United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. MILLER SENIOR UNITED STATE DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the court is a motion to dismiss or for a more
definite statement filed by defendants Kloeber, Narinsingh,
Rains, Rabius, and Luckstead (the “Medical
Defendants”).Dkt. 23. After reviewing the motion,
response, reply, first amended complaint, and applicable law,
the court is of the opinion that the motion should be DENIED.
Background and Arguments
case arises primarily from plaintiff Tacoma Borden's time
as an inmate in Fort Bend County jail. Dkt. 7. Tacoma Borden
suffers from severe epilepsy, and the Bordens contend that
Tacoma Borden advised individuals working in the jail that
she needed medication to prevent seizures and serious medical
conditions that can occur as a result of her seizures, and
the personnel ignored her requests, resulting in her having
three seizures while confined in jail and suffering various
medical issues as a result. Id. The Bordens contend
in the first amended complaint that Kloeber was a nurse
practitioner at the jail and Rabius, Rains, Narinsingh, and
Luckstead were all jail nurses. Id. They
specifically state that each of the Medical Defendants is
sued in his or her individual capacity, and they allege that
each Medical Defendant was personally involved in the
inhumane and unsanitary conditions of confinement and denial
and delay of medical care and treatment. Id. They
allege, specifically, that Rabius checked Tacoma Borden's
blood pressure after she suffered a seizure and wrote the
wrong blood pressure on the form and the wrong time that the
seizure occurred. Id. Tacoma Borden had to start
using a wheelchair after her third seizure, and the
plaintiffs contend that the medical personnel at the jail
required that Tacoma Borden be placed in the disciplinary
tank as long as she had to use a wheelchair. Id. The
plaintiffs contend that this was either punishment for Tacoma
Borden's disability or retaliation against Tacoma Borden
for complaining about her care. Id. They do not
state which of the Medical Defendants was involved in this
Medical Defendants move for dismissal of the claims asserted
against them under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Dkt. 23. They assert that the plaintiffs'
“incomprehensible and disjointed statements” do
not meet federal pleading standards. Id. They argue
that the plaintiffs merely allege that the Medical Defendants
were responsible for defendant Tacoma Borden's medical
deprivation of care, and they argue that the facts alleged do
not rise above the speculative level. Id. They
additionally assert that to the extent the plaintiffs are
attempting to assert claims against them in their official
capacities, these claims must be dismissed because the
Bordens cannot maintain claims against the Medical Defendants
in their official capacities concurrently with claims against
Fort Bend County, which is also a named defendant.
Id. The Medical Defendants request, in the
alternative, that the court require the plaintiffs to provide
a more definite statement because they contend they are
unable to form a responsive pleading. Id.
plaintiffs point out in response that they allege in the
first amended complaint that each Medical Defendant deprived
Tacoma Borden of her constitutionally protected rights
secured by the Fourteenth Amendment while acting under the
color of state law. Dkt. 25. They clarify that the claims are
brought against the Medical Defendants in their individual
capacities because each of the Medical Defendants failed to
provide constitutionally adequate medical care to Tacoma
Borden and each was deliberately indifferent to Tacoma
Borden's serious medical needs. Id. The
plaintiffs assert that the first amended complaint indicates
that the Medical Defendants completely ignored Tacoma
Borden's medical needs despite her making numerous
requests for her medication to the jail pharmacy.
Id. According to the first amended complaint, Tacoma
Borden did not receive medical attention after her first or
second seizures. Id. After the third, the first
amended complaint states that one or a few of the Medical
Defendants, without specifying which, arrived but did not
transport her for treatment. Id. Additionally, the
plaintiffs argue that the first amended complaint states that
Rabius attempted to falsify Tacoma Borden's medical
records to portray a different narrative than what happened.
reply, the Medical Defendants assert that the plaintiffs must
allege that the official was “‘aware of facts
from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial
risk of serious harm exists'” and that the official
“‘must draw that inference.'” Dkt. 26
(quoting Baughman v. Hickman, 935 F.3d 302, 307 (5th
Cir. 2019)). They assert that the plaintiffs'
“lengthy recitation of facts in their First Amended
Complaint and response . . . do not support a cause of action
against the [Medical] Defendants.” Id. They
also reassert that they cannot ascertain the plaintiffs'
ultimate claims against them and need a more definite
Motion to Dismiss
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only ‘a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007).
In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a complaint,
courts generally must accept the factual allegations
contained in the complaint as true. Kaiser Aluminum &
Chem. Sales, Inc. v. Avondale Shipyards, Inc., 677 F.2d
1045, 1050 (5th Cir. 1982). The court does not look beyond
the face of the pleadings in determining whether the
plaintiff has stated a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). Spivey
v. Robertson, 197 F.3d 772, 774 (5th Cir. 1999).
“[A] complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, [but] 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 the
elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). The
“[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level.” Id.
The supporting facts must be plausible-enough to raise a
reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal further
supporting evidence. Id. at 556.
Motion for a More Definite Statement
party may move for a more definite statement of a pleading to
which a responsive pleading is allowed but which is so vague
or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a
response.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e). However, motions for
more definite statement are “generally
disfavored.” Lehman Bros. Holdings, Inc. v.
Cornerstone Mortg. Co., No. H-09-0672, 2009 WL 1504977,
at *1 (S.D. Tex. May 28, 2009) (Rosenthal, J.) (collecting
authorities). “When a defendant is complaining of
matters that can be clarified and developed during discovery,
not matters that impede his ability to form a responsive
pleading, an order directing the plaintiff to provide a more
definite statement is not warranted.” Id.
Defendants assert that the facts alleged do not rise above a
speculative level. Dkt. 23. The first amended complaint
indicates that each of the Medical Defendants was a nurse or
nurse practitioner at the jail who was personally involved in
the inhumane and unsanitary conditions of confinement and
denial and delay of medical care and treatment outlined in
the first amended complaint. Dkt. 7. It states that Tacoma
Borden advised that she needed medication so that she would
not have seizures but did not receive said medication and
thereafter suffered three seizures while confined in the
jail, which involved urinating on herself, was not supplied
clean undergarments after the seizures, and, after her
medical condition deteriorated, had to be in a wheelchair.
Id. There is no indication which of the Medical
Defendants was advised that Tacoma Borden needed the
medication or who decided not to or failed to provide it.
See Id. The plaintiffs further allege in the first
amended complaint that the medical personnel made the
determination that inmates in wheelchairs must be housed in