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Norris v. Marrero

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

December 24, 2014

LARRY NORRIS, Plaintiff,
DR. MARRERO, et al., Defendants.


DANNY C. REEVES, District Judge.

Plaintiff Larry Norris is a federal inmate currently housed in the St. Louis Residential Reentry Management Office ("St. Louis RRMO") in St. Louis, Missouri.[1] Norris was previously confined in the Federal Medical Center ("FMC") in Lexington, Kentucky, from April 28, 2008, to May 13, 2011. [Record No. 1, p. 14] Proceeding pro se, Norris has filed a Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and the doctrine announced in Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). [Record No. 1] He asserts claims arising under the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution, Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("RA"), 29 U.S.C. § 794. [ Id. ] The named defendants are FMC-Lexington prison personnel: Dr. Marrero; Dr. Growse, Medical Director; Ms. Lief, Therapist; and Ms. Carpenter, Nurse. Norris seeks compensatory damages totaling $4, 070, 000.00.

Because Norris asserts claims against government officials, the Court conducts a preliminary review of his Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The Court must dismiss any claim that is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 607-08 (6th Cir. 1997). Norris's Complaint is evaluated under a more lenient standard because he is not represented by an attorney. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Burton v. Jones, 321 F.3d 569, 573 (6th Cir. 2003). At this stage of the proceedings, the plaintiff's factual allegations are accepted as true, and his legal claims are liberally construed in his favor. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007).

The Court has given Norris's Complaint a broad construction. However, Norris has failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted. Moreover, his suit is time-barred. Accordingly, the Complaint will be dismissed against all defendants.


Norris's claims against the defendants are identical. He alleges that each:

... acting under color of law and acting in [his or her] official capacity or exercising [his or her] responsibility pursuant to federal statutes and BOP Policies and Procedures knew or should have known that [he or she] was abusing or exceeding [his or her] authority in violation of law, the ADA and § 504, to wit: denial of access to necessary medical care; denial of food; denial of properly filing a legitimate grievance and undermining the grievance process; placing Plaintiff in isolation such that his mental disability was augmented and he suffered a form of mental torture; physically abusing Plaintiff, allowing for Plaintiff to be physically abused, and failing to properly train and supervise subordinates who physically abused Plaintiff; and mentally abusing Plaintiff, allowing Plaintiff to be mentally abused, and for failing to properly train and supervise subordinates who mentally abused Plaintiff.

[Record No. 1, pp. 15-17]

Norris states that he is "by fact and by law a qualified individual with a disability, '" suffering from, inter alia: diabetes, congestive heart failure, hypertension, high cholesterol, Hepatitis C, tuberculosis, anxiety disorders, depression, and antisocial personality disorder. [Record No. 1, pp. 7, 13-14] The Complaint contains a host of vague allegations. Norris appears to allege that, during his confinement at FMC-Lexington, he received inadequate medical care in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights, the ADA, and the RA. [ Id. at p. 14] Specifically, he claims that the defendants: (1) denied the plaintiff access to necessary medical care; (2) denied him proper foot wear; (3) improperly placed the plaintiff in isolation; (4) forced him to work in an environment that exacerbated his existing mental disabilities; and (5) delayed providing treatment for an obvious condition. [Record No. 1] Norris asserts that these actions amount to "deliberate indifference" under the Eighth Amendment and discrimination based on his disabilities in violation of the ADA and RA. Finally, he appears to assert a Fifth Amendment due process claim, alleging that he was prevented from pursuing his grievances through the administrative process. [ Id. at p. 6]


A. Official Capacity Claims

To the extent that Norris may be asserting Fifth and Eighth Amendment claims against the defendants in their official capacities, the claims will be dismissed. In Bivens, the Supreme Court created a private right of action for damages against federal officers who are alleged to have violated a citizen's constitutional rights. See Correctional Services Corp. v. Malesko, 534 U.S. 61, 66 (2001). A Bivens claim may only be asserted against federal employees in their individual capacities. It may not be asserted against federal employees or officers in their official capacities. Okoro v. Scibana, 63 F.Appx. 182, 184 (6th Cir. 2003); Cuco v. Fed. Med. Center-Lexington, No. 05-CV-232-KSF, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49711 (E.D. Ky. June 9, 2006)..

When damages are sought against federal employees in their official capacities, the damages in essence are sought against the United States. See Clay v. United States, No. 05-CV-599-KKC, 2006 WL 2711750 (E.D. Ky. Sept. 21, 2006). Federal courts lack subject matter jurisdiction to consider a claim for damages against the United States in the absence of a clear waiver of sovereign immunity. United States v. Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206, 212-14 (1983). Accordingly, the claims ...

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