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Brown v. Jail

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

October 15, 2018




         Plaintiff Dannie Brown, a convicted inmate now housed at the Western Kentucky Correctional Complex, filed the instant pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action proceeding in forma pauperis. The complaint arises out of his prior incarceration at the Fulton County Jail (FCJ). This action is now before the Court for initial screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.


         In the original complaint, Plaintiff names as Defendants “Fulton County Jail and the Medical dept.” and Jailer Ricky Parnell. Plaintiff states that the Fulton County Police arrested him in his home and, in so doing, struck him, slammed him to the ground, and broke his arm. He asserts that he was taken to the hospital, and after being seen he was taken to jail. He states, “The Fulton County Jail refused to take me back to the hospital and they refused me medical attention nor did they give me medication.” He continues, “The medical dept. here at the Western Kentucky Correctional Complex have since sent me to an outside doctor and all have aggred that I now have to have surgery. The medical department there in Fulton County Jail also gave me the wrong medication.” As relief, Plaintiff requests compensatory damages.

         By prior Order (DN 6), the Court found that Plaintiff's original complaint was not filed on this Court's approved § 1983 complaint form and ordered Plaintiff to file an amended complaint on the Court-approved form. The Order stated that, “[i]n the amended complaint, Plaintiff must include all claims he wishes to assert, state all facts relevant to his claims, and name all individuals whom he believes violated his rights.” It also stated that the amended complaint “shall supersede the original complaint (DN 1), and the Court will conduct initial review of the amended complaint in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.”

         In the amended complaint, Plaintiff sues FCJ and Parnell in his official capacity only. Plaintiff states, “In 2016 at the Fulton Co. Detention Center, I feel that my rights were violated due to poor medical treatment from staff and transporting officers. (STAFF.).” He continues, “I was denied any medical treatment for any/all problems with my back/body. Records are there at the F.C.D.C. You may look at them if necessary.”

         Plaintiff further asserts, “I was given a diabetic shot with someone elses needles by the correctional officer and not the nurse. It was a dirty pre-used needle. Different medicine was in it, not diabetic medicine. Someone elsese name was on the needle, not mine. They didn't do nothing about it.” Plaintiff also states, “I was denied psychological medication too. They had all information to know I was suffering from a pscyh. disorder. On arrival at W.K.C.C. I was given all medicine and start process over. All is well at WKCC.” Plaintiff does not specify the relief he seeks in the amended complaint.

         II. STANDARD

         When a prisoner initiates a civil action seeking redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee, the trial court must review the complaint and dismiss the complaint, or any portion of it, if the court determines that the complaint 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. See § 1915A(b)(1), (2); McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007).

         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)). “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.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[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)). “But the district court need not accept a ‘bare assertion of legal conclusions.'” Tackett, 561 F.3d at 488 (quoting Columbia Natural Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir. 1995)). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557).

         Although this Court recognizes that pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991), “[o]ur duty to be ‘less stringent' with pro se complaints does not require us to conjure up unpled allegations.” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979) (citation omitted). And this Court is not required to create a claim for 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).

         III. ANALYSIS

         The Court construes Plaintiff's allegations of failure to provide proper medical treatment as asserting claims under the Eighth Amendment. To establish an Eighth Amendment violation premised on inadequate medical care, a prisoner must demonstrate that the defendant acted, or failed to act, with “deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 835 (1994) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)); Terrance v. Northville Reg'l Psychiatric Hosp., 286 F.3d 834, 843 (6th Cir. 2002). A claim of deliberate indifference under the Eighth Amendment has both an objective and a subjective component. The objective component requires the existence of a sufficiently serious medical need. Turner v. City of Taylor, 412 F.3d 629, 646 (6th Cir. 2005). To satisfy the subjective component, the defendant must possess a “sufficiently culpable state of mind, ” rising above negligence or even gross negligence and being “tantamount to intent to punish.” Horn by Parks v. Madison Cty. Fiscal Court, 22 F.3d 653, 660 (6th Cir. 1994). Put another way, “A prison official acts with deliberate indifference if he knows of a substantial risk to an inmate's health, yet recklessly disregards the risk by failing to take reasonable measures to abate it.” Taylor v. Boot, 58 Fed.Appx. 125, 126 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. at 837-47).

         In the original complaint, Plaintiff states that he was denied treatment for a broken arm. However, he does not identify any specific individual who denied him treatment. In the amended complaint, he alleges that he was “denied any medical treatment for any/all problems with my back/body” and that that he was denied “psychological medication[, ]” but does not mention a broken arm. If the Court were to conduct initial screening of the amended complaint only, as stated in the prior Order, the Court would find that Plaintiff's allegations do not contain sufficient “‘factual enhancement'” to show the existence of a sufficiently serious medical need or a sufficiently culpable state of mind on behalf of any Defendant. The amended complaint does ...

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