United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Tyler Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Clark, United States District Judge.
Christopher Garrett (Garrett), an inmate confined within the
Texas Department of Criminal Justice proceeding pro
se, filed this civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 alleging purported violations to his
constitutional rights. The complaint was referred for
findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations for
the disposition of the case.
present memorandum opinion concerns only Defendant
Linthicum's motion to dismiss, (Dkt. #19), and the
Magistrate Judge's Report, (Dkt. #68), recommending that
the motion be granted.
Garrett's Underlying Allegations
initial complaint, (Dkt. #1), and his amended complaint,
(Dkt. #21), Garrett stated that in May 2015, while he was
incarcerated at the Michael Unit, he received a job transfer
in which new duties required him to climb up and down stairs,
which resulted in debilitating pain in his knee and hip. On
June 1, his leg “gave out” while walking, causing
him to stumble and fall. Garrett states that the medical
staff at the Michael Unit refused to issue him a walker or
crutches and refused to treat or diagnose him for weeks.
then highlighted how he slipped in the shower area on June
29, 2015, causing him to black out, fall onto the wet
concrete, and sustain a severe hip fracture. He noted that he
was sent to the infirmary on an emergency basis. Garrett
contended that before and after he arrived at medical, a
nurse repeatedly and intentionally twisted his foot and leg,
causing unbearable pain and illustrating her-and others
within the medical department-deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs. After weeks of failing to treat and
provide pain medication, Garrett was taken to a hospital in
Galveston and underwent hip surgery on July 10, 2015.
Defendant Linthicum, the Director of Health Services for
TDCJ, Garrett insisted that she “acts with deliberate
indifference to the Plaintiff's serious medical needs by
refusing to take steps, as is [her] duty, to ensure the
proper training of the TDCJ nursing staff and to ensure that
the nursing staff does not act with deliberate
indifference.” He also stated that it is routine
practice for medical grievance investigators “to give
obtuse responses to misdirect and obfuscate the grieved issue
at both the Step I and Step II levels.” Finally,
Garrett maintained that Defendant Linthicum is complicit in
falsifying medical records to “further accomplish the
delay and/or denial of needed health care.” Garrett
requests declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as both
punitive and compensatory damages.
Defendant Linthicum's Motion to Dismiss and Garrett's
motion to dismiss, (Dkt. #19), Linthicum argues that Garrett
presented merely conclusory claims against her. Additionally,
she maintained that she had no personal involvement with
respect to any of Garrett's claims and that Garrett
failed to overcome qualified immunity.
filed a response to Linthicum's motion to dismiss. He
argued that she undoubtedly had personal involvement because
she has ultimate authority over the Step II medical grievance
procedures; given that role, her “refusal to properly
investigate complaints in the Step II medical grievances
creates policies, procedures and customs that assure the
continuity of her subordinates act with deliberate
indifference to the Plaintiff's serious medical
needs.” Moreover, Garrett insisted that Linthicum had
personal involvement through her failure to train the
prison's nursing staff.
The Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation
recommending that Defendant Linthicum's motion be
granted, the Magistrate Judge found that Garrett failed to
demonstrate deliberate indifference, failed to illustrate
Defendant Linthicum's personal involvement or supervisory
liability, and failed to show any failure to train. Garrett
has filed timely objections to the Report, (Dkt. #74).
Motions to Dismiss The Fifth Circuit has observed that
motions to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) are “viewed with
disfavor and rarely granted.” See Turner v.
Pleasant, 663 F.3d 770, 775 (5th Cir. 2011). Such
motions are generally evaluated on the pleadings alone.
See Jackson v. Procunier, 789 F.2d 307, 309 (5th
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits dismissal if
a plaintiff “fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted.” A complaint fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted where it does not allege
sufficient facts which, taken as true, state a claim which is
plausible on its face and thus does not raise a right to
relief above the speculative level. See Montoya v. FedEx
Ground Packaging System Inc., 614 F.3d 145, 149 (5th
Cir. 2010) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). A claim has factual plausibility
when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw
reasonable inferences that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged. See Hershey v. Energy Transfer
Partners, L.P., 610 F.3d 239, 245 (5th Cir. 2010);
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). This
plausibility standard is not akin to a
probability standard; rather, the plausibility standard
requires more than the mere possibility that the
defendant has acted unlawfully. Bell, 550 U.S. at
556 (emphasis supplied).
all well-pleaded facts are taken as true, the district court
need not accept true conclusory allegations, unwarranted
factual inferences, or legal conclusions. See Whatley v.
Coffin, 496 Fed.App'x 414, 2012 WL 5419531 (5th Cir.
Nov. 7, 2012) (citing Plotkin v. IP Axess Inc., 407
F.3d 690, 696 (5th Cir. 2005)). Crucially, while the federal
pleading rules do not require “detailed factual
allegations, ” the rule does “demand more than an
accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A
pleading offering “labels and conclusions” or a