United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
DEBORAH FULLER, as Administratrix of the Estate of Matthew Fuller, Plaintiff,
LOUISVILLE METRO GOVERNMENT, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. Hale, Judge United States District Court
Deborah Fuller brings this action as Administratrix of the
Estate of Matthew Fuller against Defendants
Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, Louisville
Metro Department of Corrections Director Mark Bolton, Correct
Care Solutions, LLC, and several doctors and nurses employed
by Correct Care. (Docket No. 1) Fuller alleges that while in
the custody of Metro Corrections, her son Matthew Fuller
suffered from the defendants' deliberate indifference to
his serious medical needs. (Id.) Louisville Metro
and Metro Corrections Director Bolton move to dismiss the
claims against them. (D.N. 10) Because Fuller fails to
provide sufficient facts to state a plausible claim for
relief against Louisville Metro or Director Bolton, the Court
will grant Defendants' motion.
following facts are set forth in the complaint and taken as
true for the present motion. See Tackett v. M & G
Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009)
(citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th
Cir. 2009) (citations omitted)).
action arises out of serious medical complications that
Matthew Fuller developed during his incarceration in
Louisville Metro Department of Corrections. (D.N. 1) Correct
Care is a private entity contracted to provide medical
services to inmates at LMDC. (Id., PageID # 4) The
doctors and nurses named as defendants in this matter are
Correct Care employees. (Id.)
9, 2016, Matthew Fuller was arrested and admitted to LMDC.
(Id., PageID # 5) In light of Fuller's
acknowledgement that he used a 1/2 gram of heroin on a daily
basis, the Correct Care employees at issue charted
Fuller's progress on an Opiate Withdrawal Score Sheet.
(Id.) Despite running a fever of 100.9 degrees, the
employees removed Fuller from monitoring on June 11.
(Id.) Three days later, Fuller submitted a
Healthcare Request Form, in which he complained of continuing
fever. (Id.) A nurse gave Fuller Tylenol, documented
his fever as “routine, ” and instructed him to
“contact medical if symptoms reoccur.”
(Id., PageID # 6) On June 17, Fuller again
complained of continuing fever. (Id.) A nurse
documented the complaint as “routine, ” and
instructed him to “contact medical if symptoms
June 17, Fuller submitted an additional Healthcare Request
Form, in which he stated: “I have not had a bowel
movement in over one week - serious pain!!”
(Id.) A doctor prescribed Fuller a stool softener
but took no further corrective action. (Id., PageID
# 7) Thereafter, Fuller's condition deteriorated
significantly. A Progress Note prepared on June 21, 2016,
indicated that Fuller's vitals were abnormal.
(Id.) Defendant Dr. Rozefort diagnosed Fuller with
dehydration and ordered that he be administrated fluids
intravenously. (Id.) On June 22, Fuller's pulse
rate increased to 140 beats per minute, his temperature
increased to 100.2 degrees, and his oxygen saturation
decreased to 91%. (Id., PageID # 8) That same day,
Defendant Dr. Kutnicki assessed Fuller for potential sepsis
and directed that he be immediately transported to the E.R.
at the University of Louisville Hospital for further testing.
his arrival to U of L Hospital, Fuller was “intubated
for hypoxic respiratory failure, and diagnosed with septic
shock and acute infective endocarditis, a bacterial infection
of the heart that can be caused by sepsis.”
(Id.) Fuller was then transferred to Jewish
Hospital, where he remained until his death on July 5, 2016.
October 31, 2017, Deborah Fuller brought this action against
Defendants Louisville Metro, Director Bolton, Correct Care,
and several doctors and nurses employed by Correct Care,
alleging constitutional and state-law violations. (D.N. 1)
She contends that “[t]he signs and symptoms of sepsis
include fever, an elevated heart rate, weakness, diarrhea and
pain, all of which Mr. Fuller . . . exhibited long before he
saw Dr. Kutnicki.” (Id., PageID # 8) She
claims that the medical professionals failed to timely
diagnose Matthew Fuller as a result of their deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs. (Id.,
PageID # 9) Louisville Metro and Director Bolton now move to
dismiss Fuller's claims against them. (D.N. 10)
order to avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim,
“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)). If
“the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to
infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, ”
the plaintiff has not shown that he is entitled to relief.
Id. at 679. The complaint need not contain
“detailed factual allegations, ” but it must
provide “more than an unadorned,
Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555). “Although for the purposes of a motion to dismiss
[the Court] must take all of the factual allegations in the
complaint as true, [the Court is] not bound to accept as true
a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
Furthermore, “[w]hile a complaint will survive a motion
to dismiss if it contains either direct or inferential
allegations respecting all material elements necessary for
recovery under a viable legal theory . . . legal conclusions
masquerading as factual allegations will not suffice.”
Phila. Indem. Ins. Co. v. Youth Alive, Inc., 732
F.3d 645, 649 (6th Cir. 2013) (internal quotations omitted).
Factual Matters Outside the Pleadings
initial matter, Fuller argues that Defendants improperly rely
on factual matters outside the pleadings to support their
motion to dismiss. (D.N. 11, PageID # 106) See also
Rondigo, LLC v. Township of Richmond, 641 F.3d 673, 680
(6th Cir. 2011) (“Assessment of the facial sufficiency
of the complaint must ordinarily be undertaken without resort
to matters outside the pleadings.”). Fuller seems to
take issue with Defendants' contention that they neither
“supervise [n]or establish policies for medical
professionals who are employed by Correct Care
Solutions.” (D.N. 10-1, PageID # 92) Even if that
contention constitutes an assertion of fact outside the
pleadings, Fuller's concern is ultimately irrelevant. In
her complaint, Fuller alleges that her son's death
resulted from “customs and practices of Defendants that
were contrary to or expressly violated written
policies of Correct Care and/or the Jail.” (D.N. 1,
PageID # 9 (emphasis added)) Put differently, Fuller's
municipal and supervisory claims under § 1983 do not
depend on whether Louisville Metro and Bolton established
policies for Correct Care. See also Monell v. Dep't
of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978) (finding that a
municipality may be held ...