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Clark v. Ramey

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah

May 15, 2017



          Greg N. Stivers, Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiff Wilson Reese Clark filed the instant pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action proceeding in forma pauperis (DN 1). The complaint is now before the Court for initial screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). For the reasons stated below, the Court will dismiss some claims and allow other claims to proceed for further development.


         Plaintiff, an inmate housed at the Kentucky State Penitentiary (KSP), names the following Defendants: Karen Ramey, identified as an ARPN at KSP; Bruce Bauer, Amber Switzer, and Tosha Winn, identified as nurses at KSP; and Jill Shelton and Heather Holland, each of whom Plaintiff identifies as employees of “CCS” in Nashville, Tennessee.

         Plaintiff alleges that he was injured on October 30, 2016, and requested treatment for his back and pointer finger on his right hand. He states when he went to the nurse's station he was told to come back by Defendant Ramey and “by Nurse Bruce Bauer who openly expresses his dislike for people of color.” The following day, Plaintiff reports that he was told by Defendants Shelton, Bauer, and Ramey that they were not going to treat his injuries.

         Plaintiff further states, “I seen a inmate who was white, have the same injuries as me and he'll get top of the line treatment. As for people of color we have to settle for what we can get.” Plaintiff asserts, “Sinse Bruce Bauer has been a nurse he does not tolerate nurse's treating black inmates. So due to Bruce Bauer telling staff not to treat black inmates is the reason why nurses refuse to treat me.” Plaintiff alleges that he has “filed many grievances on the situation and the staff tell me if I file another grievance I will be placed in the segregation unit under investigation. Since then I've been placed on grievance restriction.” Plaintiff states, “My hand/finger is still broken and my lower back still cause's me pain. Medical will not treat me without Bruce Bauer's permission.”

         Plaintiff also reports a separate incident which occurred on January 31, 2017. He states that he was placed in segregation for filing grievances and that Defendant Holland and non-Defendant Corrections Officer Torres found him lying on the floor of his cell “non-responsive.” He states, “Nurse Holland said, ‘he's not normal anyway' this was heard by my neighbor . . . Michael Cooper who later told me what was said. She also said ‘He's probably just faking like most black inmates do to get the nurse over here. I'll come back and check him if Bruce Bauer tells me to.” Plaintiff asserts that 30 to 40 minutes later another corrections officer found him lying on the floor and called medical to report a medical emergency. Plaintiff states that it took ten to fifteen minutes for medical to come to his cell and another five minutes to take his blood pressure. He states that this violates corrections policies and procedures. He states that his blood pressure reading was 220/120 and that an unnamed nurse “didn't know what to do. She ended up calling doctor forte for further instructions.”

         Plaintiff also describes another incident which occurred on February 20, 2017. He states that his blood pressure was high, he was feeling light-headed, and his left arm and left jaw were numb. He was put in shackles to go to medical but could not walk and “again got lightheaded and fell-out.” He was taken back to his cell where he was made to stand and wait for the nurse and “almost fell on his face while my hands were restrained behind my back.” He states, “Nurse Switzer & Tosha Wynn showed up 15 minutes later. They comments about they shouldn't made to help anyone they didn't want to, especially not ‘niggers.' A few inmates heard these comments and started to cuss Nurse Switzer & Wynn. They openly speak racial epithets.”

         Plaintiff summarizes his claims as follows:

All staff mentioned[1] herein violated herein violated my 1st 4th 5th and 8th All staff mentioned in this complaint shown deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, all staff refused answer sick call slips and medical grievances. All medical staff left me to suffer cruel & unusual pain as punishment for filing grievance, and last all staff mentioned shown racial discrimination because I am a Asiatic black man seeking medical treatment.

         As relief, he seeks compensatory and punitive damages; injunctive relief in the form of “ordering defendant to stop their bigotry against inmates of color”; and declaratory relief.


         When a prisoner initiates a civil action seeking redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee, the trial court must review the complaint and dismiss the complaint, or any portion of it, if the court determines that the complaint 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. See § 1915A(b)(1), (2); McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 at 604.

         In order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, “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 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (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.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[A] district court must (1) view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and (2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true.” Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted)). “But the district court need not accept a ‘bare assertion of legal conclusions.'” Tackett, 561 F.3d at 488 (quoting Columbia Natural Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir. 1995)). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and ...

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