Here, the plaintiff has failed to allege any conduct on the part of any of these individual defendants which rises to the level of a clear violation of the Eighth Amendment. The only allegation possibly rising to Constitutional proportions is the plaintiff's claim that the "defendants" maliciously and incorrectly noted in his Washington State medical records that he suffered from no complaints since starting to take INH medication. Pl. Opp. to Washington State Def. Mot. at 3. However, plaintiff does not allege which defendant made this allegedly incorrect notation; therefore the Court can hold none of these defendants personally responsible for the alleged violation.
The plaintiff added a discrimination claim in his responsive pleadings based on the Fourteenth Amendment. This claim rests solely on his allegation that a white prisoner was given vitamin B-6 along with the INH medication at the Washington State facility while the plaintiff was not given the vitamin. The plaintiff supports this allegation with a signed statement from the white prisoner. Pl. Opp. to Washington State Def. Mot. Ex. 1. As the plaintiff did not make this allegation in his complaint, and did not cite the Fourteenth Amendment in his complaint, the Washington State defendants did not have notice of this claim and cannot be held responsible for it here. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a).
Accordingly, neither the plaintiff's Eighth Amendment nor Fourteenth Amendment claims can withstand the Washington Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Even assuming arguendo that the plaintiff successfully stated a claim against the Washington State defendants, the plaintiff's claim against them must fail for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Washington State defendants have objected to the exercise of jurisdiction over them, see Washington State Def. Mot. to Dismiss at 14, and the plaintiff has alleged no contacts between the Washington State defendants which would justify the exercise of personal jurisdiction here. See generally D.C. Code § 13-423. The Court divines no such contacts which could bring the Washington State defendants within the reach of the D.C. long-arm statute.
B. The District of Columbia Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
In order to prevail in a Motion for Summary Judgment,
the defendants must show "that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). "The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [non-movant's] position will be insufficient," Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986) but the Court must believe the non-movant's evidence and draw all justifiable inferences in his or her favor. Id. at 255.
As with the Washington State defendants, it is unclear whether the plaintiff is suing the District of Columbia defendants in their individual or official capacities or under a respondeat superior theory. See Complaint generally.
If the plaintiff is suing the defendants in their official capacities, the suit is to be treated as a suit against the District of Columbia. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166, 87 L. Ed. 2d 114, 105 S. Ct. 3099 (1985). If plaintiff's claim rests on respondeat superior, his claim must fail, because "a municipality cannot be held liable under § 1983 on a respondeat superior theory. Monell v. Dep't of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 691, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611, 98 S. Ct. 2018 (1978). Apart from a respondeat superior theory, under § 1983, local governments can be sued only where the entity is a "moving force" behind the violation. Id. That is, the municipality may be sued where the action alleged to be unconstitutional "implements or executes a policy statement, ordinance, regulation or decision officially adopted and promulgated by that body's officers." Monell, 436 U.S. 690 at 690-91 .
There is no evidence, or even any allegations which support the contention that the District of Columbia officials here were acting pursuant to any policy, regulation, or official decision regarding the plaintiff's complaints as to medical care. Therefore, the plaintiff's claims against the D.C. defendants in their official capacities set forth in his complaint must be dismissed.
If the suit is against the defendants in their individual capacities, a respondeat superior theory is unavailable because, as previously stated, the theory is inapplicable to public officials. See Haynesworth v. Miller, 261 App. D.C. 66, 820 F.2d 1245, 1259 (D.C. Cir. 1987). As to liability for their own actions, the D.C. defendants, like the Washington State defendants, have qualified immunity which shields them from liability for the allegations against them in the complaint. See discussion, supra, at 5; Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. at 818; Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. at 526. There are no allegations in the complaint nor evidence in the record that any of the D.C. defendants personally violated the plaintiff's clearly established Eighth Amendment or Fourteenth Amendment rights.
The plaintiff has attempted, in his responsive pleadings, to append a claim that the D.C. defendants' conduct violated D.C. Code § 24-442. See Pl. First Opp. to D.C. Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss at 2. However, the Court is unable to find legal precedent linking this Code provision with claims of medical malpractice. Therefore, the Court declines, in its discretion, to retain jurisdiction on this pendent statutory claim regarding an unsettled area of local law. See Financial General Bankshares, Inc. v. Metzger, 220 App. D.C. 219, 680 F.2d 768, 775-78 (D.C. Cir. 1982).
Although the Court finds that the plaintiff cannot receive, in this forum, the relief he seeks for the conduct alleged in his complaint, this holding does not leave the plaintiff without a remedy. Many of his claims seem, at bottom, to be claims of negligence. Claims of negligence against prison officials should be addressed by traditional tort law, which the plaintiff may pursue in state court. Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 332-33, 88 L. Ed. 2d 662, 106 S. Ct. 662 (1986).
In the plaintiff's most recent opposition to the D.C. defendants' motion, he has made some new allegations against the District of Columbia defendants to which they have not had an opportunity to respond. See Pl. Opp. to D.C. Mot. filed March 18, 1992. The Court could dismiss these allegations as beyond the scope of this lawsuit. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a); 12(b)(6). However, taking the plaintiff's status as a pro se litigant into account, the Court shall deem the complaint to be amended to include these allegations and shall direct the District of Columbia defendants to respond to them. The District of Columbia defendants shall address, inter alia, the plaintiff's allegations that the conditions under which he was transported to the D.C. General Hospital amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, and that he was denied vitamin treatment and a necessary special diet pass.
For all of the reasons previously stated herein, the Court shall grant the Washington State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and shall grant the District of Columbia Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. However, because the plaintiff has raised some new allegations in his responsive pleading to the D.C. defendant's motion, the Court shall treat that pleading as an amendment to the complaint and shall direct the District of Columbia defendants to respond thereto.
An appropriate Order shall be entered on this date in accordance with this Memorandum Opinion.
April 23, 1992
CHARLES R. RICHEY
ORDER - April 23, 1992, Filed
In accordance with the Court's Memorandum Opinion filed on this date, and for the reasons stated therein, it is, by the Court, this 23 day of April, 1992,
ORDERED that the Washington State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss shall be, and hereby is, GRANTED; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the District of Columbia Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment shall be, and hereby is, GRANTED; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff's complaint shall be deemed amended to include those new allegations contained in his March 18, 1992 responsive pleading; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia shall show cause, within thirty (30) days of the date of this Order whether these new allegations should be dismissed; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff shall have twenty (20) days from the date he is served with the Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia's response to the Court's show cause order in which to file any opposition with the Court; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia shall be, and hereby is, directed to serve a copy of its response to the Court's show cause order on plaintiff by certified mail return receipt requested and to then file a copy of the return receipt with the Court.
CHARLES R. RICHEY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE