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Cohee v. Danberg

United States District Court, D. Delaware

February 28, 2018

DANIEL B. COHEE, Plaintiff,
v.
CARL C. DANBERG, et al., Defendants.

          Peter S. Murphy, Esquire, Alexandra Rogin, Esquire, and Justin M. Forcier, Esquire, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Plaintiff.

          Kenisha LaShelle Ringgold, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendants Carl Danberg, Perry Phelps, Cpt. Rispoli, Lt. Baynard, Sgt. Jones, Jason Russell, C/O Mitchell, C/O Boone, Ernest A. Kemp, Jr., James J. Janusiewicz, and Delaware Department of Correction.

          Daniel A. Griffith, Esquire, and Kaan Ekiner, Esquire, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, L.L.C., Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendant Correct Care Solutions, LLC.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Daniel B. Cohee commenced this action in July 2013 while proceeding pro se. (D.I. 3). He is now represented by counsel, who filed an Amended Complaint on April 25, 2017, adding the Delaware Department of Correction as a defendant. (D.I. 148). Before the Court is the DOC's motion to dismiss, opposed by Plaintiff. (D.I. 153, 155). Briefing on the matter is complete.

         BACKGROUND

         The Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiff was attacked and injured by his cellmate on February 23, 2012. Plaintiff lost a substantial amount of blood and received stitches to both cheeks and a severed tendon that required twenty-seven stitches. At the time, he was incarcerated at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware. The Amended Complaint alleges that, prior to the attack, Plaintiff had informed correctional officers about his cellmate making threatening and violent statements. Plaintiff had asked for a transfer. Plaintiff alleges that the correctional officers ignored his concerns and his request for a transfer.

         The DOC was not named as a defendant in the original Complaint, although individual DOC defendants were named in their individual and official capacities. Count III of the Amended Complaint alleges the DOC failed to train and/or maintained wrongful customs, practices, and policies regarding inmate safety, all of which caused serious harm to Plaintiff. (D.I. 148 at ¶¶ 50-56).

         The DOC moves for dismissal pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) on the grounds that the claims are time-barred. (D.I. 153).

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         In reviewing a motion filed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the light most favorable to plaintiff. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Because Plaintiff proceeds pro se, his pleading is liberally construed and his complaint, "however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94. A court may consider the pleadings, public record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint, and documents incorporated into the complaint by reference. Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion maybe granted only if, accepting the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most favorable to the complainant, a court concludes that those allegations "could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007).

         "Though 'detailed factual allegations' are not required, a complaint must do more than simply provide 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.'" Davis v. Abington Mem'l Hosp., 765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). I am "not required to credit bald assertions or legal conclusions improperly alleged in the complaint." In re Rockefeller Ctr. Props., Inc. Sec. Litig., 311 F.3d 198, 216 (3d Cir. 2002). A complaint may not be dismissed, however, "for imperfect statement of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted." Johnson v. City of Shelby, 135 S.Ct. 346, 346 (2014).

         A complainant must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim has "substantive plausibility." Id. at 347. That plausibility must be found on the face of the complaint. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "A claim has facial plausibility when the [complainant] pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the [accused] is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. Deciding whether a claim is plausible will be a "context-specific ...


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