United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
CHERYL EDENFIELD, as Mother and Legal Guardian of QUINCY EDENFIELD, an incapacitated adult, Plaintiff,
GATEWAY BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES, Defendant.
GODBEY WOOD JUDGE
immunity bars Plaintiff Cheryl Edenfield's
("Cheryl") (as mother and legal guardian of Quincy
Edenfield ("Quincy")) state-law tort claims and
makes her motion to amend futile. But her 42 U.S.C. §
1983 ("Section 1983") claim survives, as does her
contract-breach claim. Thus, Defendant Gateway Behavioral
Services' ("Gateway") Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings, dkt. no. 14, will be GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part, and Cheryl's Motion to Amend the
Complaint, dkt. no. 15, will be DENIED.
Receives Gateway Services
Court assumes the truth of the facts alleged in the
complaint. Quincy has "Severe Autistic Disorder and
Unspecified Intellectual Disabilities." Dkt. No. 1-3
¶ 5. He receives housing, transportation, and behavioral
services from Gateway. Id. ¶ 8. Since May 2012,
Quincy has lived at a Gateway home. Id. ¶¶
6, 8a. Quincy goes to a Gateway day center between 8:30 A.M.
and 2:30 P.M. Id. ¶ 8b.
is Quincy's mother and has been his guardian and
conservator since March 23, 2015. Id. ¶ 7.
Quincy spends his weekends with her. Id. ¶ 8a.
"Prior to February 29, 2016 and on many occasions,
" Cheryl would notice wounds and bruises on Quincy when
picking him up from the Gateway center. Id. ¶
11. "When [she] would return [him] to Gateway and
question staff members concerning Quincy's wounds/bruises
and/or ask for a investigation, she would never obtain a
straightforward answer." Id. ¶ 12. In
particular, no one ever told Cheryl that Quincy was being
abused. Id. ¶ 12a. Early investigations did not
uncover abuse. Id. ¶ 12b.
Was Abused by a Gateway Employee
February 27, 2016, a Gateway staff member told another
employee that she had seen Gateway's Errol Wilkins
"hitting Quincy as well as another individual."
Id. ¶ 15. Cheryl did not learn of this.
Id. ¶ 14. On February 29, 2016, she brought
Quincy to a doctor for a medical examination. Id.
¶ 13. When she returned to Gateway, "no one . . .
would confess . . . that Quincy was being abused."
Id. ¶ 14.
Gateway launched an investigation that day. Id.
¶ 16. It substantiated the accusations, with employees
saying they had seen Wilkins "hit Quincy . . . with his
fist and/or open hand on several occasions and that this
has been going on for several weeks."
Id. ¶ 18 (alteration in original). Employees
claimed Wilkins would hit clients "[a]t least 2-3 times
a week, sometimes 2x per day, " "for about 3
months, " sometimes with a broken-off chair handle-and
that they feared him because he was "a former gang
member." Id. ¶¶ 21(g)-(i), 22(a),
25(a), 26(j)-(k); see also id. ¶ 25(g)-(h)
("Everyone has seen It and I heard Errol had been
spoken to about this . . . . a long time
ago." (alteration in original)), ¶ 26(h)
("I and the other staff have warned him that he
was going to get caught." (alteration in original)).
Wilkins was terminated. Dkt. No. 14-1 at 4; Dkt. No. 17 at
filed this lawsuit against Gateway in Glynn County State
Court on November 15, 2016. Id. at 2. She alleged
three state-law tort claims: failure to train and supervise,
negligent retention, and assault and battery. Id.
¶¶ 28-50. She also raised Section 1983.
Id. ¶¶ 51-56.
removed the case on December 22, 2016. Dkt. No. 1. It moved
for judgment on the pleadings on January 26, 2017. Dkt. No.
14. That motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for
disposition. Dkt. Nos. 17, 21. While briefing was ongoing,
Cheryl moved to amend her complaint. Dkt. No. 15. She seeks
to add Wilkins as a defendant, and to add a fourth state-law
tort claim, against Gateway and Wilkins for fraud.
Id. ¶¶ 63, 79-87. Gateway responded in
opposition, and that motion is also ripe. Dkt. No. 19.