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Meek v. Crews

United States District Court, D. Colorado

March 19, 2014

TIMOTHY MEEK, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPUTY MR. CREWS; NURSE TINA; NURSE RENEE; DENVER HEALTH DOCTOR JANE DOE; and JAIL OFFICIALS JOHN DOES, individually and in official capacitys [sic], Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING RECOMMENDATION AND GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS

MARCIA S. KRIEGER, Chief District Judge.

THIS MATTER comes before the Court pursuant to the December 9, 2013 Recommendation (#54) of the Magistrate Judge that Defendant Crews' Motion to Dismiss (#27) be granted. The Plaintiff, Timothy Meek, filed timely Objections (#55) to the Recommendation.

I. ISSUES PRESENTED

In his Amended Complaint (#6), Mr. Meek asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on Mr. Crews' alleged use of excessive force in violation of Mr. Meek's Eighth Amendment rights.[1]

II. FACTS

Mr. Meek's pro se Amended Complaint alleges the following facts relevant to the claim against Mr. Crews.[2] On June 5, 2012, while detained at the Denver County Jail, Mr. Meek and another detainee began fighting. Mr. Crews, an on-duty deputy officer, "grabbed [Mr. Meek] from behind, allowing the other [detainee] to get punches on [Mr. Meek's] face." According to Mr. Meek, Mr. Crews grabbed him with enough force to "tear[] [his] left bicep, causing pain, lack of sleep, bruising, elbow tendonitis, and deformity." Mr. Meek also asserts that, because no other deputies were nearby, a third detainee intervened to stop the other detainee's punches. Mr. Meek claims that Mr. Crews violated his Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment by grabbing Mr. Meek with excessive force and restraining Mr. Meek while another detainee punched him. Mr. Meek seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

In his Motion to Dismiss, Mr. Crews argues that: (1) Mr. Meek's suit is barred because he failed to exhaust administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); (2) Mr. Crews is entitled to qualified immunity for the claim against him in his individual capacity; and (3) Mr. Meek failed to state a claim against Mr. Crew in his official capacity. The matter was referred to the Magistrate Judge.

The Magistrate Judge's Recommendation found that: (1) Mr. Meek sufficiently alleged that he exhausted his administrative remedies; (2) Mr. Crews is entitled to qualified immunity because Mr. Meek failed to allege a constitutional violation; and (3) Mr. Meek failed to state an official capacity claim.

Mr. Meek filed timely Objections (#55) to the Recommendation.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

When a magistrate judge issues a recommendation on a dispositive motion, the parties may file specific, written objections within fourteen days after being served with a copy of the recommendation. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). The district court reviews de novo determination those portions of the recommendation to which a timely and specific objection is made. See U.S. v. One Parcel of Real Prop. Known as 2121 E. 30th St., 73 F.3d 1057, 1060 (10th Cir. 1996).

In reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must accept all well-plead allegations in the Complaint as true and view those allegations in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Stidham v. Peace Officer Standards and Training, 265 F.3d 1144, 1149 (10th Cir. 2001), quoting Sutton v. Utah State Sch. For the Deaf & Blind, 173 F.3d 1226, 1236 (10th Cir. 1999). The Court must limit its consideration to the four corners of the Complaint, any documents attached thereto, and any external documents that are referenced in the Complaint and whose accuracy is not in dispute. Oxendine v. Kaplan, 241 F.3d 1272, 1275 (10th Cir. 2001); Jacobsen v. Deseret Book Co., 287 F.3d 936, 941 (10th Cir. 2002).

A claim is subject to dismissal if it fails to state a claim for relief that is "plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). To make such an assessment, the Court first discards those averments in the Complaint that are merely legal conclusions or "threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements." Id. at 1949-50. The Court takes the remaining, well-pled factual contentions, treats them as true, and ascertains whether those facts support a claim that is "plausible" or whether the claim being asserted is merely "conceivable" or "possible" under the facts alleged. Id. at 1950-51. What is required to reach the level of "plausibility" varies from context to context, but ...


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