United States District Court, D. New Jersey
P. SCHROTH On behalf of Plaintiff
E. SPITZER MAN NEILL O'NEILL & RIVELES LLC On behalf
of Defendant Paul E. Bradley
V. SIMUNOVICH OFFICE OF THE U.S. ATTORNEY DISTRICT OF NEW
JERSEY On behalf of Defendants Dexter Isaiah Chronis, Antonio
Cortez Davis, Kevin Lamar Evans, Terrance Tyrone Jones, Celso
Maldonado, Xaimara Otero-Ortiz, Bryan G. Reeser, Michael
Eddie Rodriguez, and Officer Bova
BIDDLE MCMEEN JAMES BRENDAN JOHNSTON GOLDEN ROTHSCHILD
SPAGNOLA LUNDELL BOYLAN & GARUBO On behalf of Defendants
Randall James Prill and Kenneth Frances Rothwein
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
a purported Bivens action under the Fifth Amendment
Due Process Clause concerning the medical treatment Plaintiff
Lanny Scott Huckaby received by Defendants, various military
personnel, at a New Jersey military base. Before the Court
are three related motions to dismiss: (1) by Defendants
Randall James Prill and Kenneth Frances Rothwein, (2) by
Defendants Dexter Isaiah Chronis, Antonio Cortez Davis, Kevin
Lamar Evans, Terrence Tyrone Jones, Celso Maldonado, Xaimara
Otero-Ortiz, Bryan G. Reeser, Michael Eddie Rodriguez, and
Charles Bova, and (3) by Defendant Paul E. Bradley. For the
reasons that follow, the Court finds Plaintiff cannot sustain
a Bivens cause of action. The Court will grant all
three motions to dismiss.
Court takes its facts from Plaintiff's September 18, 2017
Amended Complaint. On July 15, 2014, Plaintiff was making a
delivery to the Joint Base McGuire-Fort Dix-Lakehurst
military base in Burlington County, New Jersey. While at the
military base, Plaintiff advised military personnel there
were handguns in the trailer attached to his vehicle.
Plaintiff was arrested around 4:00 PM by Defendants. As he
was being taken into custody, Plaintiff was instructed to
remove his footwear. Plaintiff was then placed in a holding
cell with his feet clothed only in socks.
time, Plaintiff had an open diabetic wound on the bottom of
his right foot. Plaintiff advised Defendants of this wound
and that he could not be without footwear or additional
bandages to protect the wound from infection. He further
explained that he was diabetic and that diabetic wounds often
do not heal and are susceptible to infection. Plaintiff
specifically asked Defendants to retrieve his shoes and
bandages to protect the wound.
alleges he was in the holding cell from approximately 4:00 PM
to midnight. Over the course of this time, Plaintiff's
wound was visibly bloody, and blood seeped through his sock,
leaving marks on the floor. Defendants retrieved gauze and
bandages, but they refused to provide them to Plaintiff to
protect his wound. Defendants refused to give Plaintiff his
shoes, and further refused to contact medical care providers
to determine the proper care for Plaintiff's wound.
wound ultimately became infected. Plaintiff became visibly
ill, and shortly after his release, Plaintiff sought medical
care. Over the next weeks and months, the infection worsened.
Plaintiff was consequently hospitalized from October 12, 2014
through November 7, 2014. Over the course of the next year,
the infection eventually spread to Plaintiff's right leg
bone. In November 2015, Plaintiff's lower right extremity
was amputated just below the right knee. Plaintiff also
suffered side effects, including septic shock and kidney
damage. During his hospitalization, Plaintiff also went into
cardiac arrest and is believed to have died before being
resuscitated and revived by medical providers.
Amended Complaint brings one count against Defendants: a
Bivens claim for violation of the Fifth Amendment
right to due process. Plaintiff argues Defendants
“completely rejected the Plaintiff's request for
medical assistance; denied the Plaintiff access to medical
care, which he specifically requested; and denied the
Plaintiff's request for simple Band-Aids, gauze and
lace-less Croc shoes to protect the diabetic seeping wound on
his right foot.” The Amended Complaint alleges:
The Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United
States Constitution does not allow defendants to inflict
punishment on pretrial detainees. The denial of medical care
when the Defendants were fully informed of the
Plaintiff's medical condition and the Defendants'
abhorrent refusal to assist and protect the Plaintiff are
tantamount to the infliction of punishment without due
asks this Court for compensatory damages, punitive damages,
and attorneys' fees and costs.
filed their motions to dismiss on October 5, 2017 and October
Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331, as it is brought as a Bivens action and
under the Fifth Amendment to the United States
considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court must accept
all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and
view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005).
It is well settled that a pleading is sufficient if it
contains “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
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, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do . . . .” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (alteration
in original) (citations omitted) (first citing Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957); Sanjuan v. Am. Bd.
of Psychiatry & Neurology, Inc., 40 F.3d 247, 251
(7th Cir. 1994); and then citing Papasan v. Allain,
478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)).
To determine the sufficiency of a complaint, a court must
take three steps. First, the court must “tak[e] note of
the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim.”
Second, the court should identify allegations that,
“because they are no more than conclusions, are not
entitled to the assumption of truth.” Third,
“whe[n] there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a
court should assume their veracity and then determine whether
they plausibly give rise to an entitlement for relief.”
Malleus v. George, 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011)
(alterations in original) (citations omitted) (quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 664, 675, 679
district court, in weighing a motion to dismiss, asks
“not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but
whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support
the claim.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563 n.8
(quoting Scheuer v. Rhoades, 416 U.S. 232, 236
(1974)); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 684 (“Our
decision in Twombly expounded the pleading standard
for ‘all civil actions' . . . .”); Fowler
v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009)
(“Iqbal . . . provides the final nail in the
coffin for the ‘no set of facts' standard that
applied to federal complaints before
Twombly.”). “A motion to dismiss should
be granted ...