United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Pensacola Division
CALVIN E. BAKER, Plaintiff,
CORIZON HEALTH and DR. NICHOLAS DELGADO, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
ELIZABETH M. TIMOTHY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Calvin E. Baker (“Baker”), an inmate of the
Okaloosa County Jail proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis,
commenced this case by filing a complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 (ECF No. 1). Presently before the court is
Baker's Second Amended Complaint (ECF No. 25). The case
was referred to the undersigned for the issuance of all
preliminary orders and any recommendations to the district
court regarding dispositive matters. See N.D. Fla.
Loc. R. 72.2(C); see also 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). Upon consideration of
Baker's pleadings, the undersigned concludes he has
failed to state a plausible federal claim against Defendants.
Therefore, his federal claims should be dismissed, and the
court should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction
over his state law claims.
names two Defendants in his Second Amended Complaint: (1)
Corizon Health, a private company which contracts with
Okaloosa County to provide medical services to inmates of the
Okaloosa County Jail, and (2) Dr. Nicholas Delgado, an
employee of Corizon (ECF No. 25 at 1-2). Baker asserts
Eighth Amendment claims of deliberate indifference to his
need for medical treatment for granulomatosis with
polyangiitis (Wegener's disease). Baker also asserts
state law medical negligence/malpractice claims. Baker seeks
injunctive relief and monetary damages.
FAILURE TO STATE A FEDERAL CLAIM UNDER § 1983
Statutory Screening Standard
Baker is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis, the court
must dismiss this case if the court determines that the
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. The statutory language “tracks the
language of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), ”
therefore, dismissals for failure to state a claim are
governed by the same standard as Rule 12(b)(6). Mitchell
v. Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th Cir. 1997). The
allegations of the complaint are taken as true and construed
in the light most favorable to Baker. See Davis v. Monroe
Cnty. Bd. of Educ., 120 F.3d 1390, 1393 (11th Cir.
court must consider the operative pleading (in this case, the
Second Amended Complaint) in its entirety, and the court will
also consider facts included in Baker's initial Complaint
(ECF No. 1) and First Amended Complaint (ECF No. 15) where
those facts clarify the meaning of the allegations of the
Second Amended Complaint.
court will also consider other sources which courts
ordinarily examine when ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion, in
particular, documents attached to the complaint or
incorporated into the complaint by reference, and matters of
which a court may take judicial notice. See Tellabs, Inc.
v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322,
127 S.Ct. 2499, 168 L.Ed.2d 179 (2007); Saunders v.
Duke, 766 F.3d 1262, 1272 (11th Cir. 2014); Brooks
v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Fla., Inc., 116 F.3d
1364, 1369 (11th Cir. 1997) (“[W]here the plaintiff
refers to certain documents in the complaint and those
documents are central to the plaintiff's claim, then the
Court may consider the documents part of the pleadings for
purposes of Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal . . . .”). The
district court may also consider documents referenced in the
complaint, even if they are not physically attached, if the
documents' contents are alleged in a complaint and the
authenticity of the document is not subject to challenge, so
long as the documents meet the centrality requirement.
See Day v. Taylor, 400 F.3d 1272, 1276 (11th Cir.
2005); see also, e.g., Basson v. Mortg. Elec.
Reg. Sys., Inc., 741 Fed.Appx. 770, 771 (11th Cir. 2018)
(“The district court may also consider documents
referenced in the complaint, even if they are not physically
attached, if the documents are (1) central to the complaint
and (2) no party questions their authenticity.”)
(unpublished but recognized as persuasive authority).
survive statutory screening under §§
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1), “a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quotation marks and
citation omitted). A claim is plausible on its face where
“the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.
(citation omitted). Plausibility means “more than a
sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. “Where a complaint
pleads facts that are merely consistent with a
defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.”
Id. (quotation marks and citation omitted).
determination of whether a complaint states a plausible claim
for relief is “a context-specific task that requires
the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679
(citation omitted). The court is “not bound to accept
as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.” Id. at 678 (quotation marks and
citation omitted). And “bare assertions” that
“amount to nothing more than a “formulaic
recitation of the elements” of a claim “are
conclusory and not entitled to be assumed true.”
Id. at 681 (quotation marks and citation omitted).
Pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions,
are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal
conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they
must be supported by factual allegations. When there are
well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their
veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise
to an entitlement to relief.
Id. at 679.
Baker's Factual Allegations
noted above, the court includes factual allegations from
Baker's Second Amended Complaint (see ECF No. 25
at 3-7) and any clarifying facts included in his initial and
First Amended Complaints (ECF Nos. 1, 15). The court also
includes facts from the medical records submitted by Baker
with his motion for temporary restraining order
(“TRO”) (ECF No. 26), because those documents are
referenced in the Second Amended Complaint, they are central
to the complaint, and there can be no question as to their
authenticity. See, e.g., Moore v. Judicial Inquiry
Comm'n of the State of Ala., 200 F.Supp.3d 1328,
1331 n.3 (M.D. Ala. 2016) (considering, at motion to dismiss
stage, documents cited in defendants' motion to dismiss
and plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction);
see also, e.g., Moragas v. Sch. Bd. Of Miami-Dade
Cnty., No. 19021517-Civ-Scola, 2019 WL 3252229, at *1
n.2 (S.D. Fla. July 19, 2019) (considering, at motion to
dismiss stage, letter attached to plaintiff's motion for
TRO, because it was referenced in and central to the
complaint, and its authenticity was not in dispute) (citing
Basson, 741 Fed.Appx. at 771)).
began experiencing problems with his vision in September of
2018 (Second Amended Complaint at 3). He was seen by
Defendant Dr. Delgado, who advised him he would be referred
to an eye specialist (see Second Amended Complaint
at 3; First Amended Complaint at 5). Approximately three
weeks later, Baker was seen by Dr. Planchard at the Emerald
Coast Eye Institute (First Amended Complaint at 5). Baker
received several diagnostic tests, including blood tests, and
was diagnosed with granulomatosis with polyangiitis
(Wegener's) and ...