United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
GREGORY A. PRESNELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Orange
County's Motion to Dismiss Count I of the Second Amended
Complaint (Doc. 54) and the Plaintiff's Response (Doc.
Plaintiffs brought the instant case following the death of
the Decedent, which occurred during his incarceration with
Orange County Corrections. An Autopsy Report concluded that
the manner of his death was homicide, due to his
incarceration, and that the cause of death was “septic
shock complicating infected dog bite wounds” with HIV
as a contributory factor. Doc. 47 ¶ 41. The Decedent
suffered multiple dog bites during his arrest on August 6,
2015. Id. ¶ 21.
September 18, 2017, the Plaintiffs filed the Amended
Complaint. Doc. 29. Count I alleged a § 1983 claim
against Orange County, Count II alleged a § 1983 claim
against Buck, Count III alleged a § 1983 claim against
Evans, Count IV alleged a § 1983 claim against
Clairmont, Count V alleged a § 1983 claim against
Gonzalez, Count VI alleged a § 1983 claim against
Harter, and Count VII alleged a medical malpractice claim
against Orange County.
Clairmont and Evans each filed individual motions to dismiss
on October 2, 2017. Docs. 31, 32. That same day, Defendants
Orange County, Buck, Gonzalez, and Harter filed a collective
motion to dismiss. Doc. 33. The Court granted Orange
County's Motion to Dismiss, but denied the other Motions
to Dismiss. Doc. 44. On January 18, 2018, the Plaintiffs
filed the Second Amended Complaint. Doc. 47. Orange County
filed the Motion to Dismiss Count I of the Second Amended
Complaint on February 8, 2018. Doc. 54. The Plaintiffs filed
the Response in Opposition on February 20, 2018. Doc. 55.
Standard of Review
ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must view the
complaint in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff,
see, e.g., Jackson v. Okaloosa County, Fla., 21 F.3d
1531, 1534 (11th Cir. 1994), and must limit its consideration
to the pleadings and any exhibits attached thereto.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(c); see also GSW, Inc. v.
Long County, Ga., 999 F.2d 1508, 1510 (11th Cir. 1993).
The Court will liberally construe the complaint's
allegations in the Plaintiff's favor. See Jenkins v.
McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969). However,
“conclusory allegations, unwarranted factual deductions
or legal conclusions masquerading as facts will not prevent
dismissal.” Davila v. Delta Air Lines, Inc.,
326 F.3d 1183, 1185 (11th Cir. 2003).
reviewing a complaint on a motion to dismiss under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), “courts must be
mindful that the Federal Rules require only that the
complaint contain ‘a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'
” U.S. v. Baxter Intern., Inc., 345 F.3d 866,
880 (11th Cir. 2003) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)). This is a
liberal pleading requirement, one that does not require a
plaintiff to plead with particularity every element of a
cause of action. Roe v. Aware Woman Ctr. for Choice,
Inc., 253 F.3d 678, 683 (11th Cir. 2001). However, a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds for his or
her entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do. Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554-555 (2007). The
complaint's factual allegations “must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ”
id. at 555, and cross “the line from
conceivable to plausible.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 680 (2009).
of the Second Amended Complaint seeks relief against Orange
County for violation of § 1983. In Monell v. Dept.
of Soc. Servs. of New York, the Supreme Court rejected
the proposition that municipalities can be held liable under
the doctrine of respondeat superior. 436 U.S. 658,
694 (1978). Instead, a plaintiff is required to show that the
Constitutional injury alleged was the result of a custom or
policy. Id. Where no stated policy exists, a
plaintiff must show that there was a pattern of deliberate
indifference that is “so widespread as to have
the force of law.” Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs of
Bryan Cnty v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 404 (1997); see
also Craig v. Floyd Cnty., 643 F.3d 1306, 1310-11 (11th
Cir. 2011). Municipal liability may be based on a claim of
inadequate training where “a municipality's failure
to train its employees in a relevant respect evidences a
deliberate indifference to the rights of its inhabitants such
that the failure to train can be properly thought of as a
city policy or custom that is actionable under §
1983.” Albra v. City of Ft. Lauderdale, 232
Fed.Appx. 885, 890 (11th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted).
Plaintiffs allege that the Decedent's death was the
result of “an unwritten policy of allowing
documentation to be minimized to twice a week unless there
was a change in the patient's medical condition.”
Doc. 47 ¶ 69. Additionally, the Plaintiffs aver that the
“facility was medically understaffed, presumably due to
budgetary concerns.” See Id. However, because
there is no stated policy, the Plaintiffs would need to
plausibly allege that there was a widespread pattern of
deliberate indifference in order for Count I to survive the
Motion to Dismiss. The Plaintiffs allege that Orange County
knew of prior similar incidents that resulted in the death of
OCC detainees, and that Orange County consciously failed to
properly train its medical staff to avoid repeated incidents.
Doc. 47 ¶ 59. Instead of training its staff properly,
the Plaintiffs aver, Orange County “routinely
acquiesced to its medical staff not properly doing rounds,
not properly documenting a detainee's medical conditions,
[and] not properly supervising and administering medical
orders.” Id. ¶ 60.
factual support for their claims, the Plaintiffs cite three
different deaths and one serious injury during the past
thirty years that involved a failure to provide medical
treatment to detainees with declining medical conditions. The
most recent of these incidents occurred in October of 2000.
Doc. 47 ¶ 61. The Plaintiffs claim that these deaths
“put Orange County on notice of the need for more
adequate training of its medical staff when dealing with
inmates or detainees in medical or mental decline.”
Id. ¶ 60. Individually, these incidents are
troubling, but they are insufficient to plausibly allege a
widespread pattern of deliberate indifference that was
ongoing at the time of the Decedent's death. Accordingly,
the Plaintiff has not plausibly pled a claim for municipal
liability under § 1983.