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Parr v. United States

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

March 23, 2017

ROBERT PARR, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          KAREN K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on defendant Dr. Maria Marrero's motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for summary judgment concerning plaintiff Robert Parr's first amended complaint. (DE 22). For the following reasons, Dr. Marrero's motion is DENIED.

         I. Background

         A lengthy discussion of the facts is not necessary for disposing of this motion.

         Parr was incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center located in Lexington, Kentucky, from January 21, 2014, until July 10, 2015. He has severe diabetes and alleges that the United States and Dr. Marrero, [1] the regional medical director, failed to provide him with “prompt, reasonable and medically necessary medical treatment.” (DE 14, First amended complaint at 1).

         Parr brought suit against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act and against Dr. Marrero individually under the Eighth Amendment. Only Parr's claim concerning Dr. Marrero is currently before the Court.

         II. Analysis

         As an initial matter, the Court notes that Parr's claim against Dr. Marrero is a Bivens action. See Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). In that case, the Supreme Court “established that the victims of a constitutional violation by a federal agent have a right to recover damages against the official in federal court despite the absence of any statute conferring such a right.” Carlson v. Green, 446 U.S. 14, 18 (1980). Bivens claims are the federal parallel to claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against individuals acting under color of state law. See Robertson v. Lucas, 753 F.3d 606, 614 (6th Cir. 2014).

         A. Dr. Marrero's motion to dismiss

         First, the Court will analyze Parr's claim through the lens of Dr. Marrero's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Such a motion is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). That rule is a mechanism to enforce Rule 8, which governs the sufficiency of a complaint. In determining whether a plaintiff has properly pled a claim, the Supreme Court has stated that: “[w]hen there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).

         Here, Parr has alleged that Dr. Marrero violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by exhibiting deliberate indifference to his medical needs. Dr. Marrero argues that qualified immunity protects her from suit.

         As to whether Parr's factual allegations plausibly state a violation of the Eighth Amendment, “[a] prisoner has adequately stated a cause of action when he alleges that prison authorities have denied reasonable requests for medical treatment in the face of an obvious need for such attention where the inmate is thereby exposed to undue suffering or the threat of tangible residual injury.” Scott v. Ambani, 577 F.3d 642, 648 (6th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Case law establishes that the inquiry into whether a prison official acted with deliberate indifference has both an objective and subjective component. Id.

         To satisfy the objective component, a plaintiff must show that his medical need is “sufficiently serious.” Id. A medical need will meet this definition if it is has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or is one that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the ...


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