United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
JAMES GRAHAM, as Special Administrator for the Estate of Anthony Huff, Deceased, Plaintiff,
GARFIELD COUNTY DETENTION CENTER, an Oklahoma Title 60 authority, et al., Defendants.
MILES-LaGRANGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is defendant Turn Key Health Clinics, LLC's
(“Turn Key”) Motion to Dismiss, filed July 5,
2017. On July 26, 2017, plaintiff filed his response, and on
August 2, 2017, Turn Key filed its reply.
4, 2016, Anthony Huff was arrested on a public intoxication
charge and booked into the Garfield County Detention Center
(“GCDC”). While incarcerated at GCDC, Mr. Huff
was placed in a restraint chair. Plaintiff alleges that Mr.
Huff was in the restraint chair for a period in excess of two
days without restroom breaks, medical or mental health
treatment, or adequate food or water. On June 8, 2016, Mr.
Huff died. On June 6, 2017, plaintiff filed the instant
action asserting a negligence claim, an alternative assault
and battery claim, and a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim. Turn
Key now moves, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), to dismiss all claims asserted against it for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Standard for dismissal
the standard for determining whether to dismiss a claim
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, the United States Supreme Court
To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The
plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability
requirement, ” but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a
complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a
defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(internal quotations and citations omitted). Further,
“where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court
to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the
complaint has alleged - but it has not shown - that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. at 679
(internal quotations and citations omitted). Additionally,
“[a] pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked
assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement.”
Id. at 678 (internal quotations and citations
omitted). A court “must determine whether the complaint
sufficiently alleges facts supporting all the elements
necessary to establish an entitlement to relief under the
legal theory proposed.” Lane v. Simon, 495
F.3d 1182, 1186 (10th Cir. 2007) (internal quotations and
citation omitted). Finally, “[a] court reviewing the
sufficiency of a complaint presumes all of plaintiff's
factual allegations are true and construes them in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff.” Hall v.
Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1109 (10th Cir. 1991).
§ 1983 claim
Although the Supreme Court's interpretation of §
1983 in Monellapplied to municipal governments and not
to private entities acting under color of state law, caselaw
from [the Tenth Circuit] and other circuits has extended the
Monell doctrine to private § 1983 defendants.
Therefore, a private actor cannot be held liable
solely because it employs a tortfeasor - or, in
other words . . . cannot be held liable under § 1983 on
a respondeat superior theory.
Dubbs v. Head Start, Inc., 336 F.3d 1194, 1216 (10th
Cir. 2003) (internal quotations and citations omitted)
(emphasis in original). In Monell, the Supreme Court
held that to be liable, a municipality must have had an
official municipal policy of some nature that was the direct
cause or moving force behind the constitutional violations.
See Dubbs, 336 F.3d at 1215. Thus, for a private
entity acting under color of state law to be liable, that
entity must have had an official policy of some nature that
was the direct cause or moving force behind the
carefully reviewed plaintiff's Complaint, and presuming
all of plaintiff's factual allegations are true and
construing them in the light most favorable to plaintiff, the
Court finds that plaintiff has not set forth sufficient
factual allegations to state a § 1983 claim against Turn
Key. Specifically, the Court finds that in his Complaint
plaintiff has set forth no allegations regarding any policies
or procedures of Turn Key and no allegations that any
policies or procedures of Turn Key were the direct cause
behind the alleged constitutional violations. Accordingly,
the Court finds that plaintiff's § 1983 claim
against Turn Key should be dismissed.