United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
E. STEELE SR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon Defendant Geo Group,
Inc.'s (Defendant Geo Group's) motion to dismiss
(Doc. 35, filed June 15, 2017). Plaintiff, an involuntarily
civilly committed resident of the Florida Civil Commitment
Center (“FCCC”) in Arcadia, Florida,
initiated this action by filing a complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Geo Group/Correct Care
Recovery Solutions, Kristen Kanner, Mike Carroll, Donald
Sawyer, Rebecca Jackson, and Christopher Catron (Doc. 1).
Plaintiff's original complaint is the operative complaint
before the Court.
reasons given in this Order, Defendant Geo Group's motion
is denied without prejudice to this defendant raising the
claim in a motion for summary judgment.
complaint, Plaintiff asserts that, on November 28, 2015, he
was assaulted by another resident of the FCCC, and during the
attack, the resident bit off a portion of his right earlobe
(Doc. 1 at 4). Plaintiff claims that there were no security
officers present to prevent the assault. Id.
Plaintiff asserts the following regarding Defendant Geo
Defendant Geo Group/Correct Care Recovery Solutions (CCS) was
at all times relevant to this action the private prison
corporation under contract with the Florida Department of
Children and Families to operate the Florida Civil Commitment
Center and was acting under color of State law. By failed
[sic] to protect the safety of Plaintiff who is under its
legal custody, GEO Group/CCS has violated Plaintiff's
rights under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S.
Constitution. GEO Group/CCS is sued for monetary damages.
(Doc. 1 at 4-5).
Correct Care Recovery Solutions, Christopher Catron, Rebecca
Jackson, and Donald Sawyer filed Answers and Affirmative
Defenses to the complaint (Doc. 34; Doc. 24). However,
Defendant Geo Group filed a motion to dismiss the claims
against it on the grounds that it was not operating the FCCC
on November 28, 2015-the date of the alleged attack-and that
it has no affiliation with Defendant Correct Care Recovery
Solutions (Doc. 35, filed June 15, 2017). Defendant Geo Group
notes that similarly named Geo Care, LLC operated the
facility until Defendant Correct Care took over in September
of 2014 and that Geo Group is “a separate entity from
CORRECT CARE.” Id. at 2.
response, Plaintiff asserts that “Defendant [Geo Group]
has failed to meet their burden of demonstrating that there
is no business connection between Geo Group, Inc. . . . and
Correct Care Recovery Solutions[.]” (Doc. 36).
Plaintiff asserts that Geo Group and Correct Care
“merged together in a contractual scheme with the
Florida Department of Children and Family Services to take
care for the full operations of the Florida Civil Commitment
Center; as a merger, both corporations shared the same
responsibilities and liabilities under the contractual
obligations during the incident in which Nelson was injured,
and therefore they are ‘joinder parties' to this
action.” Id. at 1-2.
Standard of Review
considering a motion to dismiss, this Court accepts as true
all allegations in the complaint and construes them in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff. Jackson v.
BellSouth Telecomms., 372 F.3d 1250, 1262-63 (11th Cir.
2004). Further, this Court favors the plaintiff with all
reasonable inferences from the allegations in the complaint.
Stephens v. Dep't of Health & Human
Servs., 901 F.2d 1571, 1573 (11th Cir. 1990) (“On
a motion to dismiss, the facts stated in [the] complaint and
all reasonable inferences therefrom are taken as
true.”). However, the Supreme Court explains that:
While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, 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. Factual allegations must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(internal citations and quotation marks omitted). Further,
courts are not “bound to accept as true a legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the Supreme
Court, referring to its earlier decision in Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, illustrated a two-pronged approach to
motions to dismiss. First, a reviewing court must determine
whether a Plaintiff's allegation is merely an unsupported
legal conclusion that is not entitled to an assumption of
truth. Next, the court must determine whether the