1976). The