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Bruin v. White

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division

October 2, 2019

BRANDON R. BRUIN PLAINTIFF
v.
WARDEN RANDY WHITE et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          Thomas B. Russell, Senior United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court upon a motion by Defendant, Melissa Edmonds, to dismiss Plaintiff's claims against her. (DN 122). Plaintiff, Brandon R. Bruin, has not responded and the time to do so has passed. Fully briefed, this motion is ripe for review and for the following reasons, it is GRANTED.

         Background

         PLAINTIFF is a convicted prisoner currently incarcerated at the Lee Adjustment Center. His claims in this action, however, concern his incarceration at the Kentucky State Penitentiary (“KSP”). Plaintiff filed a series of complaints, supplemental complaints, and amendments to complaints whereby he raises numerous claims against more than forty defendants. Several of these defendants have been terminated from the action. Plaintiff's claims generally arise from seven separate events: (1) the cutting of his dreadlocks; (2) being assaulted by another inmate; (3) the denial of a “Vegan/Ital” diet; (4) excessive force during a cell extraction; (5) allegedly deficient medical care regarding high blood pressure, headaches, and numbness; (6) claims arising from Plaintiff's fasting and hunger strike; and (7) alleged interference with Plaintiff's access to the courts and medical records.

         On initial review (DN 48) of the complaint (DN 1) pursuant to § 1915A, the Court allowed the following claims to continue: (1) Plaintiff's First Amendment free-exercise and Fourteenth Amendment due-process and equal-protection claims arising out of the May 2016 cutting of his dreadlocks and refusal to allow Plaintiff to send the cut dreadlocks home against Defendants Charles Crick, Roger Mitchell, James Smith, James R. Beeler, and Randy White in their official capacities for injunctive relief and in their individual capacities for damages and injunctive relief; and (2) Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment failure-to-protect claim arising out of an assault by another inmate in June 2016 against Defendants Bruce Von Dewingelo, Jill Roberts, and Micah Melton in their individual capacities for damages.

         On initial review (DN 97) of Plaintiff's first wave of amended and supplemental complaints (DNs 20, 23, & 26), the Court allowed the following claims to continue: (1) the First Amendment free-exercise and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act claims regarding denial of a “Vegan/Ital Diet” against Defendants Melton, White, Terry Griffith, and Charles “Aaron” Davis in their official capacities for injunctive relief and in their individual capacities for damages and injunctive relief; (2) the First Amendment free-exercise claim regarding the cutting of dreadlocks against Defendant John Gibbs in his official capacity for injunctive relief and in his individual capacity for damages and injunctive relief and the RLUIPA claim regarding the cutting of dreadlocks against Defendants Charles Crick, Mitchell, James Smith, Beeler, White, Belt, Skyla Grief, Melton, Griffith, and Gibbs in their official capacities for injunctive relief and in their individual capacities for damages and injunctive relief; (3) the Eighth Amendment excessive-force claims regarding the July 30/August 1, 2016 cell extraction against Defendants Jonathan Ruch and Griffith in their individual capacities for damages; and (4) the Eighth Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need regarding Plaintiff's claims of untreated high blood pressure, migraine headaches, loss of vision, tingling in limbs/fingers/toes, and episodes of loss of consciousness against Defendants Davis, Karen Vickery, and Shastine Tangilag in their individual capacities for damages and injunctive relief.

         On initial review (DN 112) of Plaintiff's second wave of amended and supplemental complaints (DNs 34, 54, 57, & 89) this Court allowed the following claims to continue: (1) the First Amendment free-exercise claim regarding the May 2016 cutting of dreadlocks against Defendant Duncan; (2) the various First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment claims and state-law medical negligence claims arising from a “Religious Fast” Plaintiff began on December 14, 2016, which turned into a hunger strike requiring multiple cell extractions for blood work and eventual forced hydration in January 2017 against Defendants White, Ramey, Neely, Raines, Bruce Bauer, Grief, Burkett, Edmonds, Mitchell, James Smith, Michael Alexander, Inglish, Ruch, Corley, Lauren N. Hawkins, Rodriquez, Coombs, Hope, Beeler, and Von Dewingelo; and (3) the Eighth Amendment excessive-force claims against Defendants Swank and DeBoe, the Eighth Amendment failure-to-protect claim against Defendant Grief, the First Amendment free-exercise claim against Defendants Coombs and Rodriquez, and the retaliation claims against Defendants Rodriquez, Coombs, DeBoe, Swank, and Grief.

         Defendant Edmonds now moves the Court to dismiss all claims against her and terminate her from this action. For the following reasons, her motion is GRANTED.

         Legal Standard

         In a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), “[t]he defendant has the burden of showing that the plaintiff has failed to state a claim for relief.” Directv, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Carver v. Bunch, 946 F.2d 451, 454-55 (6th Cir. 1991)). A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In order to survive a motion to dismiss under Civil Rule 12(b)(6), a party must "plead enough factual matter to raise a 'plausible' inference of wrongdoing." 16630 Southfield Ltd. P'ship v. Flagstar Bank, F.S.B., 727 F.3d 502, 504 (6th Cir. 2013) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)). A claim becomes plausible "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 678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). Should the well-pleaded facts support no "more than the mere possibility of misconduct," then dismissal is warranted. Id. at 679. The Court may grant a motion to dismiss "only if, after drawing all reasonable inferences from the allegations in the complaint in favor of the plaintiff, the complaint still fails to allege a plausible theory of relief." Garceau v. City of Flint, 572 Fed.Appx. 369, 371 (6th Cir. 2014) (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-79).

         Discussion

         In this action, Plaintiff has filed a complaint and numerous amended and supplemental complaints. See, e.g., (DN 1); (DN 20); (DN 23); (DN 26); (DN 34); (DN 54); (DN 57); (DN 89). The only pleading concerning Defendant Edmonds, however, is (DN 57). Plaintiff's allegations against Defendant Edmonds are contained in the following passage:

Furthermore, Plaintiff's cell is directly across from the Medical Personnel dining area, were all C.C.S Defendants were dining prior to attempting to allegedly draw blood from Plaintiff. After Plaintiff was secured in cell C.C.C. (All) Defendants congregated in the dining room and Defendant, Nancy Neely abrutly spoke out, “I should have tried his jugular.” And all laughed in unison, ie., Neely, Bauer, Raines, Ramey and Edmonds.
On January 27, 2017 at appr'x 2:45 pm non-defendant officer Matthew Dinovo contacted Defendant, Roger Mitchell via telephone in records to an envelope found in the officers work desk in Medical addressed to Plaintiff, addressee “K.S.P Medical Records” Defendant Roger Mitchell informed Officer, ...

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