United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
WILENE P. AIKEN, as Administratrix of the Estate of David E. Aiken, Plaintiff,
JEFFERSON COUNTY, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
BISSOON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 1, 2019, Plaintiff Wilene Aiken,
(“Plaintiff”), as the administratrix of the
Estate of David E. Aiken, filed an Amended Complaint
(hereinafter “Amended Complaint” or “Am.
Compl., ” Doc. 17) against Jefferson County, Humphrey
Charcoal Corporation, and John Does Nos. 1-5 (collectively,
“Defendants”). On April 15th, Humphrey
Charcoal Corporation (“Humphrey”) filed an
Answer, (hereinafter “Humphrey Answer, ” Doc.
18), asserting a crossclaim against Jefferson County and the
John Doe Defendants. On April 22th, Jefferson
County filed a Motion to Dismiss, (hereinafter, “Motion
to Dismiss Am. Compl., ” Doc. 19), arguing all counts
of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint asserted against it fail
to state a claim. Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition
(hereinafter, “Plaintiff's Response, ” Doc.
22) and Jefferson County filed a Reply, (Doc. 25).
6th, Jefferson County filed a Motion to Dismiss
Humphrey's crossclaim (hereinafter, “Motion to
Dismiss Crossclaim, ” Doc. 23). Humphrey opposed the
Motion on May 23rd, (hereinafter
“Humphrey's Response, ” Doc. 26.)
consideration of all briefing by the parties, Jefferson
County's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint, Doc. 19, will be DENIED and
Jefferson County's Motion to Dismiss Humphrey's
Crossclaim, Doc. 23, will be GRANTED.
son, David E. Aiken (“Mr. Aiken”), passed away on
July 21, 2017, from heat exhaustion. (Am. Compl. at ¶
5.) At that time, Mr. Aiken was a participant in a work
release program, working at Humphrey while residing at
Jefferson County Jail (hereinafter “Jail”).
(Id. at ¶¶ 6, 8-9.) Mr. Aiken was not
provided with transportation from the Jail to his placement
at Humphrey. (Id. at ¶¶ 12-13.)
date of his death, Mr. Aiken began to suffer from heat stroke
while working at Humphrey, and was permitted to sit in a room
with an air conditioner to try to alleviate his symptoms.
(Id. at ¶¶ 14-15.) At the close of the
workday, Plaintiff states a Humphrey employee contacted the
Jail to inquire about whether transportation was available to
assist Mr. Aiken. (Id. at ¶ 16.) The Humphrey
employee allegedly was told that he should “‘Make
him walk'” and no transportation would be provided
to Mr. Aiken. (Id. at ¶ 18.) Mr. Aiken began to
walk back to the Jail with two other adults, and when he
arrived at the bottom of the hill on which the Jail sat, he
passed out. (Id. at ¶¶ 20-21.) The two
adults with Mr. Aiken ran ahead to alert the Jail of Mr.
Aiken's condition. (Id. at ¶ 22.)
alleges that a “protocol” in place at the Jail
required Mr. Aiken's probation officer be alerted prior
to the Jail taking action to assist Mr. Aiken. (Id.
at ¶¶ 23-26.) Plaintiff alleges that a message sent
to Mr. Aiken's probation officer was not marked urgent,
did not indicate that the situation was an emergency, and
that the message was “ignored and/or disregarded”
by the probation officer. (Id. at ¶¶
24-25.) Mr. Aiken ultimately was life-flighted to the
hospital, but died en route. (Id. at ¶¶
County has moved to dismiss claims by Plaintiff and the
crossclaim of its co-defendant, Humphrey. “To survive a
motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain 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 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). When faced with a motion to dismiss, a court
“must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded
facts as true, but may disregard any legal
conclusions.” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578
F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009).
brings two claims pursuant to Section 1983 against Jefferson
County, the municipality that runs the Jail. (See
Am. Compl. at ¶ 2.) Plaintiff avers at Count I that
Jefferson County was deliberately indifferent to Mr.
Aiken's medical needs, in violation of its duties under
the Fourteenth and Eighth Amendment. (Id. at
¶¶ 37-48.) At Count II, Plaintiff argues that
Jefferson County violated Mr. Aiken's Constitutional
rights through its failures to adequately train and supervise
its employees to respond to medical emergencies, and that Mr.
Aiken's death ...