United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
LOUISE W. FLANAGAN, District Judge.
This matter comes before the court on the motion to dismiss (DE 29) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) filed by defendants Superintendent Robert Jones ("Jones"), Food Service Manager Melvin Reid ("Reid"), Food Service Manager Agnes Golden ("Golden"), Food Service Officer Margaret Spear ("Spear"), and Maintenance Manager Michael Cathrell ("Cathrell"). The issues raised have been fully briefed and are ripe for adjudication. For the following reasons, the court grants defendants' motion.
On April 18, 2012, plaintiff filed this action pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his medical needs and prison conditions in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In support of his complaint, plaintiff, a state inmate, makes the following allegations.
On December 28, 2010 on or about 1330 I was preparing Jello in the kitchen using the tilt fryer. I was transporting a pan of Jello [to] a rack that was nearby when a rat darted from under the tilt fryer in front of me and startled me. I took a step back and my foot went into a hole in the floor which caused me to lose my balance and spilling hot Jello on my leg and falling and hurting my lower back. I was helped up by two other inmate kitchen workers, and I went to the mop room and hosed down my left leg because it was burning. I reported to food service officer Margaret Spear that I burned my leg and hurt my back and told her how it happened. I was put in a wheel chair and taken to medical with c/o James escorting me....
Please note that kitchen floor was damaged with floor tiles missing creating a hole in the floor. I was never told I was working in a dangerous area and to watch my step, there was no floor signs or any other kind of sign to keep employees from working in any dangerous areas of the kitchen. There was no floor mats or anything to prevent a[n] accident from occurring. I worked in the kitchen a lil (sic) over two months and the floors were damaged at the time and the kitchen was infested with rodents.
Compl. pp. 6-7.
On April 8, 2013, defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, which was fully briefed. In plaintiff's response to defendants' motion to dismiss, plaintiff "admits that he has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted regarding deliberate indifference to serious medical needs against the named defendants." Pl's Resp. p. 5.
A. Voluntary Dismissal
Plaintiff states that he no longer wishes to pursue his Eighth Amendment claim alleging defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. An action may be dismissed voluntarily by plaintiff without order of the court by filing a notice of dismissal at any time before service by the adverse party of an answer or a motion for summary judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(1). Otherwise an action shall not be dismissed on the plaintiff's request except upon an order of the court. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(2). At this point, defendants have not filed an answer or a motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, plaintiff's motion to voluntarily dismiss his Eighth Amendment claim alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1) is GRANTED.
B. Motion to Dismiss
1. Standard of Review
A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) determines only whether a claim is stated; "it does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Republican Party v. Martin , 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992). A claim is stated if the complaint contains "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 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). In evaluating whether a claim is stated, "[the] court accepts all well-pled facts as true and construes these facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, " but does not consider "legal conclusions, elements of a cause of action, ... bare assertions devoid of further factual enhancement[, ]... unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments." Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd. v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc. , 591 F.3d 250, 255 (4th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted). In other words, this plausibility ...