United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Trinidad Jesus Garcia pro se Plaintiff.
M. Hill, Esq., and Joseph E. Flynn, Esq., Jardine, Logan
& O'Brien, PLLP, Counsel for Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. THORSON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
se Plaintiff Trinidad Jesus Garcia alleges that he fell
and injured himself due to a negligently-maintained shower at
Sherburne County Jail. (Doc. No. 43, Am. Compl. 4.) Defendant
Sherburne County Jail Administrator Brian Frank moves for
judgment on the pleadings on this claim. (Doc. No. 44.) For
the reasons stated below, this Court recommends that
Defendant's motion be granted.
April 7, 2017, this Court issued a Report and Recommendation
that recommended the dismissal of various defendants and
claims in this action. (Doc. No. 8, 4/7/17 Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) 6.) The Court also
granted Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma
pauperis with respect to the following claims: (1)
Garcia's claim against Sherburne County Jail
administrator Brian Frank that a negligently maintained
shower led to physical injuries; and (2) Garcia's
deliberate-indifference claims against MEND Medical Services,
Gwen Blossom, and Michelle Skroch. (R&R 5.) United States
District Judge Donovan W. Frank adopted this Court's
R&R on May 11, 2017. (Doc. No. 15.)
August 21, 2017, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. (Doc.
No. 43, Am. Compl.) Plaintiff's Amended Complaint removes
Skroch as a Defendant, but his allegations against Defendant
Frank are largely unchanged. (Id.) They are as
In regards to a specific incident that occur[r]ed on November
25th, 2016 at approximately 9:05 P.M. in Delta
South Unit, I fell and hit my head, injured my neck, my right
arm, my left lower back and my right shoulder.
This was due to negligence and failure to repair shower
number D3S3 right by my room in a timely manner where water
comes out of the shower and pools up near my door. I am in
pain due to this fall and may very well have ongoing serious
pain and medical issues in the future due to this fall.
(Am. Compl. 2.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendants MEND and
Blossom were deliberately indifferent to a variety of medical
concerns, including an injured ankle and dental issues due to
pulled teeth, dentures, and hurt gums. (Id.)
Plaintiff also alleges that MEND misdiagnosed an eye issue,
causing him to have unnecessary surgery on his right eye.
(Id. at 3.)
argues that Plaintiff's allegations fail to state an
actionable claim for relief under Section 1983, and that the
Court should not exercise jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
supplemental state law negligence claim. (Doc. No. 46,
Def.' Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot. for J. on the
Pleadings (“Def.'s Mem.”) 6-14.) Plaintiff
argues that the Court can exercise jurisdiction because he is
a federal prisoner in a federal prison facility. (Doc. No.
63, Pl.'s Mem. 2.) Plaintiff also argues that fact issues
should preclude judgment on the pleadings. (Id. at
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) provides that “[a]fter
the pleadings are closed--but early enough not to delay
trial--a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). Because Defendant Frank filed this motion
before he answered the operative complaint in this
matter--Plaintiff's August 21, 2017 Amended Complaint--
Defendant's motion is not a motion for judgment on the
pleadings. (See Doc. Nos. 43, 44.) The distinction
is not relevant, however, because the “same standards
that govern motions to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) also
govern motions for judgment on the pleadings under Rule
12(c).” Ellis v. City of Minneapolis, 860 F.3d
1106, 1109 (8th Cir. 2017). To survive such a motion,
Plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim for
relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Courts are
not required to accept as true legal conclusions
“couched as . . . factual allegations” in the
complaint. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause
of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Id. Courts do, ...