United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Yaseen, MCF-Oak Park Heights, pro se Plaintiff.
Jonathan D. Moler, Minnesota Attorney General's Office,
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
T. SCHULTZ, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Omar Yaseen, currently incarcerated at the Minnesota
Correctional Facility at Oak Park Heights, brought this
lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He claims the
Defendants, acting under the color of state law, violated his
constitutional rights by (1) using excessive force against
him during an altercation, (2) denying him due process during
a subsequent disciplinary hearing, and (3) being deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs. He also brings
claims for assault and negligence under Minnesota state law.
In this partial motion to dismiss, Defendants ask the Court
to dismiss some of Yaseen's claims and some of the named
parties in their entirety. For the reasons stated below, the
Court recommends that Yaseen's Fourteenth Amendment and
Eighth Amendment medical care claims be dismissed in their
entirety, and that the Eighth Amendment excessive force claim
be dismissed as against Defendants Reishus and Defiel. The
Court further recommends Yaseen's state law negligence
claim be dismissed.
November 2016 Altercation and Subsequent Disciplinary
alleges that, in November 2016, as Defendant Johannes Olivier
finished a medical assessment of Yaseen in his cell,
Defendants Seeclia Jaiteh, Daniel Meyer, Matthew Swanson,
Dustin Engh, Allison Zindlev, Lindsay Mosser, and
Amsden arrived. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 8, 19,
Docket No. 18. Meyer allegedly said “resisting staff,
” at which point Jaiteh, Swanson, Engh, Zindlev, and
Amsden began to strike and choke Yaseen. Id. at
¶ 21. Yaseen allegedly suffered bruises and a head
injury from these strikes. Id. Meyer, Johannes, and
Mosser watched these events occur, but did not intervene.
Id. at ¶ 22. Meyer then allegedly placed Yaseen
in a restrain chair in an outdoor area, despite Yaseen not
resisting or otherwise breaking any rules. Id. at
¶¶ 23-24. Yaseen was subsequently taken to a
clinic, where his injuries were examined. Id. at 28.
alleges that, prior to the November 2016 altercation, he, or
other inmates, attempted to warn Defendants Tom Roy, Michelle
Smith, David Reishus, and Sharlene Lopez about the abusive
behavior of their subordinates through numerous grievance
filings and complaints, but these Defendants took no action.
Id. at ¶ 27. Roy is the Commissioner of the
Minnesota Department of Corrections. Id. at ¶
13. Smith is the warden at Oak Park Heights. Id. at
¶ 11. Reishus is the Associate Warden of Operations at
Oak Park Heights. Id. at ¶ 9. Lopez is the
Program Director for the Administrative Segregation Unit at
Oak Park Heights. Id. at ¶ 7.
the incident, Yaseen alleges he was charged with disciplinary
violations for, among other things, assaulting and
threatening staff and inciting a riot. Id. at ¶
29. The officials who oversaw the disciplinary
hearing allegedly declined to call any of the
witnesses Yaseen requested. Id. at ¶ 31. Yaseen
further alleges that the statements by prison staff relied on
by the hearing officials were entirely devoid of any facts
demonstrating that he incited a riot among other inmates.
Id. at ¶ 34. The officials found Yaseen guilty
of the alleged violations and sentenced him to 150 days of
disciplinary segregation, 30 days of extended incarceration,
and placement for one year on the Administrative Control
Status Program. Id. at ¶ 32. Yaseen states that
he appealed the decision to Defendants Smith and Roy, but
they denied the appeal. Id. at ¶¶ 35-36.
Yaseen's Medical Care
also makes allegations relating to his medical treatment.
Specifically, he alleges that, while seeing a neurology
specialist at a medical clinic, the specialist wrote a note
to be sent back to Oak Park Heights. Id. at ¶
37. Yaseen does not allege what the specialist told him or
what was in the note.
further alleges that, beginning in December 2017, he has
submitted repeated requests to get an appointment with a
neurology specialist and to receive physical therapy.
Id. at ¶¶ 38-39. When those requests
allegedly went unanswered, he filed grievances, which he
understands go to “individuals responsible for the
matter that the grievance concerns.” Id. at
¶¶ 39-40. He alleges that, at the time he filed his
lawsuit, four months have passed, but he has received no
response, despite suffering significant pain. Id. at
Amended Complaint raises an Eighth Amendment excessive force
claim, one or more Fourteenth Amendment due process claims,
and an Eighth Amendment medical care claim. Invoking the
Court's supplemental jurisdiction, it also raises a state
law assault claim based on the same allegations as the
excessive force claim, and a state law negligence claim based
on the same allegations as the medical care claim. The Court
agrees with the Defendants that Yaseen's due process
claims and medical care claims should be dismissed in their
entirety, and that two of the Defendants should have the
excessive force claims against them dismissed.
survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a
complaint “must allege sufficient facts that, taken as
true, ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” K.T. v. Culver-Stockton Coll., 865
F.3d 1054, 1057 (8th Cir. 2017) (quoting Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). It need not be
detailed, but it must contain more than a “[t]hreadbare
recital of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 662. “Though pro se complaints are to be construed
liberally, they still must allege sufficient facts to support
the claims advanced.” Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d
912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004) (internal citation omitted).
considering a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6),
a court accepts all of the factual allegations in the
complaint as true and draws all reasonable inference in favor
of the plaintiff. Aten v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., 511
F.3d 818, 820 (8th Cir. 2008). Courts “generally must
ignore materials outside the pleadings, ” but
“may consider some materials that are part of the
public record or do not contradict the complaint, ” as
well as “materials that are necessarily embraced by the
pleadings.” Porous Media Corp. v. Pall Corp.,
186 F.3d 1077, 1079 (8th Cir. 1999) (internal quotations
omitted). Courts may also consider material attached to a
complaint as part of the pleading itself. Abels v.
Farmers Commodities Corp., 259 F.3d 910, 921 (8th Cir.
Eighth Amendment Excessive Force Claim-Failure to
raises an excessive force claim, not just against the
Defendants he alleges were directly involved in the November
2016 incident, but also against Roy, Smith, Reishus, Defiel,
and Lopez. Liberally construed, he claims these
Defendants were deliberately indifferent to the serious
threat of excessive force by failing to supervise their
subordinates. Although he does not adequately plead facts
relating to Defiel or Reishus, Yaseen has adequately pleaded
a claim against the other three Defendants to survive a
motion to dismiss.
supervisor may not be held liable for a § 1983 claim
under a theory of respondeat superior. Wagner v.
Jones, 664 F.3d 259, 275 (8th Cir. 2011). Rather,
liability is limited to a supervisor's personal
involvement in a constitutional violation or “when the
supervisor's corrective inaction constitutes deliberate
indifference toward the violation.” Boyd v.
Knox, 47 F.3d 966, 968 (8th Cir. 1995). “A prison
official may be liable for failure to protect an inmate from
a use of excessive force if he is deliberately indifferent to
a substantial risk of serious harm to an inmate.”
Estate of Davis by Ostenfield v. Delo, 115 F.3d
1388, 1395 (8th Cir. 1997). To constitute such deliberate
indifference, “[t]he supervisor must know about the
conduct and facilitate it, approve it, ...