United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division Pikeville
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE.
Roscoe Chambers is an inmate confined at the United States
Penitentiary (“USP”) Lewisburg in Lewisburg,
Pennsylvania. Proceeding without an attorney, Chambers has
filed a civil rights action pursuant to Bivens v. Six
Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) in
which he alleges that Defendants acted with deliberate
indifference to his medical needs in violation of his
constitutional rights while Chambers was confined at United
States Penitentiary-Big Sandy (“USP-Big Sandy”)
in Inez, Kentucky. [R. 1]
separate order the Court has granted Chambers's motion to
proceed without prepayment of the filing fee. [R. 6]. Thus,
the Court must conduct a preliminary review of Chambers's
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2),
1915A. A district court must dismiss any claim that 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. McGore v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 607-08 (6th Cir. 1997). The
Court evaluates Chambers's complaint under a more lenient
standard because he is not represented by an attorney.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007);
Burton v. Jones, 321 F.3d 569, 573 (6th Cir. 2003).
At this stage, the Court accepts the plaintiff's factual
allegations as true, and his legal claims are liberally
construed in his favor. Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007).
Complaint generally alleges that Defendants M. Sepanek
(Warden at USP-Big Sandy), an unknown PA and an unknown
doctor all acted with deliberate indifference to
Chambers's medical needs by denying Chambers a transfer
to a medical facility. [R. 1]. He also alleges that
Defendants denied him a knee brace and a wheelchair. [R. 1 at
p. 5]. He alleges that Warden Sepanek “put a management
variable on me improperly to deny me medical attention”
and that he “did not put the management variable on me
to send me to a medical facility” to be
“spiteful.” [R. 1 at p. 5].
previously filed these claims in the United States District
Court for the Central District of California. Chambers v.
Dr. Allen, et al., 5:17-cv-1353-MWF-KES (C.D. Cal.
2017). As the district court explained in that case,
“Plaintiff alleges that doctors, wardens, and
administrators throughout the federal prison system have been
deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. All of his
allegations center around the fact that he has been refused
surgery on both knees, his right foot, and his right
hand.” [Id. at R. 7].
respect to Sepanek, Chambers alleged that Sepanek
“'was aware of [Plaintiff's] injuries but
refused to do anything;' deliberately transferred
Plaintiff to a high security prison because of his medical
needs.” [Id. at R. 7, p. 3]. The district
court dismissed this claim, explaining:
Plaintiff does not adequately allege that the Wardens at any
of Plaintiff's prisons knew of and ignored a substantial
risk to Plaintiff's well-being. Plaintiff merely states
that the Wardens were ‘aware' of his injuries and
refused to do anything. Plaintiff does not provide facts
demonstrating that his injuries were serious or that the
Wardens actually knew that he was at substantial risk of harm
if he did not receive surgery.
Neither does Plaintiff's allegation that Warden Sepanck
[sic] transferred Plaintiff to a different prison
because of his medical needs state a deliberate indifference
claim. Plaintiff alleges no facts indicated that (1) his
transfer caused any serious medical harm, (2) the Warden knew
of that potential harm, and (3) the Warden transferred
Plaintiff in a manner deliberately indifferent to that harm.
[Id. at p. 7].
respect to the “unknown” defendants, including
the unknown doctor and PA at USP-Big Sandy, the district
court found that Chambers failed to state a claim against
these defendants because he “merely claims that these
medical staff members were aware of his injuries and failed
to perform surgery. The fact that the staff members may have
been aware of Plaintiff's medical history does not
demonstrate that the doctors were also aware of a substantial
risk of harm that would result if Plaintiff did not receive
the surgeries he requested.” [Id. at p. 6].
district court ultimately dismissed Chambers's complaint
with leave to amend to correct the deficiencies identified in
the court's order, although it also noted that it did not
have personal jurisdiction over the defendants named by
Chambers located in Kentucky. [Id.]. Thus, the Court
instructed Chambers that, should he wish to pursue lawsuits
against those defendants, he should file separate complaints
in the courts that have personal jurisdiction over those
defendants. [Id.]. Shortly after his complaint was
dismissed in California, he filed this lawsuit, as well as a
similar lawsuit against staff at USP-McCreary, located in
Pine Knot, Kentucky. Chambers v. Dr. Hardy, et al.,
No. 6:17-cv-256-KKC (E.D. Ky. 2017).
the Court notes that, although the district court in
California ultimately found that it did not have jurisdiction
over Chambers's claims that he has now brought in this
case, the deficiencies in those claims have already been
identified and explained to Chambers. Thus, his Complaint in
this case is essentially his second “bite at the
Court has carefully reviewed the Complaint filed by Chambers
in this case and has found that he has again failed to allege
facts sufficient to state a claim of deliberate indifference
to his medical needs. The Eighth Amendment “forbids
prison officials from ‘unnecessarily and wantonly
inflicting pain' on an inmate by acting with
‘deliberate indifference' toward [his] serious
medical needs.” Blackmore v. Kalamazoo County,
390 F.3d 890, 895 (6th Cir. 2004) (quoting Estelle v.
Gamble, 7');">429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)). A plaintiff asserting
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs must
establish both the objective and subjective components of
such a claim. Jones v. Muskegon Co., 625 F.3d 935,
941 (6th Cir. 2010). The objective component requires the
plaintiff to show that the medical condition is
“sufficiently serious, ” Farmer, 511
U.S. at 834, such as one “that has been diagnosed by a
physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious
that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity
for a doctor's attention.” Harrison v.
Ash, 539 F.3d 510, 518 (6th Cir. 2008) (citations
omitted). The subjective component requires the plaintiff to
show that prison officials actually knew of a substantial
risk of harm to the plaintiff's health but consciously
disregarded it. Cooper v. County of Washtenaw, 222
Fed.Appx. 459, 466 (6th Cir. 2007); Brooks v.
Celeste, 39 F.3d 125, 128 (6th Cir. 1994).
Chambers has alleged no facts to establish what his medical
needs are, much less that they are “sufficiently
serious.” Although he alleges that he was denied a knee
brace and a wheel chair, he alleges no facts that would
establish that he had any medical condition requiring either
a knee brace or a wheel chair. Instead, he repeatedly refers
to his “medical needs” and his
“injuries” in a conclusory manner, without
alleging any facts identifying what these needs and injuries
actually are. The absence of any of these required
allegations is particularly glaring because Chambers was
specifically instructed by the California Court that, in
order to state a deliberate indifference claim, he must
allege facts demonstrating that Chambers's injuries were
serious and that the Defendants actually ...