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Hall v. Phillips

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

January 7, 2020

MS. PHILLIPS, et al., Defendants.



         I. Status

         Plaintiff, Wendall Jermaine Hall, is proceeding on a pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1; Compl.) against the following individuals: Nurse Phillips, Nurse Polk, and Officer J. Johnson. Before the Court is Nurses Phillips and Polk's joint motion to dismiss the Complaint (Doc. 35; Motion). Plaintiff has responded (Doc. 46; Resp.). Accordingly, the motion is ripe for this Court's review.

         II. Motion Standard

         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). Additionally, the complaint allegations must be construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Gill as Next Friend of K.C.R. v. Judd, 941 F.3d 504, 511 (11th Cir. 2019). When a plaintiff proceeds pro se, the court must liberally construe the allegations. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Bingham v. Thomas, 654 F.3d 1171, 1175 (11th Cir. 2011). However, “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 680.

         Though detailed factual allegations are not required, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) demands “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. As such, a plaintiff may not rely on “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements.” Gill, 941 F.3d at 511 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Rather, the well-pled allegations must nudge the claim “across the line from conceivable to plausible.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A plaintiff must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id.

         III. Complaint Allegations[1]

         Plaintiff's claims arise out of conduct that occurred at the Reception and Medical Center (RMC). Compl. at 2. Plaintiff alleges that, at the relevant times, he had a valid medical pass to receive medical supplies, including catheters, for his urinary conditions. Id. at 14, 16. Beginning on about October 31, 2018, Nurses Phillips and Polk denied Plaintiff his catheter supplies. Id. at 13. Plaintiff asserts the denial of catheters results in a “worsening stricture in his penis that hinders or stops him from urinating, ” causing pain, bloating, difficulty walking, and other issues. Id.

         Plaintiff contends Nurses Phillips and Polk failed to provide him catheters in retaliation for Plaintiff filing grievances against them and because he had been disciplined for masturbating. Id. at 14. Plaintiff further alleges Nurses Phillips and Polk impermissibly refused to provide him medical supplies unless an officer escorted him to the medical supply room. Id. at 15, 18. In support of his Complaint, Plaintiff offers the affidavit of inmate Elder Williams. Id. at 23.[2] Inmate Williams avers that on October 31, 2018, he witnessed Nurse Phillips refuse to give Plaintiff catheter supplies because Plaintiff was not escorted by an officer. Id. at 24.

         Plaintiff asserts Defendants' actions amount to deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment, retaliation in violation of the First Amendment, and a denial of equal protection in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Id. at 19, 20, 21. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages from Defendants in their individual capacities, and injunctive relief from Defendants in their official capacities.[3] Id. at 12, 22.

         IV. Defendants' Motion

         Defendants seek dismissal on the following grounds: (1) Plaintiff is a three-strikes litigant who is barred from proceeding in forma pauperis under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g); (2) Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies; and (3) Plaintiff fails to state a claim for deliberate indifference and retaliation.[4] See Motion at 1. Defendants also assert they are entitled to qualified immunity. Id. at 10.

         V. Analysis & Conclusions

         A. Three Strikes

         This Court previously found Plaintiff alleged facts to invoke the imminent danger exception under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). See Order (Doc. 5). As such, Defendants' attorney's representation that the Court made no such finding, see Motion at 2, 7, is incorrect.

         B. ...

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