United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EPPS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
an inmate at Smith State Prison in Glennville, Georgia,
brought this case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 regarding
events alleged to have occurred at Augusta State Medical
Prison in Grovetown, Georgia. Plaintiff is proceeding pro
se. Before the Court is Officer Ryans's motion to
dismiss. (Doc. no. 32.) For the reasons stated below, the
Court REPORTS and
RECOMMENDS Officer Ryans's motion to
dismiss be GRANTED, (doc. no. 32).
named three Defendants in his complaint dated June 12, 2018:
(1) Warden Wilkes; (2) Officer Davis; and (3) Officer John
Doe. (Doc. no. 1, pp. 1-3, 10.) The complaint alleges the
January 17, 2017, Plaintiff was transferred to Augusta State
Medical Prison (“ASMP”) for a medical
appointment. (Id. at 11.) Plaintiff was housed in
segregation dorm 12-A, where Officer Davis was working.
(Id.) Inmate Michael Hubber was transferred with
Plaintiff and witnessed the entire series of events.
(Id.) Plaintiff and Mr. Hubber were taken to the
showers and left in separate locked showers until Officers
Davis and Doe moved them to individual cells. (Id.
at 11-12.) Officer Davis escorted Plaintiff to a cell and
locked Plaintiff in the cell. (Id. at 12.) Officer
Davis opened the tray flap in the door so Plaintiff could
stick his hands through and Officer Davis could remove
Plaintiff's handcuffs. (Id.) After Officer Davis
removed Plaintiff's handcuffs, Plaintiff kept his right
arm through the tray flap so he could ask Officer Davis about
consulting with a mental health counselor. (Id.)
Officer Davis asked Plaintiff to remove his arm from the tray
flap. (Id.) Plaintiff against expressed his concern
about seeing a counselor immediately. (Id.) Without
a response or warning, Officer Davis set the forty-five-pound
tray flap down on Plaintiff's arm and kicked the flap
against Plaintiff's arm six times before slamming the
flap on Plaintiff's arm six or seven more times with his
hands. (Id. at 12-13.) Officer Davis held the flap
up and yelled at Plaintiff to move his arm. (Id. at
did not realize his arm was bleeding until he pulled it back
into the cell. (Id.) Plaintiff pleaded for help
while Officer Davis locked the tray flap. (Id.)
Officers Davis and Doe abandoned Plaintiff, who remained in
the locked cell alone for over an hour with his artery cut in
two. (Id.) Plaintiff nearly bled to death after
being abandoned by Officer Davis, who knew Plaintiff was
bleeding profusely. (Id. at 14.) The dormitory
orderly, Mr. Humphrey, arrived over an hour later and
provided medical assistance. (Id. at 13-14.) While
performing his duties, Mr. Humphrey noticed the blood
Plaintiff had pushed under the door before collapsing on the
cell floor. (Id.) After seeing Plaintiff and the
floor of the cell, which was covered in blood, Mr. Humphrey
notified the control booth of the emergency situation in
Plaintiff's cell. (Id. at 14.)
Chance, Sgt. Ryles, and two nurses arrived to provide medical
assistance. (Id. at 15.) Both officers wore
camcorders but refused to document the blood loss despite
Plaintiff's pleas. (Id.) Plaintiff informed them
Officer Davis caused his injury. (Id.) Security
cameras in the dorms recorded the series of events.
(Id. at 16.) Plaintiff was transported by ambulance
to Augusta University Hospital, where he underwent surgery
and was hospitalized for two-and-a-half days. (Id.)
After surgery, the blood circulation specialist informed
Plaintiff they were able to resume blood flow after his
artery was severed but he may suffer permanent nerve damage.
(Id. at 17.) Plaintiff informed Augusta University
staff of the cause of his injury, and they never stated his
injury was self-inflicted. (Id.)
returning to ASMP, Plaintiff was under constant observation
in the prison hospital for three weeks. (Id. at 16.)
While Plaintiff was in the prison hospital, Warden Wilkes
conducted an inspection. (Id. at 18.) Plaintiff
attempted to speak to Warden Wilkes about the injury, but
once he realized who Plaintiff was, Warden Wilkes informed
Plaintiff he watched the camera footage and did not see
anything resembling Plaintiff's allegations.
(Id.) Plaintiff asked Warden Wilkes to preserve the
recording. (Id.) Plaintiff also requested the name
of the officer who injured him, but Warden Wilkes refused.
(Id. at 19.) Plaintiff was not familiar with ASMP
staff because he was only there for a medical appointment.
(Id.) Plaintiff attempted to obtain the names of
Officers Davis and Doe daily. (Id.) Plaintiff only
learned Officer Davis's name after another officer
“let it slip.” (Id.)
submitted a grievance, which Warden Wilkes turned over to the
Internal Affairs Unit. (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff's
nerve damage has not fully recovered after nearly two years.
(Id. at 17.) As relief, Plaintiff seeks $200, 000 in
compensatory damages and $999, 999.99 in punitive damages
against each Defendant. (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff also
seeks to charge Officer Davis with attempted murder.
August 31, 2018, Plaintiff's complaint was docketed, and
Plaintiff paid the filing fee. (Doc. no. 1.) On September 4,
2018, the Court provided basic instructions regarding the
progression of the case and how to serve Defendants. (Doc.
no. 4.) The Court informed Plaintiff he must serve Defendants
within ninety days from the date his complaint was filed.
(Id.) On December 7, 2018, Plaintiff moved for
additional time to serve Defendants. (Doc. no. 8.) On
December 11, 2018, the Court ordered the United States
Marshals Service to effect service on Plaintiff's behalf.
(Doc. no. 9.) On January 28, 2019, the Court entered an order
indicating the Marshals Service identified Defendant John Doe
as Horace Ryans and extended the service deadline. (Doc. no.
16.) Warden Wilkes waived service on January 3, 2019, (doc.
no. 19), and Officer Davis waived service on February 22,
2019, (doc. no. 21). On March 1, 2019, Warden Wilkes and
Officer Davis answered Plaintiff's complaint. (Doc. no.
March 14, 2019, the Marshals Service returned the waiver of
service form sent to Officer Ryans unexecuted, and, on March
19, 2019, the Court directed the Marshals Service to effect
personal service on Officer Ryans. (Doc. nos. 26, 27.) The
Marshals Service's first attempt at personal service on
Officer Ryans was insufficient because it was served on
Officer Ryans's father. (Doc. nos. 29, 30.) However,
counsel for Warden Wilkes and Officer Davis indicated he
would be willing to accept service on Officer Ryans's
behalf, and the Court asked counsel to file an executed
acknowledgement of service. (Doc. no. 30.) On April 18, 2019,
Officer Ryans filed an answer and the present motion to
dismiss. (Doc. nos. 31, 32.)
motion to dismiss, Officer Ryans argues Plaintiff's
claims against him are barred by the two-year statute of
limitations because the alleged violation occurred on January
17, 2017, and he was not named in this lawsuit until January
28, 2019, when the Court identified him based on information
from the Marshals Service. (See doc. no. 32-1.) In
response, Plaintiff argues he is entitled to equitable
tolling for the time between when the injury occurred and
February 15, 2017, ...