United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Rhonda
Jolley, RN's, Pre-Answer Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Complaint. [Doc. 20].
Plaintiff Ricky Hobart Parsons is an inmate of the State of
North Carolina, currently incarcerated at Central Prison in
Raleigh, North Carolina. Plaintiff filed this action on
October 3, 2018, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming as
Defendants: (1) FNU Beaver, identified as the Superintendent
of Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville, North
Carolina; (2) FNU Dye, identified as the Assistant
Superintendent at Alexander; (3) FNU Murray, identified as an
Assistant Unit Manager at Alexander; (4) FNU Padgett,
identified as an evening shift sergeant at Alexander; (5) FNU
Hensley, identified as an evening shift correctional officer
at Alexander; (6) FNU Jolley, identified as an evening shift
registered nurse at Alexander; (7) FNU Hatch, identified as
an evening shift registered nurse at Alexander; (8) FNU
Gaberial, identified as a first shift nurse practitioner at
Alexander; and (9) FNU Arnie, identified as a first shift
nurse practitioner at Alexander. Plaintiff brings claims
against certain Defendants for deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs in violation of his Eighth Amendment
rights and against other Defendants for denying his First
Amendment right of access to the courts.
sues Defendant Jolley, who was a nurse at Alexander at all
relevant times, in her individual and official capacities.
[Doc. 1 at 6]. As to Defendant Jolley in particular,
Plaintiff alleges the following: At approximately 8:30 p.m.
on May 30, 2017, he was in his room at Alexander.
[Id. at 13, 18]. Plaintiff began experiencing
“acute chest pains raidiating [sic] into [his]
left arm and lower jaw.” [Id. at 18].
Plaintiff reported to the first-floor correctional officer
that he was having chest pains and needed to declare a
medical emergency. The officer told the Plaintiff to sit down
in the day room while the officer went to inform a nurse.
Approximately two minutes later, the officer returned and
took Plaintiff to the treatment room on Blue Unit. Plaintiff
was seen by Defendant Jolley, a registered nurse. Defendant
Jolley asked Plaintiff to describe the pain. Plaintiff told
her it was “acute throbbing pressure in the left side
of [his] chest and it was radiating into [his] left arm and
left side of [his] lower jaw.” Defendant Jolley took
the Plaintiff's vital signs. Plaintiff asked her if he
could have a nitroglycerin tablet. Defendant Jolly refused to
give him one. Defendant Jolley also refused to do an EKG to
check Plaintiff's heart, “even though there is a
standing order to do a[n] EKG when [Plaintiff] declares a
medical emergency for chest pains.” [Id. at
18-19]. Defendant Jolley told Plaintiff to return to his cell
and to declare another medical emergency if Plaintiff
continued to have chest pains. Defendant Jolley also failed
to call the on-call medical provider as ordered in the
nursing protocol. Plaintiff returned to his room and laid
down. [Id. at 19].
approximately 10:00 p.m., Plaintiff declared another medical
emergency for chest pains. The correctional officer
“pulled [Plaintiff] out of the block” and had
Plaintiff sit in the hallway while the officer informed
Defendant Jolley. [Id.]. The officer returned and
told Plaintiff that Defendant Jolley refused to see Plaintiff
again, that Defendant Jolley would write up the Plaintiff for
malingering, and that Defendant Jolley was tired of Plaintiff
harassing the nursing staff. Defendant Jolley did, in fact,
write up the Plaintiff for “faking a medical illness or
injury, ” to which Plaintiff pleaded guilty in order to
receive reduced punishment. [Id. at 19-20].
claim against Defendant Gaberial, Plaintiff alleges
indirectly that he suffers from a cardiac condition, which
requires nitroglycerin. [Id. at 21]. Plaintiff does
not identify this alleged condition or allege any history of
heart attack. [See id., generally]. Further, other
than Plaintiff's allegation that there is “standing
order” to administer an EKG when Plaintiff complains of
chest pain, [Id. at 18-19], Plaintiff does not
allege that, on May 30, 2017, Defendant Jolley was aware that
Plaintiff has a medically recognized heart condition or a
history of illness that would support his alleged need for
nitroglycerin or an EKG. [See id., generally].
Rather, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Jolley wrote up the
Plaintiff for faking a medical illness and told him to stop
harassing the nursing staff. [Id. at 19-20].
claims that he suffered acute pain for several hours and
mental anguish over fear of having a heart attack as a result
of the medical staff's inadequate responses and refusals
to provide care. [Doc. 1 at 27]. Plaintiff seeks injunctive
relief and compensatory damages.
March 18, 2019, the Court conducted a frivolity review of
Plaintiff's Complaint and allowed Plaintiff's claims
to proceed. [Doc. 9]. The parties are currently in discovery,
with dispositive motions due on February 1, 2020. [Doc. 30].
Defendant Jolley, a nurse at Lanesboro at all relevant times,
has now filed the pending motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, arguing
that Plaintiff has not sufficiently stated a claim for
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs against her.
[Doc. 20]. On August 20, 2019, this Court entered an order
giving Plaintiff notice of his right to respond to the motion
to dismiss within fourteen days of that Order. [Doc. 26].
Over two months have passed, and Plaintiff has not responded.
This motion is, therefore, ripe for adjudication.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the Court
must accept the factual allegations of the claim as true and
construe them in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party. Coleman v. Maryland Ct. of Appeals, 626 F.3d
187, 189 (4th Cir. 2010). To survive the motion, the
“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 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). To be
“plausible on its face, ” a plaintiff must
demonstrate more than “a sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. A
plaintiff therefore must “articulate facts, when
accepted as true, that ‘show' that the plaintiff
has stated a claim entitling [it] to relief, i.e.,
the ‘plausibility of entitlement to relief.'”
Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir.
2009) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 at 678).
state a claim for deliberate indifference, an inmate must
establish two requirements: (1) a sufficiently serious
deprivation occurred, resulting “in the denial of the
minimal civilized measure of life's necessities, ”
and (2) the prison official had a sufficiently culpable state
of mind. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994)
(internal quotation marks omitted). In the medical context,
an inmate “must demonstrate that the officers acted
with ‘deliberate indifference' (subjective) to the
inmate's ‘serious medical needs'
(objective).” Iko v. Shreve, 535 F.3d 225, 241
(4th Cir. 2008) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 104 (1976)).
the objective prong, a “serious medical need” is
“one that has been diagnosed by a physician as
mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay
person would easily recognize the necessity for a
doctor's attention.” Iko, 535 F.3d at 241
(quoting Henderson v. Sheahan, 196 F.3d 839, 846
(7th Cir.1999)). As to the subjective prong, a prison
official is deliberately indifferent if he has actual
knowledge of and disregards “the risk posed by the
serious medical needs of the inmate.” Iko, 535
F.3d at 241 (citing Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837);
see also Makdessi v. Fields, No. 13-7606, 2015 WL
1062747, at *9 (4th Cir. Mar. 12, 2015) (holding that the
subjective prong “may be proven by circumstantial
evidence that a risk was so obvious that it had to have been
known”). To be liable under ...