United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER comes before the Court on Motions to Dismiss filed by
Defendants Frank E. Rinaldo, Jr., (Doc. No. 23), and Melissa
Quinn, (Doc. No. 34), as well as Plaintiff's Motion to
Amend Complaint, (Doc No. 50).
Plaintiff has filed a civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 addressing events that allegedly occurred at the
Catawba Valley Medical Center (“CVMC”), Alexander
C.I., Central Prison, and Albemarle C.I. The Complaint passed
initial review against Defendants including Frank E. Rinaldo,
Jr., and “FNU Quinn” whom NCDPS identified as
Melissa Quinn. (Doc. Nos. 8, 16). Motions to Dismiss filed by
Defendants Rinaldo and Quinn, and a Motion to Amend with an
attached proposed Amended Complaint are presenting before the
Court for review.
the Complaint liberally and accepting the allegations as
true, NCDPS correctional officers transported Plaintiff to
CVMC on September 23, 2015, for scheduled back surgery. CVMC
nurses looked at Plaintiff's tattoo during preoperative
procedures and, before surgery, gave Plaintiff medication
ordered by CVMC doctor McFarland. Plaintiff was then pushed
into what appeared to be a laundry room while the NCDPS
officers were led away, leaving Plaintiff unattended by
prison staff. Defendant Rinaldo, a CVMC anesthesiologist, and
McFarland then allegedly beat and sexually assaulted
Plaintiff because they apparently believed that
Plaintiff's tattoo was a memorial to the women he had
raped. Plaintiff was unable to defend himself because of the
medication he had been given. This allegedly happened within
the presence of at least one CVMC nurse. The attack caused
Plaintiff excruciating pain and left him impotent,
incontinent, and with painful injuries to his leg, foot,
back, chest, and neck.
Defendant Rinaldo's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 23)
Rinaldo argues that the alleged facts do not show that
Rinaldo was acting under color of law, and therefore,
Plaintiff has failed to state a claim under § 1983. The
§ 1983 claims, and the related North Carolina claims,
should be dismissed with prejudice.
alleges that Rinaldo was employed as an anesthesiologist at
CVMC at the relevant times, and Plaintiff does not allege
that Rinaldo was a state-employed medical provider or state
correctional officer. Although Rinaldo might be seen as
acting under state law while medically treating Plaintiff and
could be liable for deliberate indifference to a serious
medical need. However, Plaintiff's excessive force claim
is separate from any medical treatment and was outside the
scope of any duty delegated by the State. The State
delegated, at most, its duty to provide medical care, so
Rinaldo was not acting under color of state law when he
allegedly assaulted Plaintiff. Rinaldo argues that this
analysis also applies to McFarland and Nurse Jane Doe 2
because they are private medical employees of medical
providers, not the state Department of Corrections.
Plaintiff's Responses & Motion to Amend (Doc. Nos.
49, 50, 51)
was informed of his right to respond to the Motion to Dismiss
and cautioned him that the failure to respond might result in
Defendant being granted the relief he seeks. (Doc. No. 25).
Plaintiff filed a Response which repeats the factual
allegations set forth in the Complaint and argues that he has
raised a genuine issue of material fact that support judgment
in his favor. Plaintiff further argues that McFarland and
Rinaldo were under contract to provide medical services to
NCDPS and that he should be allowed to amend his Complaint
and that his claims against Rinaldo and McFarland should be
allowed to proceed under a deliberate indifference theory and
that the Court should exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
his North Carolina claims.
further argues that he should be permitted to amend his
Complaint as a matter of course.
Defendant Rinaldo's Reply (Doc. No. 57)
Rinaldo argues that a privately employed individual is only a
state actor if he is acting for the state for an explicit
purpose. Plaintiff fails to show how a private medical care
provider is a state actor on an excessive force claim. The
state does not delegate to a private medical care provider
all of its duties when it delegates the duty to provide
adequate medical care. Plaintiff's new claim in the
Amended Complaint does not add any factual allegations in
response to the Motion to Dismiss or in his Motion to Amend;
he conclusively states that the alleged assault constitutes
deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. This does
not satisfy the well-pleaded complaint requirements. The
allegations meet the frivolity standard for assault and
excessive force, not deliberate indifference. ...