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Jackson v. Corrections Corp. of America

June 27, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Colleen Kollar-kotelly United States District Judge


Plaintiff, a former inmate proceeding pro se, brings this action, filed July 11, 2006, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that his constitutional rights under the Eighth Amendment were violated while he was incarcerated at the District of Columbia Correctional Treatment Facility ("CTF").*fn1 His amended complaint names as Defendants the Corrections Corporation of America ("CCA") and the Center for Correctional Health Policy and Studies ("CCHPS"). Before the Court is CCA's motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment.*fn2 Because Plaintiff has not stated a sufficient Eighth Amendment claim against CCA, the motion will be granted.


Plaintiff was incarcerated at CTF from March 24, 2005 to October 21, 2005, and from January 25, 2006 to September 19, 2006. Deft.'s Statement of Material Facts ¶ 1; Decl. of Timothy J. Bojanowski ¶ 3.*fn3 The CTF is operated by CCA under a contract with the District of Columbia. Decl. of Timothy J. Bojanowski ¶ 5. Under the agreement, CCA administers inmate grievances related to medical services at the facility, but is not responsible or liable for claims related to the provision of medical services. Id. Att. B. However, CCA is liable for any act or failure to act that inhibits the District of Columbia's ability to provide proper medical service. Id.

Plaintiff alleges that when he arrived at the CTF he was made to sleep in the top bunk of his cell despite a doctor's order that he sleep on the bottom bunk because of pain associated with restless leg syndrome, nerve abnormalities in his legs, and arthritis of his spine and knees. Am. Compl. at 1. As a result of spending thirty days on the top bunk, Plaintiff suffered pain in his legs, lower back, knees and hips. Id.

Plaintiff claims that the jail staff did not timely provide him with needed medication for abdominal pain. Id. His neurologist ordered that Plaintiff be provided an additional mattress, but he was denied one for eight days. Id. at 2. Plaintiff contends that the CTF staff's conduct was medical negligence and a violation of the Eighth Amendment. Id.

Plaintiff also raises claims separate from the alleged medical mistreatment. He asserts that while he was incarcerated a water pipe broke and he was kept in a flooded cell for twelve days.

Id. In addition, Plaintiff alleges that he was forced to live in a cell without air-conditioning during the summer months. Id. He seeks monetary damages of $42,000.00 and punitive damages. Id.


Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Defendant CCA moves to dismiss because Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Court may dismiss a claim under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) only if it appears, assuming the alleged facts to be true and drawing all inferences in Plaintiff's favor, that Plaintiff cannot establish "any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1969 (2007); Kowal v. MCI Communications Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994). "While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations ... a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and conclusions ... Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp., 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, the Court need not "accept inferences drawn by plaintiffs if such inferences are unsupported by the facts set out in the complaint. Nor must the court accept legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations." Kowal, 16 F.3d at 1276.

In resolving a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, pro se complaints are held to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). A pro se pleading is to be liberally construed by the Court. Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (citation omitted). Accordingly, pro se plaintiffs are not required to use specific legal terms or phrases, and the Court "will grant plaintiffs the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged." Kowal, 16 F.3d at 1276.

Defendants also move, in the alternative, for summary judgment. Under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is appropriate if the pleadings on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 (c). Material facts are those that "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Tao v. Freeh, 27 F.3d 635, 638 (D.C. Cir. 1994). In considering whether there is a triable issue of fact, the Court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; see also Washington Post Co. v. United States Dep't of Health and Human Servs., 865 F.2d 320, 325 (D.C. Cir. 1989).


A. Exhaustion of ...

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