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De La Cruz v. Corizon, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division

May 4, 2017

ALFONSO A. DE LA CRUZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          BRIAN J. DAVIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. Status

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Corizon, LLC's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint (Motion) (Doc. 27). Plaintiff filed his Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Response) (Doc. 29). See Order (Doc. 12). Plaintiff is proceeding on a Second Amended Complaint (Complaint) (Doc. 26).

         II. Standard of Review

         In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept the factual allegations set forth in the complaint as true. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In addition, all reasonable inferences should be drawn in favor of the plaintiff. See Omar ex. rel. Cannon v. Lindsey, 334 F.3d 1246, 1247 (11th Cir. 2003) (per curiam). Nonetheless, the plaintiff must still meet some minimal pleading requirements. Jackson v. BellSouth Telecomm., 372 F.3d 1250, 1262-63 (11th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted). While "[s]pecific facts are not necessary[, ]" the complaint should "'give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Further, the plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556); see Miljkovic v. Shafritz & Dinkin, P.A., 791 F.3d 1291, 1297 (11th Cir. 2015) (citation and footnote omitted).

         A "plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement 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 (internal quotations omitted); see also Jackson, 372 F.3d at 1262 (explaining that "conclusory allegations, unwarranted deductions of facts or legal conclusions masquerading as facts will not prevent dismissal") (internal citation and quotations omitted). Indeed, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions[, ]" which simply "are not entitled to [an] assumption of truth." See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 680. Thus, in ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must determine whether the complaint contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face[.]'" Id. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

         III. Second Amended Complaint [1]

Plaintiff names Corizon, LLC (Corizon) as the only Defendant. Complaint at 3-4.[2] Plaintiff sues Defendant Corizon in its individual capacity. Id. at 5. Plaintiff asserts that Corizon was the medical provider for the Florida Department of Corrections [FDOC] that acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical need, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[3] Id. at 5-6.

         Plaintiff alleges that Corizon was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical needs in that Corizon failed to: respond appropriately to his serious medical need, a prostate problem. Id. at 6. He states that he has been suffering for the last four years and he has not been provided adequate treatment to remedy his prostate problem. Id. at 7.

         Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, including an immediate evaluation by a urologist followed by prompt treatment as recommended by the urologist. Id. at 9. He also seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, and such other relief as to which he may be entitled. Id. at 10.

         IV. Summary of the Arguments

         In the Motion, Defendant Corizon seeks dismissal of the Complaint as moot and pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Motion at 1. In doing so, Corizon asserts that: (1) Plaintiff's claim for injunctive relief is moot because he is no longer incarcerated at Franklin Correctional Institution (FCI) and Corizon is no longer the contracted health care provider for the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC), see Motion at 4, and (2) Plaintiff fails to state a claim against Corizon "when he does not identify an official Corizon policy of deliberate indifference or an unofficial Corizon custom or practice that was 'the moving force' behind the alleged constitutional violation." See Motion at 8.

         In response to Corizon's Motion, Plaintiff asserts that he has properly and sufficiently stated a claim of deliberate indifference as to Defendant Corizon based on his contention that Corizon was the medical agency contracted to provide medical treatment and in direct control of the health care protocol of the FDOC. See Response at 1. He states that Corizon is liable based on the factual allegations raised showing "Corizon's act of omission to provide adequate Medical care." Id.

         V. Law and Conclusions A. Failure to State a Claim

         In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that (1) the defendant deprived him of a right secured under the United States Constitution or federal law, and (2) such deprivation occurred under color of state law. Salvato v. Miley, 790 F.3d 1286, 1295 (11th Cir. 2015); Bingham v. Thomas, 654 F.3d 1171, 1175 (11th Cir. 2011) (per curiam) (citation omitted); Richardson v. Johnson, 598 F.3d 734, 737 (11th Cir. 2010) (per curiam) (citations omitted). To establish an Eighth Amendment violation, there are particular requirements that must be met. Significantly, the Eleventh Circuit addressed the requirements to establish an Eighth Amendment claim concerning the deprivation of medical care:

The Eighth Amendment's prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishments" protects a prisoner from "deliberate indifference to serious medical needs." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976). To state a claim of unconstitutionally inadequate medical treatment, a prisoner must establish "an objectively serious [medical] need, an objectively insufficient response to that need, subjective awareness of facts signaling the need, and an actual inference of ...

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