United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
STEPHEN HYLES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss (ECF
No. 15) Plaintiff's claims against it. For the reasons
explained below, it is recommended that Defendant's
motion be granted.
claims arise from Defendant New Horizon's alleged failure
to treat his mental health needs. Plaintiff alleges that he
had an appointment at New Horizons on June 4, 2016, to see
his psychiatrist. Compl. 1, ECF No. 1. Plaintiff waited for
several hours without being seen before a receptionist
informed him that his psychiatrist “was out due to
having a death in the family.” Id. Plaintiff
told the receptionist that he was out of medication and
requested to see another practitioner. Id. The
receptionist told Plaintiff that he could not be seen that
day and told Plaintiff to come back that Friday. Id.
On Friday, Plaintiff again traveled to New Horizons and
waited for several more hours without seeing a psychiatrist.
Id. at 1-2. He once again informed the receptionist
that he was out of medication. Id. The receptionist
told Plaintiff that no practitioners had openings that day
and that it would be “best” for Plaintiff to come
back the following week. Compl. 2.
Friday evening, Plaintiff alleges he “started getting
sick.” Id. Plaintiff states he suffered from
severe anxiety attacks, and “extreme insomnia and
paranoia.” Id. Plaintiff again attempted to be
seen at New Horizons the following Monday, but was
unsuccessful. Id. After Plaintiff had been waiting
for nearly three hours, a receptionist informed Plaintiff
that his psychiatrist “had taken an immediate vacation
and someone would call [Plaintiff] when they contacted
him.” Id. Plaintiff again told the
receptionist that he wasn't feeling well but was told he
“just needed to hang in there until they could fit
[him] into someone else['s] schedule.” Id.
evening, Plaintiff states his “anxiety and paranoia was
worse” and that he “thought [he] was going to die
from [his] anxiety attacks.” Compl. 2.
Plaintiff alleges he “began hallucinating that if [he]
didn't get medication soon, [he] was going to die.”
Id. Plaintiff “waited days to hear from New
Horizons as they had promised” but never received an
appointment. 2nd Suppl. Compl. 2, ECF No. 8. Plaintiff
ultimately decided that “the only way to cure [himself]
was with . . . street drugs.” Compl. 2-3. Because he
“had no money to get any drug, [he] took a chance by
committing a crime to get some quick cash to
self-medicate[.]” Id. at 3. Plaintiff was
caught and jailed, and he alleges that “since being in
jail New Horizon has refuse[d him] mental health
initial complaint was docketed on January 30, 2018 (ECF No.
1). He submitted his first supplemental complaint on February
22, 2018 (ECF No. 5). On March 26, 2018, the Court granted
Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis but
also directed him to further supplement his complaint-which
Plaintiff did on April 17, 2018 (ECF No. 8). Order 1, ECF No.
7. Following preliminary review of Plaintiff's
supplemented complaint, his mental health treatment claims
against Defendant were allowed to proceed for further factual
development. Order 1, Aug. 15, 2018, ECF No. 9. Defendant
moved to dismiss his claims against it on October 5, 2018,
arguing Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted. Mot. to Dismiss 1, ECF No. 15.
contends that Plaintiff's claims should be dismissed
because Plaintiff “can prove no set of facts [to]
support  his claim that Defendant violated Plaintiff's
Eighth Amendment rights.” Br. in Supp. of Mot. to
Dismiss 5, ECF No. 15-1. Specifically, Defendant argues that
because Plaintiff was not detained under a conviction or
otherwise in Defendant's custody, his claims must be
dismissed. Id. at 5-9. Plaintiff responds by arguing
that, because he registered for, and was given an appointment
at, Defendant's facility while on probation in December
2015, he was in Defendant's custody during the alleged
June 2016 incident which is the basis for his complaint. 2nd
Resp. to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss 2-4, ECF No. 21. The
Court finds that Plaintiff was not in Defendant's custody
during the events complained of, and thus recommends that his
claim against it be dismissed.
complaint fails to state a claim if it does not include
“sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The factual allegations in a complaint
“must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level” and cannot “merely create a
suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (first alteration in original).
Eighth Amendment's “Cruel and Unusual Punishments
Clause circumscribes the criminal process in three
ways.” Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651, 667
(1977). First, it “limits the kinds of punishment that
can be imposed on those convicted of crimes.”
Id. Next, it prohibits “punishment grossly
disproportionate to the severity of the crime.”
Id. And, finally, it “imposes substantive
limits on what can be made criminal and punished as
such.” Id. The Eighth Amendment, generally,
does not apply to punishments imposed outside the criminal
process, such as deportation. Ingraham v. Wright,
430 U.S. at 667-68. Persons held as pre-trial detainees are
protected from cruel and unusual punishment by the Fourteenth
Amendment's incorporation of the Eighth. Goebert v.
Lee Cty., 510 F.3d 1312, 1326 (11th Cir. 2007)
(“Technically, the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process
Clause, not the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and
unusual punishment, governs pretrial detainees . . .
[h]owever, the standards under the Fourteenth Amendment are
identical to those under the Eigth.”).
those protections do not extend beyond those in a custodial
relationship with the state. DeShaney v. Winnebago Cty.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 489 U.S. 189, 200 (1989)
(“[I]t is the State's affirmative act of
restraining the individual's freedom  through
incarceration, institutionalization, or other similar
restraint of personal liberty which is the deprivation of
liberty triggering the protections of the Due Process
Clause[.]”). The Eleventh Circuit has “been
explicit in stating that [a claim of] deliberate indifference