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Clark v. Ramey

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

February 8, 2018




         Plaintiff Wilson Reese Clark filed the instant pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action proceeding in forma pauperis. This matter is before the Court on Defendants' motion to dismiss the action pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) (DN 31). For the reasons stated below, the motion will be denied.


         Plaintiff, a former inmate of the Kentucky State Penitentiary (KSP), sues 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, identified as employees of Correct Care Solutions.

         In the complaint, 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 that he was escorted by two corrections officers who witnessed his injury to medical. He asserts that he was seen by a non-Defendant nurse who called Defendant Ramey and told Ramey “that my finger looked broken and I was walking hunched over.” He states that the non-Defendant nurse also “asked Bruce Bauer could she give me something for the pain until Karen Ramey got their. He said ‘No, he'll be all right. He probably faking away.'” Plaintiff states, “Mrs. Karen Ramey never showed up, I was left to deal with the pain.” Plaintiff asserts that when he went to the nurse's station the next day 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 an incident which occurred on January 31, 2017. He states that he was placed in segregation “for filing grievances on staff in Medical.” According to the complaint, Defendant Holland and another non-Defendant officer 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 in the same position 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 his blood pressure reading was 220/120 and that the nurse, identified in a grievance attached to the complaint as Defendant Holland, “didn't know what to do. She ended up calling [D]octor [F]orte for further instructions.”

         Plaintiff also describes another incident which occurred on February 20, 2017. He states that he was “placed back in segregation due to staff retaliation for exercising (‘to petition the government for a redress of grievances') My 1st Amendment right[.]” He alleges that his blood pressure was high, he was feeling light-headed, and his left arm and left jaw were numb. After a corrections officer called medical and Plaintiff waited 30 to 35 minutes for medical personnel to come to his cell, 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 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.

         Upon initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007), the Court dismissed some claims and allowed the following § 1983 claims to proceed against all Defendants in their individual capacities: an Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs; a Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection claim in connection with Plaintiff's allegations of discrimination; and a First Amendment retaliation claim.

         II. STANDARD

         Courts apply the same standard under § 1915A as they do when addressing a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Moniz v. Cox, 512 F. App'x 495, 497 (6th Cir. 2013); Wilder v. Collins, No. 2:12-cv-0064, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64231, at *12-13 (S.D. Ohio May 8, 2012) (“When a complaint is screened under § 1915A, it is subjected to the same scrutiny as if a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim had been filed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).”). As another district court stated, “[A] motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is almost never an appropriate response when the court has already screened a prisoner complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) and directed the defendant to respond.” Moreno v. Beddome, No. CV 11-2333-PHX-DGC, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107901, at *4 (D. Ariz. Aug. 2, 2012).

         Under both § 1915A and Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), to survive a motion to dismiss, “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] 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)). “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The complaint need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ” yet must provide “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In addition, “[a] pro se ...

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