United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, Pikeville
RASHOD L. JAMES, Plaintiff,
HIGHLANDS REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
Gregory F. Van Tatenhove United States District Judge
inmate Rashod James has filed a pro se complaint
asserting civil rights claims against federal officials
pursuant to the doctrine announced in Bivens v. Six
Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).
[R. 1.] This matter is before the Court to conduct the
preliminary screening required by 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2), 1915A. Davis v. Prison Health Servs.,
679 F.3d 433, 437-38 (6th Cir. 2012).
testing the sufficiency of the plaintiff's complaint, the
Court affords it a forgiving construction, accepting as true
all non-conclusory factual allegations and liberally
construing its legal claims in the plaintiff's favor.
Davis v. Prison Health Servs., 679 F.3d 433, 437-38
(6th Cir. 2012). 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. Hill v.
Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010).
complaint, James indicates that on October 4 and 5, 2017, he
was a patient at the Highlands Regional Medical Center
(“HRMC”), a private hospital in Prestonsburg,
Kentucky.[R. 1 at 3-4.] James alleges that while at
HRMC: (1) Dr. Nick Francis “let non-trained people
force him to release me without being [cleared]”; (2)
Cindy Maynard and Brooke Bays did not have him sign release
papers or give him a copy of discharge documents; and (3)
while doing his blood work, HRMC tested for HIV without his
permission. James also complains that unidentified nurses did
not check his status and turned off certain monitors because
they were beeping. [R. 1 at 2-3.] James contends that the
defendants' actions violated his right to proper medical
care and treatment under the Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth
Amendments. James does not allege that he suffered any harm
as a result of the defendants' actions but seeks $200,
000 in compensatory damages. [R. 1 at 4, 8.]
thoroughly reviewed the complaint, it is plain that it must
be dismissed. First, neither HRMC as a private company nor
its employees as private citizens act “under color of
federal law” as required to subject them to liability
for constitutional torts under Bivens when they
provide medical care to federal inmates through arrangement
with the Bureau of Prisons. See Corr. Servs. Corp. v.
Malesko, 534 U.S. 61, 69-74 (2001) (holding that no
private cause of action should be implied under
Bivens against private corporation operating halfway
house under contract with BOP); Minneci v. Pollard,
565 U.S. 118 (2012) (declining to imply cause of action for
inadequate medical care under Bivens in favor of
inmate against employees of private company).
addition, Bivens only authorizes a suit for damages
only against employees in their individual capacities, not
against the agency that employs them. F.D.I.C. v.
Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 484-86 (1994). HRMC is a
corporation, not an individual, and like a federal agency is
not amenable to suit under Bivens arising out of the
medical care provided by its employees. Cf. Mitchell v.
United States, No. 1: 08-CV-195, 2010 WL 890045, at *9
(N.D. W.Va. Mar. 10, 2010).
James states that he did not file any inmate grievances with
the BOP regarding these events. [R. 1 at 4.] Instead, he
alleges that he sent a letter to HRMC. Id. at 5,
10-12. Federal law requires a prisoner to fully utilize the
prison's inmate grievance system before filing suit to
assert a civil claim regarding the conditions of his
confinement. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Jones v.
Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 211 (2007) (“There is no
question that exhaustion is mandatory under the PLRA and that
unexhausted claims cannot be brought in court.”). The
BOP's Inmate Grievance System requires a federal prisoner
to file a formal grievance with the warden within twenty days
after the event complained of, and to file appeals to the
Regional Office and then the Central Office if he is not
satisfied with the response. 2 8 C.F.R. §§
542.14(a), .15(a). Because “[p]roper exhaustion demands
compliance with an agency's deadlines and other critical
procedural rules ...”, Woodford v. Ngo, 548
U.S. 81, 90 (2006), the prisoner must file the initial
grievance and any appeals within these time frames. James
admits that he did not follow these required procedures, and
his complaint is therefore subject to dismissal upon initial
screening because that failure is apparent from the face of
the complaint. Shah v. Quintana, No. 17-5053, 2017
WL 7000265, at *1 (6th Cir. July 17, 2017); Barnett v.
Laurel Co., Ky., No. 16-5658, 2017 WL 3402075, at *1
(6th Cir. Jan. 30, 2017).
IT IS ORDERED as follows:
James's complaint [R. 1] is
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE;
matter is STRICKEN from the docket; and
Court will enter a judgment contemporaneously with this
 The Kentucky Secretary of State's
online business organizations database indicates that HRMC is
a Kentucky corporation. See
https://app.sos.ky.gov/ftshow/(S(flmsh2jjnliuykqwmr1dbrby))/default.aspx?path=ftsearch&id=0023113&ct=04&cs=99986 (last ...