ADAM A. BALLE, Plaintiff-Appellant,
NUECES COUNTY, TEXAS; DEBORAH CHARETTE; CHELSEA JOHNSON, Defendants-Appellees.
from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Texas
KING, JOLLY, and PRADO, Circuit Judges.
C. PRADO, Circuit Judge:
U.S.C. § 1983 case arises out of injuries Adam Balle
allegedly sustained while he was detained at a facility
operated by Nueces County and was under the care of the
facility's medical professionals, Deborah Charette and
Chelsea Johnson. The district court dismissed Balle's
claims against Nueces County, Charette, and Johnson under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). We AFFIRM in part,
REVERSE in part, and REMAND.
to the amended complaint, on March 6, 2012, two Corpus
Christi police officers responded to a domestic dispute at
Balle's home and took Balle into custody. At the time,
Balle was diabetic and suffered from a back disability,
though he was able to stand and walk without assistance.
While escorting Balle to the police car, one of the officers
kicked Balle twice in the middle of his back, causing him to
fall to the ground. Balle experienced a sharp pain in his
back. Nonetheless, the officers pulled Balle into the police
car and transported him to the Corpus Christi Detention
Center, where he was held for several hours without medical
was then transported to the Nueces County Jail. Balle alleges
that, throughout his six-day detention at the jail, he was
given little medical attention, even though he was
experiencing excruciating pain and repeatedly requested help.
On March 9, 2012, the jail's "Pass Logs"-which
serve as a record of the jailers' observations from their
daily rounds-indicated that Balle had "soiled
himself" and was "unable to clean himself." In
response, an "officer took him to 3R to shower, "
and his "cell was clean[ed] and clothes were
replaced." On March 10, Balle allegedly sent a
communication to jail officials indicating that he needed
medical attention, was unable to care for himself, had lost
the ability to control his bodily functions, and was
experiencing severe muscle spasms. The following day, the
Pass Logs stated: "Inmate Adam Balle complaining of
losing use of legs and in pain. Taken to medical. Checked
[and] cleared by C. Johnson, nurse."
March 12, 2012, the Pass Logs indicated that Balle "did
not go to diabetic check" because he said "he was
paralyzed and could not walk." "Nurse Asher"
and "PA Deborah" apparently spoke with Balle, but
once again, Balle was "checked and cleared." In
describing this evaluation, the Pass Logs stated, "PA
[said] that he is refusing to move." Later that day,
Balle was finally transported to a hospital, where he was
diagnosed with various back injuries. Balle underwent surgery
a few days later. Despite the surgery, however, Balle has
stated that he remains unable to walk.
March 5, 2014, Balle brought this suit under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against the City of Corpus Christi, the two police
officers who arrested him, Nueces County, ten John Does, and
ten Jane Does. Neither Charette
nor Johnson was named as a defendant in Balle's original
complaint. Through subsequent discovery, Balle was able to
identify Charette and Johnson as the medical professionals
purportedly responsible for his care while at the jail. Thus,
in October 2014, Balle filed an amended complaint
substituting Charette and Johnson for two of the Jane Does.
County, Charette, and Johnson then filed motions to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(6). The magistrate judge recommended
granting Johnson's and Charette's motions to dismiss
because they were added as named defendants after the statute
of limitations period had run. The district court adopted
this recommendation and dismissed Balle's claims against
Charette and Johnson. Separately, the magistrate judge
recommended denying Nueces County's motion to dismiss.
The district court declined to adopt this recommendation and
granted the county's motion, holding that Balle had
inadequately pleaded his municipal liability claim. This
argues that the district court erred in holding that (A) his
claims against Charette and Johnson were untimely and (B) he
inadequately pleaded municipal liability. We review
"motions to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) de novo,
'accepting all well-pleaded facts as true and viewing
those facts in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff.'" Ibe v. Jones, 836 F.3d 516,
524 (5th Cir. 2016) (quoting Toy v. Holder, 714 F.3d
881, 883 (5th Cir. 2013)). "To 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.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "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. Moreover, a complaint will not be dismissed
merely because it contains an "imperfect statement of
the legal theory supporting the claim asserted."
Johnson v. City of Shelby, 135 S.Ct. 346, 346
Timeliness of the Claims Against Charette and
parties appear to agree that the cause of action accrued on
March 12, 2012. However, the length of the limitations period
for a § 1983 claim "is determined by the general
statute of limitations governing personal injuries in the
forum state." Piotrowski v. City of Houston,
237 F.3d 567, 576 (5th Cir. 2001). As we have previously
noted, "Texas has a two year statute of limitations for
personal injury claims." Id.; see Tex.
Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 16.003(a). Although
Balle brought suit within two years of March 12, 2012, he did
not name Charette and Johnson as defendants until he filed
his amended complaint in October 2014. Nevertheless, ...