United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
ROBBIE EMERY BURKE, as Special Administratrix for the Estate of MITCHELL LEE GODSEY, deceased, Plaintiff,
VIC REGALADO, in his official capacity; BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF TULSA COUNTY; ARMOR CORRECTIONAL HEALTH SERVICES, INC.; ANGELA MCCOY, LPN; CURTIS MCELROY, D.O.; and SETH WHITMAN, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
GREGORY K. FRIZZELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
civil rights action arises from the death of Mitchell Lee
Godsey during his detention at the Tulsa County Jail. Before
the court are three motions: the Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 17]
of defendant Angela McCoy, LPN; the Motion to Dismiss [Doc.
21] of defendant Curtis McElroy, D.O.; and the Motion to
Dismiss [Doc. 26] of defendant Seth Whitman. Each movant
seeks dismissal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted. For the reasons set forth below, McCoy's
motion is granted, McElroy's motion is granted, and
Whitman's motion is granted in part and denied in part.
Allegations in the Amended Complaint
Amended Complaint contains the following factual allegations.
In 2013, the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office
(“TCSO”) retained defendant Armor Correctional
Health Services, Inc. (“Armor”) to provide
medical care to inmates at the Tulsa County Jail. During the
relevant period, Armor employed McElroy as a physician and
McCoy and Whitman as nurses at the jail.
29, 2016, Godsey was brought to the jail. On the evening of
July 30, he began experiencing a loss of consciousness and
seizures, and EMSA was called. When EMSA arrived at the jail
around 7:40 p.m., the EMT observed that Godsey had
“altered mentation possibly due to hypoglycemia.”
Nurse McCoy reported that Godsey had an abnormal gait,
slurred speech, could not talk, was “clammy” and
had been dry heaving. He was taken to OSU Medical Center,
where his blood sugar level was recorded at 60.
was returned to the jail later that evening around 10:00 p.m.
The OSU discharge instructions state that Godsey was to be
evaluated by the jail physician. Around midnight, McCoy
conducted an intake screening. In the intake screening form,
she reported that Godsey had been to the hospital earlier
that day due to “low blood sugar” and that he
suffered from diabetes. She approved him for general
population housing. At approximately 12:09 a.m. on July 31,
she recorded his blood sugar level as 79. She noted that he
vomited up the food and glucose he was given.
was transferred to the jail's infirmary during the early
morning hours of July 31. At 11:34 a.m. on July 31, Nurse
Whitman recorded Godsey's blood sugar level as 50, which
is acutely hypoglycemic. Whitman failed to notify Dr. McElroy
and, without a physician's order, administered two
glucose tabs. Thereafter, Whitman performed blood sugar tests
at 1:39 p.m. with a result of 284 and at 6:24 p.m. with a
result of 306. He administered four units and eight units of
insulin respectively utilizing a sliding scale.
around 11:30 p.m. on July 31, TCSO officers discovered Godsey
face down on his bed and nonresponsive. He was not breathing
and had no pulse. Nurse McCoy and others arrived at his cell.
His blood sugar was recorded at 24, which is markedly
on these and other related allegations, plaintiff asserts
three causes of action against McCoy, McElroy, and Whitman in
the Amended Complaint: (1) a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for deliberate indifference to a serious medical
need in violation of Godsey's rights under the Due
Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; (2) a negligence
claim under Oklahoma's common law; and (3) a claim for
failure to provide adequate medical care in violation of
Sections 7 and 9 of Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution.
Motion to Dismiss Standard
considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court
must determine whether the plaintiff has stated a claim upon
which relief can be granted. A complaint must contain
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The plausibility
requirement “does not impose a probability requirement
at the pleading stage; it simply calls for enough fact to
raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal
evidence” of the conduct necessary to make out the
claim. Id. at 556. “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.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The
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) (quoting Forest
Guardians v. Forsgren, 478 F.3d 1149, 1160 (10th Cir.
court first addresses plaintiff's claims under Oklahoma
law and then addresses her claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Claims under Oklahoma Law
McCoy, McElroy, and Whitman argue that plaintiff fails to
state a claim against them under Oklahoma law because, as
statutory employees of the state, they are immune from tort
liability under the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act