United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. STEELE, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
initiated this action on July 6, 2016 by filing a complaint
against Defendants Dayton Gaston, Miguel Huapilla, Joseph
Peaks, and Sheriff Mike Scott raising both civil rights and
state law claims based upon injuries he received while
incarcerated at the Lee County Jail (Doc. 1). The defendants
filed a motion to dismiss the complaint (Doc. 15).
Thereafter, Plaintiff filed the amended complaint before the
Court (Doc. 18). The following are currently under
Defendant Sheriff Mike Scott's Motion to Dismiss Count
Five of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Doc. 20, filed
August 24, 2016); and
Plaintiff's Response in Opposition to Defendant
Scott's Motion to Dismiss Count Five of Plaintiff's
Amended Complaint (Doc. 22, filed September 7, 2016).
reasons set forth in this Order, Defendant Scott's Motion
to Dismiss Count Five of the amended complaint is denied.
Because Plaintiff filed an amended complaint, the
defendants' motion to dismiss the original complaint
(Doc. 15) is denied as moot. See Lowery v. Ala. Power
Co., 483 F.3d 1184, 1219 (11th Cir. 2007) (“[A]n
amended complaint supersedes the initial complaint and
becomes the operative pleading in the case.”).
about September 12, 2014, Plaintiff was arrested and
incarcerated in the Lee County Jail (Doc. 18 at ¶ 15).
On September 24, 2014, Plaintiff was relocated from one
portion of the jail to Dormitory 5 South (D5S), a specialized
housing unit typically used to house inmates with known
mental health issues. Id. at ¶ 20. D5S
contained approximately eight to ten nine-foot-square cells
with glass walls and a glass door with a center food tray
slot. Id. at ¶¶ 27-29. Each cell faced a
central observation desk. Id. at ¶ 30.
Gaston and Huapilla escorted Plaintiff to D5S, and Defendant
Peaks was there when they arrived (Doc. 18 at 31-33).
Plaintiff was ordered to change into a thin Velcro jumpsuit
with nothing underneath-the typical uniform of a direct
observation unit. Id. at ¶ 34. Plaintiff
observed another inmate (“Inmate Doe”), naked in
one of the direct observation cells. Id. at ¶
35. Inmate Doe was agitated and defiant and did not comply
with the orders of Defendant Peaks. Id. at ¶
37. Inmate Doe appeared to have orange residue on his body,
and Plaintiff could smell pepper spray in the air.
Id. at ¶ 39. Plaintiff expressed concern about
being placed into Inmate Doe's cell due to Doe's
agitated and defiant state. Id. at ¶ 40.
However, Defendant Peaks told Plaintiff to be quiet and
directed him into Doe's cell. Id. at
¶¶ 41-42. At the time, Plaintiff had not been
diagnosed with mental illness. Id. at ¶ 43.
Inmate Doe was six feet tall and weighed 250 pounds, whereas
Plaintiff weighed only 130 pounds. Id.at
¶¶ 46-47. There was at least one unoccupied cell in
D5S. Id. at ¶ 48.
sat on a mattress on the floor of the cell, but within
moments, Inmate Doe began taunting and challenging him to a
fight (Doc. 18 at ¶¶ 50-51). Plaintiff banged on
the glass window to summon help, and Defendant Huapilla told
Plaintiff to ignore Inmate Doe. Id.at ¶¶
52-53. Defendant Huapilla told Plaintiff that he and the
other deputies would “handle it” if Inmate Doe
continued. Id. at ¶ 53. Inmate Doe persisted,
and hit Plaintiff with his mattress. Id. at ¶
55. Plaintiff was again rebuffed by Defendant Huapilla.
Id. at ¶¶ 55-56.
Doe continued to hit Plaintiff with his mattress, ramble
incoherently, and challenged him to fight (Doc. 19 at ¶
57). Defendant Huapilla told Inmate Doe to Stop, but he
continued to harass and batter Plaintiff. Id. at
¶¶ 58-59. Defendant Huapilla then sprayed pepper
spray into the cell at Inmate Doe while Plaintiff was still
inside. Id. at ¶ 61. Instead of ceasing his
aggressive conduct, Inmate Doe became enraged and began
striking Plaintiff. Id. at ¶ 63-64. Defendant
Huapilla then fogged the cell with pepper spray. Id.
at ¶ 65.
Doe grabbed Plaintiff and placed him in a choke hold (Doc. 19
at ¶ 67). No defendant attempted to enter the cell to
stop the attack. Id. at ¶ 68. Instead,
Defendant Huapilla attempted to use a taser on Inmate Doe,
firing through the food tray slot. Id. at ¶ 69.
The taser caused Inmate Doe to increase his violence, and he
began striking Plaintiff with closed fists. Id.
Defendant Huapilla tried using the taser again. Id.
at ¶ 70.
Plaintiff was able to escape Inmate Doe's grasp (Doc. 18
at ¶ 71). Defendant Huapilla then ordered Plaintiff to
go to the cell door, place his hands behind his back, and put
his hands through the food tray slot. Id. at ¶
72. Plaintiff complied, and Defendant Huapilla handcuffed
Plaintiff while he was still inside the cell with Inmate Doe;
however, Defendant Huapilla did not open the cell door to
remove Plaintiff from the cell. Id. at ¶ 74. At
that point, Inmate Doe lunged at Plaintiff who was still
handcuffed. Id. at ¶ 77. Inmate Doe grabbed
Plaintiff's testicles and began forcefully pulling and
tearing Plaintiff's scrotum. Id. at ¶ 78.
Plaintiff could not protect himself. Id. at ¶
defendant or any other corrections officer made an effort to
enter the cell (Doc. 18 at ¶ 80). Instead Defendant
Huapilla attempted to use pepper spray again. Id.
When that was unsuccessful, Defendant again Huapilla tried to
use his taser against Inmate Doe. Id. at ¶ 82.
When that did not work, deputies entered the cell to restrain
Inmate Doe. Id. at ¶ 83. However, by that time,
Inmate Doe had ripped ...