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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Plaintiffs were relatives or representatives of 11 deceased patients and one surviving minor patient (collectively, the patients) at Nocona General Hospital. Plaintiffs alleged that Vickie Jackson, a nurse at the hospital, willfully deprived the patients of life and liberty interests by injecting them with a paralytic drug named Mivacron. Plaintiffs claimed that Jackson repeatedly stole Mivacron from hospital crash carts and used it to kill as many as 22 patients between November 2000 and February 2001. Defendant Charles R. Norris was alleged to have been the hospital administrator at Nocona during the relevant time period, with general administrative and supervisory authority over the hospital staff and policymaking authority over drug storage and medical care. Defendant Barbara Jean Perry was alleged to have been the director of nursing at Nocona during the relevant time period, with supervisory and training authority over Jackson. Plaintiffs filed suits against Jackson, the hospital, Norris, Perry, and 11 other defendants. Plaintiffs claimed Jackson’s actions deprived the patients of their substantive due process rights to life and liberty. Plaintiffs also alleged that the hospital, Norris, Perry and the other defendants were liable for these constitutional violations based on their conscious or deliberate indifference to the activities of Jackson, the disappearing Mivacron from the crash carts, and the ever-increasing number of unexplained deaths. Norris and Perry filed motions to dismiss the claims against them based on qualified immunity, but the trial court denied their motions and found that that Plaintiffs had stated a �1983 claim against Norris and Perry. Defendants Norris and Perry appealed. HOLDING:Affirmed. Norris and Perry contend that dismissal is appropriate because Plaintiffs have failed each prong of the test to demonstrate the inapplicability of the qualified immunity defense. Specifically, they argued that plaintiffs failed to claim that the defendants committed a constitutional violation under current law and that the defendants’ actions were objectively unreasonable in light of the law that was clearly established at the time of the actions complained of. The court states that the issue framed before it is whether the allegations of the complaints support supervisory liability on the part of Norris and Perry when their subordinate, Nurse Jackson, violated the patients’ constitutional rights. The court notes that supervisors may be liable for constitutional violations committed by subordinate employees when supervisors act, or fail to act, with deliberate indifference to violations of others’ constitutional rights committed by their subordinates. The court finds that plaintiffs alleged Norris and Perry knew both that a dangerous drug was missing and that patients were dying at an unusually high rate. They also alleged that although Norris and Perry should and could have investigated the deaths and missing drugs or changed hospital policy, they did nothing for a considerable period of time. For Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) purposes, the court finds that the requisite deliberate indifference is sufficiently alleged. The court then moves on to the second prong of the test and states that to be “clearly established” for purposes of qualified immunity, the contours of the right must be sufficiently clear that a reasonable official would understand that what he is doing violates that right. The court notes that plaintiffs alleged that Norris and Perry failed to comply with a number of relevant state statutes, including Chapter 133 of the Texas Administrative Code, the Texas Pharmacy Act, the Texas Health & Safety Code, and Texas Revised Civil Statutes Article 4590i. Plaintiffs argue that these alleged violations of state statutes imposed non-discretionary duties upon Norris and Perry, vitiating their qualified immunity defense altogether. The court finds that that plaintiffs’ well-pleaded facts are sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. OPINION:King, C.J.; King, C.J., and Barksdale and Clement, JJ.

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