United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
EDIL C. BETANCOURT, Plaintiff,
DIRECTOR OF DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS, OFFICER FRANCO, OFFICER NIEVES, C. MUNIZ, OSCEOLA COUNTY OF CORRECTIONS, OSCEOLA COUNTY MEDICAL DEPARTMENT, OSCEOLA COUNTY MAINTENANCE, JAMIE DOW and H. JOHN DOW, Defendants.
DALTON JR. United States District Judge
case is before the Court on the following matters:
Plaintiff has filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 24) within the
time provided in the Court's February 22, 2017 Order
(Doc. 23) granting in part Plaintiff's motion to
reconsider the dismissal of this case. Therefore, the Order
of Dismissal without Prejudice (Doc. 10) and Judgment (Doc.
11) are VACATED.
Clerk of Court is directed to reopen this case.
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Doc. 24) fails to set
forth his claims adequately and fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted as to some claims. Consequently,
as discussed infra, the Court will dismiss those
claims on which Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted and provide Plaintiff a final
opportunity to amend his complaint in accordance with this
Plaintiff asserts that Defendants Osceola County of
Corrections, Osceola County Maintenance, and the Director of
DOC negligently installed the handicap shower seat that
caused him to fall and injure his right leg. (Id. at
8, 10-12, 17). Plaintiff further generally asserts that all
Defendants were deliberately indifferent to the unsafe
condition in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments. (Id. at 15).
establish an Eighth Amendment violation based on prison
conditions, a prisoner must demonstrate two components.
Chandler v. Crosby, 379 F.3d 1278, 1289 (11th Cir.
2004). A prisoner must first prove an “objective
component, ” namely that the condition he complains of
is sufficiently serious to violate the Eighth Amendment.
Id. (citing Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S.
1, 8 (1992). “The challenged condition must be
‘extreme.'” Id. (quoting
Hudson, 503 U.S. at 9). At a minimum, the prisoner
must “show that a condition of his confinement pose[s]
an unreasonable risk of serious damage to his future
health' or safety.” Id. (quoting
Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 35 (1993)).
the Eighth Amendment requires more than a scientific and
statistical inquiry into the seriousness of the potential
harm and the likelihood that such injury to health will
actually be caused by exposure to [the challenged condition
of confinement]. It also requires a court to assess whether
society considers the risk that the prisoner complains of to
be so grave that it violates contemporary standards of
decency to expose anyone unwillingly to such a risk. In other
words, the prisoner must show that the risk of which he
complains is not one that today's society chooses to
Helling, 509 U.S. at 36. The second part of the
analysis involves a “subjective component:”
[T]he prisoner must show that the defendant prison officials
“acted with a sufficiently culpable state of
mind” with regard to the condition at issue.
Hudson, 503 U.S. at 8, 112 S.Ct. at 999 (marks and
citation omitted). The proper standard is that of deliberate
indifference. Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 303,
111 S.Ct. 2321, 2327, 115 L.Ed.2d 271 (1991). Negligence does
not suffice to satisfy this standard, id. at 305,
111 S.Ct. at 2328, but a prisoner need not show that the
prison official acted with “the very purpose of causing
harm or with knowledge that harm [would] result, ”
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 835, 114 S.Ct.
1970, 1978, 128 L.Ed.2d 811 (1994).
Chandler, 379 F.3d at 1289. Therefore, the
subjective component “requires a prisoner to prove the
prison official acted with ‘deliberate
indifference' in disregarding that risk by showing that
an official knew the inmate faced a ‘substantial risk
of serious harm' and with such knowledge, disregarded
that risk by failing to take reasonable measures to abate
it.” Trantham v. Thomas, No. 2:12-CV-118-TMH,
2014 WL 4386437, at *5 (M.D. Ala. Aug. 4, 2014) (quoting
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834, 837).
has failed to state a claim for violation of the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendment premised on the negligent/improper
installation and maintenance of a handicap shower seat.
Plaintiff has not demonstrated that Defendants acted with
deliberate indifference. Pursuant to Plaintiff's own
allegations, Defendants merely were negligent in the
installation and maintenance of the shower seat. Negligence
does not qualify as deliberate indifference. Furthermore,
Plaintiff has not alleged that Defendants knew he faced a
serious risk of harm from the shower seat and disregarded
that risk by failing to take reasonable measures to repair
it. Consequently, Plaintiff may not proceed on this claim,
and it is dismissed.
addition, to bring a viable § 1983 action, the defendant
must be an entity subject to being sued. Dean v.
Barber, 951 F.2d 1210, 1214 (11th Cir. 1992). The
capacity of a governmental corporation to be sued in federal
court is governed by the law of the state in which the
district court is located. Dean, 951 F.2d at 1214. A
correctional facility or jail is not a proper defendant in a
case brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Lewers v.
Pinnellas County Jail, No. 8:09-cv-572-T-30TBM, 2009 WL
3053702, * 3 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 18, 2009) (“[C]ounty
jails are not legal entities amenable to suit.”).
Therefore, the Osceola County of Corrections must be
dismissed with prejudice as a defendant pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). See Marsden v. Federal Bureau
of Prisons, 856 F.Supp. 832, 836 (S.D.N.Y. 1994);
Barber, 951 F.2d at 1214 (noting that sheriff's
departments and police departments are not legal entities
subject to suit under § 1983).
the Osceola County Medical Department and Osceola County
Maintenance are part of the Osceola County Corrections
Department and are not legal entities capable of being sued
under § 1983. See, e.g., Hooten v. Fowlkes, No.
5:11-CV-115-CAR-CHW, 2011 WL 3629008, at *1 (M.D. Ga. Aug.
17, 2011) (“A prisons medical department is not a
person or an entity subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. §
1983.”); Murphy v. Clarke County Jail, No.
09-0660-WS-C, 2010 WL 1487872, at * 2 (S.D. Ala. 2010)
(recognizing that the Clarke County Jail's “Nurses
Department (or medical staff)” and “Correction
Officers” were not entities subject to being sued, nor
are they are “persons” for § 1983 purposes);
Simrin v. Correctional Med. Servs., No. Civ. 05-2223
RBK, 2006 WL 469677, at *3-*4 (D.N.J. 2006) (collecting cases
holding that a ...