United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE
Powell is an inmate at the Northpoint Training Center, a
Kentucky state prison in Burgin, Kentucky. Proceeding without
a lawyer, Powell has filed a civil rights complaint [R. 1],
as well as a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
[R. 3] and a motion asking the Court to appoint him an
attorney [R. 5]. While the Court will permit Powell to
proceed in forma pauperis, it will deny his request for a
lawyer and dismiss his complaint.
Powell's short complaint, he alleges that he has had a
history of medical problems with his ankle and, therefore,
has worn “special jungle boots” for support. [R.
1 at 2]. Powell indicates that other correctional
institutions have provided him with the special boots, but
that the defendants have not given him the boots at
Northpoint. [R. 1 at 2-3]. Instead, Powell generically claims
the defendants “took them away” and removed
information about the boots from his medical records. [R. 1
completed and filed an inmate grievance form with the prison.
[R. 1-1 at 1-2]. Defendant Stephanie Thompson, a registered
nurse, responded by telling Powell, “When you were seen
by the provider, she did not feel you were in need of special
boots. You were issued ankle sleeves during that visit. You
now state that the ankle sleeves are no help. I will schedule
you to see Dr. Clifford for evaluation.” [R. 1-1 at 2].
Powell does not dispute the nurse's characterization of
events; in fact, although Powell appealed the nurse's
response to the prison's healthcare grievance committee,
he acknowledged that “the medical provider had stated
that I did not need [the special boots] anymore and that I
would be issued ankle sleeves.” [R. 1-1 at 3]. Powell,
however, took exception to that decision, describing it as
“one medical provider overrul[ing] the other”
while lacking information. [Id.]. The healthcare
grievance committee responded by telling Powell, “You
have been seen by Dr. Clifford; she will determine your need
for boots based on her clinical findings.” [R. 1-1 at
4]. Still unsatisfied, Powell sought further administrative
review. However, in August 2017, the prison's medical
director concurred with the healthcare grievance committee.
[R. 1-1 at 7].
then filed a civil rights complaint with this Court. Powell
first claims that the defendants were negligent. [R. 1 at
2-3]. Powell also claims that the defendants inflicted cruel
and unusual punishment on him in violation of the Eighth
Amendment to the Constitution “by not giving [him] the
proper treatment that he is entitled to.” [R. 1 at
3-4]. That said, Powell characterizes the defendants'
actions as “nothing but mere negligence.” [R. 1
at 4]. Powell is seeking an unspecified amount of
compensatory and punitive damages. [R. 1 at 4].
initial matter, the Court will grant Powell's motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis [R. 3] pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915. The Court will waive the $50.00
administrative fee in this case and will allow Powell to pay
the $350.00 filing fee in installments as set forth below.
That said, the Court will deny Powell's motion to appoint
counsel. [R. 5]. That is because, despite Powell's
suggestions to the contrary, he does not have a
constitutional right to a lawyer in this civil case, and this
matter does not present the kind of exceptional circumstances
that would otherwise justify the appointment of counsel.
See Lanier v. Bryant, 332 F.3d 999, 1006 (6th Cir.
Court has conducted an initial review of Powell's
complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. With respect
to Powell's Eighth Amendment claims, he fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. After all, to make
out such a claim, Powell would have to show that the
defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs. See Blackmore v. Kalamazoo County,
390 F.3d 890, 895 (6th Cir. 2004) (citing Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)). Here, even if the
Court assumes that Powell's medical needs are serious,
there is no indication that any of the defendants acted with
deliberate indifference to those needs. Rather, Powell's
allegations simply relate to a judgment call about whether he
would benefit more from boots or ankle sleeves-a decision
that medical officials at the prison are still apparently in
the process of making. And while Powell briefly claims that
the defendants removed information about boots from his
medical records, his submissions demonstrate that he is still
receiving medical attention for his ankle. Thus, it is clear
that Powell is only taking issue with the adequacy of the
treatment he is receiving. That is simply not enough to make
out an Eighth Amendment claim of cruel and unusual
punishment. See Graham ex rel. Estate of Graham v. County
of Washtenaw, 358 F.3d 377, 385 (6th Cir. 2004);
Wright v. Sapp, 59 F. App'x 799, 801 (6th Cir.
2003); Simpson v. Ameji, 57 F. App'x 238, 239
(6th Cir. 2003). Thus, the Court will dismiss those claims.
while Powell has not stated viable claims under the Eighth
Amendment, the Court reaches no conclusion as to his
negligence claims, which appear to be medical malpractice
claims. Instead, the Court simply declines to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over these claims. This is because
the Court concludes that the balance of judicial economy,
convenience, fairness, and comity all point toward declining
jurisdiction over those state law claims. See 28
U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3); Carnegie-Mellon University v.
Cohill, 484 U.S. 343 (1988); Musson Theatrical, Inc.
v. Federal Exp. Corp., 89 F.3d 1244, 1255 (6th Cir.
1996) (noting that “[a]fter a 12(b)(6) dismissal, there
is a strong presumption in favor of dismissing supplemental
it is hereby ORDERED as follows:
$50.00 administrative fee in this case is
WAIVED. That said, 28 U.S.C. § 1915
requires that Powell pay the $350.00 filing fee as set forth
Clerk of the Court shall open an account in Powell's name
for receipt of the filing fee. The Clerk shall complete a
Notice of Payment Form (E.D. Ky. Form 525) with (a)
Powell's name, (b) his inmate registration number, and
(c) this case number. The Clerk shall then send a copy of
this Order and the Notice of Payment Form to the
Jailer/Warden of the institution in which Powell is currently