United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. Stivers, Judge United States District Court .
Matthew Rodgers filed a pro se complaint under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. At the time he filed the complaint,
Plaintiff was a prisoner incarcerated in the Hardin County
Detention Center (HCDC). However, Plaintiff subsequently
notified the Court of a change of his address that indicates
he is no longer incarcerated. The Court has granted Plaintiff
leave to proceed in forma pauperis. The complaint is
before the Court for 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 that follow,
the Court will dismiss Defendants Carman and Southern Health
Partners (SHP) and the claims against them and give Plaintiff
30 days to amend his complaint, if he so chooses.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
names two Defendants in this action, SHP and Carman.
Plaintiff identifies SHP as the medical provider at HCDC. He
identifies Carman as “Legal Risk Management” at
HCDC, and Plaintiff sues Carman in his individual and
official capacities. As relief, Plaintiff seeks punitive
damages. Plaintiff asserts that Defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his medical needs in violation of the Eighth
complaint, Plaintiff states that he is a former combat Marine
and that he suffers from “chronic anxiety, acute PTSD,
depression, insomnia, osteo-arthritis, and high blood
pressure.” Plaintiff states that he is prescribed
medication for “every one of these conditions”
and received his medications until November 12, 2016.
Plaintiff states that on November 12, 2016, SHP
“stopped giving [him his] medication that is to be
passed out twice daily.” Plaintiff states that on
November 13, 2016, he received only his evening medications,
not his morning medications.
states that on November 14, 2016, after not receiving his
morning medications, he asked the nurse about his
medications. According to Plaintiff, the nurse stated that
“she would bring it back later.” Plaintiff states
that he “also submitted a request asking why [he] was
missing [his] doses, especially the
‘life-sustaining' blood pressure medication.”
Plaintiff states that his “evening dose for 11-14-16
wasn't there and the nurse still didn't know
why.” Plaintiff requested that his blood pressure be
checked, “as [he] knew it was high.” He was told
it would be checked, but no one ever came and took his blood
pressure. Plaintiff says that at this point he had talked to
four different nurses about his medication, but “none
seemed concerned, or wasn't able to do anything about
it.” On November 15 and 16, Plaintiff states that again
he did not receive any medication. According to Plaintiff, on
November 15th, he again requested that his blood pressure be
checked. Plaintiff states that “no one came to check
it.” Plaintiff states that he “put in a second
request to be put back on meds, no response.”
morning of November 16, 2016, Plaintiff states he
“still had no meds, no explanation, & not had [his]
blood pressure checked.” Plaintiff states that he
“felt like [he] was going to burst.” Plaintiff
states that he “could feel [his] pulse in [his]
eyelids.” He states that he was “in a state of
chaos.” He says he felt “[a]nxious and paranoid
that [he] would be stuck in this state of anguish.”
According to Plaintiff, this caused Plaintiff to “bang
[his] face on a metal table 7 or 8 times.” According to
Plaintiff, he “busted [his] nose & mouth open,
bleeding profusely. This release of pressure mixed with
adrenaline relieved [him] temporarily until the pain set
in.” Plaintiff states that “[l]ess than 20
minutes after this, [he] received [his] meds and [has] been
on them ever since.”
STANDARD OF REVIEW
review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), a district court must
dismiss a case at any time if it determines that the action
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. 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b). A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an
arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). The trial court may,
therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on
an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual
contentions are clearly baseless. Id. at 327. 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)).
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 v. M & G Polymers,
USA, LLC, 561 F.3d at 488 (quoting Columbia Nat.
Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir.
1995)). The court's duty “does not require [it] to
conjure up unpled allegations, ” McDonald v.
Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979), or to create a
claim for a plaintiff. Clark v. Nat'l
Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir.
1975). To command otherwise would require the Court “to
explore exhaustively all potential claims of a pro
se plaintiff, [and] would also transform the district
court from its legitimate advisory role to the improper role
of an advocate seeking out the strongest arguments and most
successful strategies for a party.” Beaudett v.
City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
Claims Against Defendant Carman
sues Defendant Carman in his official capacity as
“Legal Risk Management” at HCDC.
“Official-capacity suits . . . ‘generally
represent  another way of pleading an action against an
entity of which an officer is an agent.'”
Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165 (1985)
(quoting Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of N.Y.,
436 U.S. 658, 690 n.55 (1978)). Suing Defendant in his
official capacity is the equivalent of suing his employer,
HCDC. See Lambert v. Hartman, 517 F.3d 433, 439-40
(6th Cir. 2008) (stating that civil rights suit against
county clerk of courts in his official capacity was
equivalent of suing clerk's employer, the county);
Bradford v. Hammond, No. Civ.A.3:05CVP459-H, 2005 WL
2739154, at *2 (W.D. Ky. Oct. 21, 2005) (construing a claim
against Louisville Metro Corrections as one brought against
Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government); Smallwood