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Plumier v. Mississippi Department of Corrections

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division

September 10, 2018

ROBERT WADE PLUMIER, as Son and Personal Representative of the Wrongful Death Beneficiaries of Robert Wayne Plumier, Deceased, and ESTATE OF ROBERT WAYNE PLUMIER, Deceased PLAINTIFFS
v.
MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al. DEFENDANTS

         MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING [35] MOTION TO DISMISS AND DISMISSING PLAINTIFFS' CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANTS MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, SOUTH MISSISSIPPI CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, JACQUELYN BANKS, MARSHALL TURNER, AND BRENDA SIMS

          HALIL SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         BEFORE THE COURT is the Motion [35] to Dismiss filed by Defendants Mississippi Department of Corrections, South Mississippi Correctional Institution, and Jacquelyn Banks, Marshall Turner, and Brenda Sims, in their individual and official capacities. After due consideration of the record and relevant legal authority, the Court finds that the Motion [35] to Dismiss should be granted, and Plaintiffs' claims against Defendants Mississippi Department of Corrections, South Mississippi Correctional Institution, and Jacquelyn Banks, Marshall Turner, and Brenda Sims in their official capacities should be dismissed without prejudice for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Plaintiffs' claims against Jacquelyn Banks, Marshall Turner, and Brenda Sims in their individual capacities should be dismissed with prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual background

         According to the First Amended Complaint [4], in April 2012, Robert Wayne Plumier (“Mr. Plumier”) was arrested and detained by an unnamed law enforcement agency. 1st Am. Compl. [4] at 5. While the record is unclear as to the nature of the crime with which Mr. Plumier was charged, the parties do not dispute that Mr. Plumier was ultimately convicted of some crime and incarcerated in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (“MDOC”). After Mr. Plumier was sentenced, he was transferred to the South Mississippi Correctional Institution (“SMCI”), which is a facility of the MDOC. Id. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”) was contracted by the MDOC and/or SMCI to provide medical services to inmates housed at that facility. Id.

         During his confinement at SMCI, at some point in or before early October 2014, Mr. Plumier began experiencing severe stomach pains and swelling in the abdomen. Id. Mr. Plumier allegedly sent several written requests to SMCI employees notifying them of the severity of his symptoms, but SMCI employees allegedly ignored his requests for medical care and failed to provide him with any medical treatment. Id. at 5-6.

         On October 6 or 7, 2014, Mr. Plumier was released from SMCI and transported to Biloxi, Mississippi. Id. at 7. Plaintiffs assert that Mr. Plumier was discharged from SMCI by Defendants in order to conceal the nature of his health condition and lack of treatment, and in order to avoid having to treat Mr. Plumier. Id. at 8.

         Because he was still suffering from severe abdominal pains, Mr. Plumier immediately went to Biloxi Regional Hospital in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he was admitted and diagnosed “with a history of hepatitis C with liver cirrhosis and liver failure with fluid overload with abdominal swelling.” Id. at 7. According to Plaintiffs, a chest x-ray revealed findings of congestive heart failure with pulmonary edema. Id. Mr. Plumier died on October 27, 2014, due to multi-organ failure. Id.

         B. Procedural history

         On August 31, 2017, Plaintiffs Robert Wade Plumier, as son and personal representative of the wrongful death beneficiaries of Mr. Plumier, and the Estate of Mr. Plumier, filed a Complaint [1] in this Court, followed by a First Amended Complaint [4] on September 21, 2017. The First Amended Complaint [4] asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986 against Defendants MDOC, SMCI, Wexford, and Jacquelyn Banks (“Ms. Banks”), Marshall Turner (“Mr. Turner”), and Brenda Sims (“Ms. Sims”) in their official and individual capacities.

         Counts One and Two advance claims for violations of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution based upon the purported denial of medical care to Mr. Plumier.[1] 1st Am. Compl. [4] at 12-17. Count Three, which is erroneously numbered Count Six, raises civil conspiracy and neglect claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985 and 1986. Id. at 17-19.

         MDOC, SMCI, Ms. Banks, Mr. Turner, and Ms. Sims have filed a Motion [35] to Dismiss based upon Eleventh Amendment immunity, state law immunity, and qualified immunity. Defendants ask the Court to dismiss all claims asserted against them with prejudice. Mot. [35] at 2.

         In response, Plaintiffs concede that the claims against MDOC, SMCI, and Ms. Banks, Mr. Turner, and Ms. Sims in their official capacities should be dismissed. Pls.' Mem. [43] at 5. As for the § 1983 claims against Ms. Banks, Mr. Turner, and Ms. Sims in their individual capacities, Plaintiffs argue that the individual Defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity. Id. at 6-19. To the extent the Court determines that more detailed allegations are necessary to survive the Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiffs “concede to a dismissal, without prejudice, until such time as the facts and circumstances become known to the Plaintiffs regarding the specific testimony of the individual Defendants.” Id. at 12-13; see also Id. at 13, 14. However, at the end of their Memorandum, Plaintiffs state that in the event the Court finds that the ...


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