United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Northern Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS, DENYING MOTIONS TO
APPOINT COUNSEL, DENYING MOTIONS TO COMPEL DISCOVERY, AND
DISMISSING SECOND AND THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINTS IN
E. SCHREIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Vaughn Gary Maxfield, filed this pro se lawsuit under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Docket 1. The court previously granted
Maxfield's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
(Docket 8) and granted Maxfield's motion to amend. Docket
14. On May 9, 2018, Maxfield filed a second amended
complaint. Docket 17. On July 25, 2018, defendants Tony
Larson and Garrett Ortmeier moved to dismiss the complaint
under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6).
Docket 25. On October 4, 2018, defendants Jamie Hare, Josh
Boll, Justin Youngwirth, Aaron Vogel, Kylie Franklin, Patty
Dunwoody, Cindy Strongheart, Glen Ullin, Eddie Rice, and the
County of Walworth (hereinafter the County Defendants) filed
an answer to Maxfield's second amended complaint. Docket
42. In their answer, the County Defendants argue that
Maxfield's complaint should be dismissed under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Id.; see
also Docket 43. Maxfield opposes dismissal. Dockets 36,
November 23, 2018, Maxfield filed a third amended complaint.
Docket 60. Defendants move to strike the third amended
complaint. Docket 64. Maxfield has also filed various
miscellaneous motions. Dockets 27, 40, 57, 71, 74.
alleges that on May 13, 2017, he was traveling to Sioux Falls
for a scheduled reconstructive surgery on his hand when he
was stopped on the interstate, arrested, and charged with
ingestion. Docket 17 at 5. The next day, he alleges that he
informed Lieutenant Kylie Franklin of the Walworth County
Jail that his left hand and arm were broken and he had a
scheduled surgery. Id. at 6. He also claims that he
told Franklin about his mental health history and what
medications he needed to take. Id. He alleges that
Franklin repeatedly ignored him, taunted him, and refused to
give him pain medication or mental health medication.
states that Eddie Rice placed him in the solitary housing
unit (SHU) on May 26, 2017. Docket 60 at 6. He claims that he
asked Rice for Ibuprofen and a wrap for his arm, but Rice
refused, claiming that Maxfield had faked his injury.
Id. He alleges that he was “blackboxed”
during court hearings despite his broken hand and arm, while
others were handcuffed, and Jamie Hare, the State's
Attorney for Walworth County, knew about his injury. Docket
17 at 7.
2017, Aaron Vogel transported Maxfield to Mobridge Regional
Hospital where he received an X-ray. Id. at 8;
Docket 60 at 8. Maxfield notes that Vogel refused to remove
Maxfield's handcuffs while a nurse examined his arm, but
he did remove the handcuffs for Maxfield's X-ray. Docket
60 at 8-9. He alleges that he was given medical care too late
because the nurse explained to him that his left arm healed
on its own incorrectly and it could only be corrected if the
bone were rebroken. Docket 17 at 8. And despite the
nurse's note approving him for Ibuprofen, Maxfield claims
that Franklin still refused to give him Ibuprofen when he
returned to the jail. Id.
claims that after he pleaded guilty to the charged offense,
he was placed on probation for two years. Id. He
then met Tony Larson, the court service officer assigned to
supervise him during probation, who informed Maxfield
numerous times that Maxfield must serve his probation
sentence in Mobridge rather than going to Sioux Falls.
Id. at 8-11. But Larson refused to give Maxfield
permission to reside at certain places. Id. He was
arrested more than once while on probation in Mobridge and
claims such arrests were directed by Larson. Id. at
was then arrested on July 15, 2017, and his BAC showed he was
intoxicated. Id. at 11. He claims that Correctional
Officer (CO) Eddie Rice placed him in general population
despite his intoxication after informing Maxfield that he did
not have time to place Maxfield in the drunk tank.
Id. at 12. Maxfield then assaulted another inmate
with a mop while intoxicated and claims it would not have
happened if he were placed in the drunk tank instead.
Id. He claims that he was then placed in segregation
“indefinitely” at the direction of Franklin,
where he was disciplined and denied his rights. Id.
19, 2017, Maxfield claims he suffered from extreme tooth
pain. Id. And when he begged for a medical kite, he
claims that Glen Ullin told him he could not write medical
kites or see medical personnel while under disciplinary
action. Id.; Docket 60 at 15. He also alleges that
jail personnel refused his mental health medication requests.
Docket 17 at 13. And he again alleges that Franklin refused
him Ibuprofen. Docket 60 at 15. He claims that CO Cindy
Strongheart warned him not to ask for his medication or he
would be sent to Yankton, likely referring to the South
Dakota Human Services Center. Docket 17 at 15. He also states
that Franklin, Dunwoody, and Strongheart denied help to him
to obtain his mental health medication. Docket 60 at 15.
alleges that in September 2017, his tooth pain increased
significantly. Docket 17 at 15. Dunwoody and Ullin, according
to Maxfield, denied him saltwater and Ibuprofen for several
hours. Id. A few days later, he finally saw a
dentist, who removed a tooth, gums, and bone from his jaw due
to an abscess that had formed and spread to the nerves in his
mouth. Id. at 16; Docket 60-1 at 3.
October 2017, Maxfield was transferred to the South Dakota
State Penitentiary. Docket 17 at 16. He claims that the
Walworth County officials did not submit his medication list
or separation order regarding another inmate to the
Department of Corrections (DOC), which resulted in an assault
from that inmate once he arrived at the Penitentiary.
Id. at 17.
Defendants' Motion to Strike Third Amended
move to strike Maxfield's third amended complaint (Docket
60) because it was filed outside the time allowed by Rule 15,
without their consent, without leave of court, and after
defendants had filed motions to dismiss Maxfield's second
amended complaint. Docket 64.
decision whether to allow a party to amend [his] complaint is
left to the sound discretion of the district court . . .
.” Popoalii v. Corr. Med. Servs., 512 F.3d
488, 497 (8th Cir. 2008) (citations omitted). “A party
may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within . .
. 21 days after serving it.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)(A).
“In all other cases, a party may amend its pleading
only with the opposing party's written consent or the
court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Motions to
amend should be freely given in order to promote justice but
may be denied when such an amendment would be futile.
Plymouth Cty. v. Merscorp, Inc., 774 F.3d 1155, 1160
(8th Cir. 2014).
Maxfield did not seek leave of court to file his third
amended complaint. But because motions to amend should be
freely given to promote justice, the court will consider the
factual allegations in Maxfield's third amended complaint
in conjunction with his second amended complaint to conduct a
thorough screening analysis of all claims. Maxfield has
provided more details in his third amended complaint that aid
the court's analysis. Thus, defendants' motion to
strike (Docket 60) is denied.
Motions to Dismiss
Standard of Review
considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept the
well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and draw
all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party.
Schriener v. Quicken Loans, Inc., 774 F.3d 442, 444
(8th Cir. 2014). Civil rights and pro se complaints must be
liberally construed. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007) (citation omitted); Bediako v. Stein Mart,
Inc., 354 F.3d 835, 839 (8th Cir. 2004). Even with this
construction, “a pro se complaint must contain specific
facts supporting its conclusions.” Martin v.
Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985); Ellis
v. City of Minneapolis, 518 Fed.Appx. 502, 504 (8th Cir.
2013). Civil rights complaints cannot be merely conclusory.
Davis v. Hall, 992 F.2d 151, 152 (8th Cir. 1993);
Parker v. Porter, 221 Fed.Appx. 481, 482 (8th Cir.
complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations .
. . [but] 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). “If a plaintiff cannot make the
requisite showing, dismissal is appropriate.”
Abdullah v. Minnesota, 261 Fed.Appx. 926, 927 (8th
Cir. 2008); see also Beavers v. Lockhart, 755 F.2d
657, 663 (8th Cir. 1985).
has brought a civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
“Section 1983 creates a species of tort liability for
the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution.” Manuel v. City of
Joliet, 137 S.Ct. 911, 916 (2017) (internal citation
omitted). “The essential elements of a constitutional
claim under § 1983 are (1) that the defendant acted
under the color of state law, and (2) that the alleged
wrongful conduct deprived the plaintiff of a constitutionally
protected federal right.” L.L. Nelson Enters., Inc.
v. Cty. of St. Louis, 773 F.3d 799, 805 (8th Cir. 2012)
(citing Schmidt v. City of Bella Villa, 557 F.3d
564, 571 (8th Cir. 2009)).
Court Service Officers
court service officers, Tony Larson and Garrett Ortmeier,
move to dismiss Maxfield's claim under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted, under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction, and to dismiss the official capacity
claims under the Eleventh Amendment. Docket 25. Larson and
Ortmeier argue that they are entitled to absolute judicial
immunity, claiming that a probation officer overseeing
compliance by a probationer is performing a judicial
function. Docket 26 at 4-5. They also argue that Maxfield has
failed to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Id. at 6.
‘Liability under section 1983 requires a causal link
to, and direct responsibility for, the deprivation of rights.
To establish personal liability of the supervisory
defendants, [the plaintiff] must allege specific facts of
personal involvement in, or direct responsibility for, a
deprivation of his constitutional rights.' ”
Clemmons v. Armontrout, 477 F.3d 962, 967 (8th Cir.
2007) (quoting Mayorga v. Missouri, 442 F.3d 1128,
1132 (8th Cir. 2006)). Maxfield includes Ortmeier in his
caption but fails to allege facts concerning how Ortmeier
played any role in the alleged deprivation of his rights.
Thus, Ortmeier is dismissed as a defendant in his individual
court will next address if immunity shields Larson from
liability. “ ‘[A]bsolute immunity defeats a suit
at the outset, so long as the official's actions were
within the scope of the immunity.' ” Sample v.
City of Woodbury, 836 F.3d 913, 916 (8th Cir. 2016)
(quoting Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 419 n.13
(1976)). “Where an official's challenged actions
are protected by absolute immunity, dismissal under Rule
12(b)(6) is appropriate.” Id. (citing
Patterson v. Von Riesen, 999 F.2d 1235, 1237 (8th
Cir. 1993)). But as the Supreme Court has noted, the
“presumption is that qualified rather than absolute
immunity is sufficient to protect government officials in the
exercise of their duties.” Burns v. Reed, 500
U.S. 478, 486-87 (1991). Thus, the official seeking the
application of absolute immunity “bears the burden of
showing that such immunity is justified for the function in
question.” Id. at 486.
the doctrine of qualified immunity, government officials are
shielded from suits for money damages unless the plaintiff
shows that the official's conduct “violate[d]
clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of
which a reasonable person would have known.” Harlow
v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982). The qualified
immunity standard allows government officials to make
“mistaken judgments” because it protects
“all but the ...