United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
JIMMY E. RHODES, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Phil Gilbert United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant's motion to
dismiss (Doc. 15). Plaintiff has filed a response (Doc. 17)
in opposition to the motion. Defendant has filed a reply
(Doc. 20). Plaintiff, without leave of Court, filed a
sur-reply (Doc. 21). Defendant has filed a motion to strike
the sur-reply (Doc. 22) and Plaintiff has filed a response
(Doc. 23) to that motion.
matter arose while Plaintiff was housed at the United States
Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois (“USP Marion”).
Plaintiff alleges in his Complaint that he works in
UNICOR's Cable Factory at USP Marion and that there are
not enough toilets to accommodate the number of employees at
the facility. (Doc. 10, p. 2). Plaintiff alleges that there
are only eleven toilets when OSHA regulations dictate that
there should be thirteen. As a result of the limited toilets
in the work facility, Plaintiff has defecated on himself
while waiting in long lines for the bathroom. (Id.).
Plaintiff's sole claim is a claim against the United
States under the Federal Tort Claims Act
(“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-80.
Defendant argues that Plaintiff's Complaint should be
dismissed because Plaintiff's sole remedy for his
injuries are found under the Inmate Accident Compensation Act
(“IACA”). 18 U.S.C. § 4126, 28 C.F.R.
301.101, et seq.
to Dismiss Standard
reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court
accepts as true all allegations in the complaint.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure
to state a claim, a complaint must contain a “short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This
requirement is satisfied if the complaint (1) describes the
claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant fair notice
of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests and
(2) plausibly suggests that the plaintiff has a right to
relief above a speculative level. Bell Atl., 550
U.S. at 555; see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009); EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., 496
F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007). “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl.,
550 U.S. at 556). “[I]t is not enough for a complaint
to avoid foreclosing possible bases for relief; it must
actually suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief . .
. by providing allegations that ‘raise a right to
relief above the speculative level.'” Concentra
Health Servs., 496 F.3d at 777 (quoting Bell
Atl., 550 U.S. at 555).
Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Sur-Reply
filed a reply (Doc. 21) to Defendant's reply brief (Doc.
20). The Court's Local Rules clearly state that sur-reply
briefs will not be accepted “[u]nder [any]
circumstances.” SDIL Local Rule 7.1(c). Although
Plaintiff argues that he needed to respond to Defendant's
reply in order to take issue with errors and omissions in the
brief, his subsequent reply constitutes a sur-reply which is
not allowed by this Court. Nor does the Court find any errors
and omissions in Defendant's reply brief as Plaintiff
suggests. Accordingly, Defendant's motion is
GRANTED and Plaintiff's sur-reply (Doc.
21) is STRICKEN from the record.
IACA is the exclusive remedy for inmates injured while
working for the federal prison. United States v.
Demko, 385 U.S. 149, 152-54 (1966); 28 C.F.R.
§301.319. The parties dispute whether Plaintiff's
injuries fall within the purview of the IACA. Defendant
argues that Plaintiff's injuries are
“work-related” while Plaintiff argues that his
injuries occurred while he was on a break and in the bathroom
outside of the work area. “[T]he term work-related
injury…include[s] any injury, including occupational
disease or illness, proximately caused by the actual
performance of the inmate's work assignment.” 28
C.F.R. §301.102(a). This Court has previously noted that
an injury is “work-related” when there is
“some nexus between the injury and the work itself
beyond just the time and place of the injury.”
Reynolds v. United States, No. 15-cv-262-JPG, 2019
WL 2353486, at * 3 (S.D. Ill. June 6, 2019) (finding that
claim involving an inmate assaulted by another inmate while
on a work break was not barred by the IACA).
case, Plaintiff alleges that he defecated on himself because
UNICOR's facility did not have enough toilets for the
number of inmates working. As Defendant points out, it is the
conditions of the workplace, the lack of an adequate number
of toilets, that led to Plaintiff's injury. Other Court
shave similarly found that injuries sustained from the
conditions of the workplace were covered by the IACA.
Mays v. United States, 567 F. App'x. 81, 82 (3rd
Cir. 2014) (inmate's injury sustained while slipping and
falling on a wet floor barred by IACA even though it occurred
while on break); Rivera v. Gupta, 836 F.3d 839, 840
(7th Cir. 2016) (noting that FTCA claim for inmate slipping
and falling on wet floor was properly dismissed as barred by
IACA); Wooten v. United States, 437 F.2d 79, 80 (5th
Cir. 1971) (inmate injured by a malfunctioning elevator in
the prison industries building). Although Plaintiff argues
that the IACA does not provide compensation for injuries
suffered outside of the work location, including going to or
leaving work or going or coming from lunch outside of the
work station, Plaintiff's injuries occurred in the work
location. See Mays, 587 F. App'x. at 82
(injuries sustained while inside the work area while an
inmate was going to or coming from break are covered by IACA)
(citing Wooten, 437 F.2d at 80); Baynes v.
U.S., 302 F. App'x. 334, 335-36 (6th Cir. 2008) (the
IACA applied to inmates injured in work bus accident on the
way to work site). Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that the
work facility does not have enough bathrooms, and as a
result, he was injured. Thus, his injury occurred as a result
of a workplace condition. As such, the Court finds that the
injury falls within the definition of
“work-related” and Plaintiff's sole remedy is
the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion to
dismiss (Doc. 15) and DISMISSES
Plaintiff's Complaint with ...