United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
DONALD JAMES, Individually and as administrator of the estate of Jennifer James, Plaintiff,
BARTOW COUNTY, GEORGIA, CLARK MILLSAP, in his individual capacity and in his official capacity as Sheriff of Bartow County, Georgia, GARY DOVER, DEREK COCHRAN, LT. TINA PALLONE, DALLAS WATSON, CAUSEY, JOY STANLEY, ANDREA CRUTCHFIELD, ARIEL HENDRICKS, JEREMY GAZERRO, NICOLE AGEE, and CORRECT HEATH L.L.C., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM S. DIJFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendants Bartow County, Clark
Millsap, Gary Dover, Derek Cochran, Tina Pallone, Dallas
Watson, Causey, Joy Stanley, Andrea Crutchfield, Ariel
Hendricks, and Jeremy Gazerro's (collectively, the
“County Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss  and
Defendants Nicole Agee and Correcthealth Bartow, LLC's
(collectively, the “Medical Defendants”) Motion
to Dismiss . Also before the Court is Plaintiff Donald
James's Second Motion to Amend Complaint 
(“Motion to Amend”).
is the surviving spouse of Jennifer James
(“James”) and the appointed administrator of her
estate. (Second Am. Compl. [24.1] ¶¶ 4-5).
Plaintiff brings this action both individually and as the
administrator of James's estate.
was a longtime resident of Cartersville, Georgia and had been
incarcerated in the Bartow County Jail many times.
(Id. ¶ 20). She had a longtime addiction
problem and was being held on a probation revocation for
failure to pass a drug test. (Id.). Prior to the
incident that gave rise to her death, James had been an
inmate at Bartow County Jail for approximately 215 days.
(Id. ¶ 19).
April 20, 2014, an inmate at Bartow County Jail smuggled
various illegal substances into the county jail, including
methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and bath salts.
(Id. ¶ 23). The illegal drugs, once in the
jail, were mixed with water and shared, by the smuggling
inmate, with other inmates, including James. (Id.).
James became ill after she ingested the mixture.
(Id. ¶ 24). She lost color in her face and
began throwing up and having seizure-like activity.
fellow inmates, at first, were too intimidated to push the
“panic” or intercom button for fear of possible
repercussions from the jailers. (Id.). When James's
fellow inmates eventually pressed the button to ask for help,
another fifteen to twenty minutes past before the first
jailer, Defendant Hendricks, arrived. (Id. ¶
25). During this 15-minute period, an inmate performed
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on James while waiting
for help to arrive. (Id.). When Defendant Hendricks
arrived at the pod, she called for Defendant Nicole Agee
(“Nurse Agee”), the only medical personnel
staffed at that time, for help. (Id.). Because Nurse
Agee was alone in the medical department, she did not come
immediately to James's pod. (Id.).
the other jailers and Nurse Agee arrived at the pod, James
was in her cell lying slightly on her right side awake but
gurgling with a clear liquid oozing out of her mouth.
(Id.). The inmates were yelling for help and
directing help to James's cell. (Id.). Nurse
Agee performed the Heimlich maneuver on James,
(id.), while jailers questioned the inmates about
contraband, (id. ¶ 26). James was placed on a
gurney in the hall where she remained for the next 45
minutes. (Id.). By that time, James was unresponsive
with only shallow respiration. (Id.).
Complaint alleges that Defendants did not immediately call
emergency medical services. (Id.). When James was
eventually taken to the hospital, she was put on life support
and remained in the intensive care unit. (Id. ¶
April 22, 2014, James was discharged from custody by the
Bartow County Sheriff's Office. (Id.).
April 28, 2014, James died. (Id.).
April 27, 2016, Plaintiff filed his original Complaint .
On May 2, 2016, the Court ordered  Plaintiff to file an
amended complaint to allege a proper basis for this
Court's venue under Local Rule 3.1. On May 12, 2016,
Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint . The Amended
Complaint alleges, against all Defendants, three violations
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for failure to protect (Count I),
deprivation of the right of due process (Count II), and
inadequate medical care (Count III). The Amended Complaint
also alleges two state claims for inadequate medical care
under O.C.G.A. § 42-5-2 (Count IV) and breach of
official bond against Defendant Millsap (Count V).
(See ). Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages,
punitive damages, reasonable attorney's fees, costs, and
other such relief as appropriate. (Id.).
August 29, 2016, the County Defendants moved to dismiss the
Amended Complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. (). On September 19, 2016, the Medical
Defendants also moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint under
Rule 12(b)(6). (). On September 20, 2016, Plaintiff filed
his Motion to Amend Complaint . As part of Plaintiff's
Second Amended Complaint (“Complaint”), Plaintiff
moved for permission to dismiss his federal claims against
the individual County Defendants in their official
capacities, and he moved for permission to dismiss his state
law claim against Defendant Bartow County (“Bartow
County”). ([24.1] at 1).
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Complaint
15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a
plaintiff to file one amended complaint as a matter of
course, if the amended complaint is filed either within
twenty-one (21) days of service of the original complaint or
within twenty-one (21) days of the defendant's filing of
a responsive pleading or Rule 12 motion to dismiss.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). Amended complaints outside of these
time limits may be filed only “with the opposing
party's written consent or the court's leave.”
decision whether to grant leave to amend a complaint is
within the sole discretion of the district court.”
Laurie v. Ala Ct. of Criminal Appeals, 256 F.3d
1266, 1274 (11th Cir. 2001). Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure provides that “[t]he court should
freely give leave [to amend] when justice so requires.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). “There must be a substantial
reason to deny a motion to amend.” Laurie, 256
F.3d at 1274. “Substantial reasons justifying a denial
include ‘undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive on the
part of the movant, . . . undue ...