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Miles v. Mitchell

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

November 9, 2018

DARRELL L. MILES PLAINTIFF
v.
SETH MITCHELL et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          CHARLES R. SIMPSON III, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff Darrell L. Miles' pro se complaint (DN 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons that follow, the instant action will be dismissed.

         I. STATEMENT OF CLAIMS

         Plaintiff is a convicted prisoner currently incarcerated at the Kentucky State Penitentiary (KSP). He brings his action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and sues the following Defendants: (1) KSP Sgt. Seth Mitchell, PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) investigator; (2) KSP Adjustment Chairman William B. Morrison; (3) KSP Sr. Capt. Will Thomas; (4) Green River Correctional Complex (GRCC) Lt. Holly L. Rickard; (5) GRCC Adjustment Officer Charles E. Basting; (6) Dr. Kevin Younger, employed as Medical Care Provider at GRCC and contracted through Correct Care Solutions, L.L.C. (CCS); (7) Brenda Beehler, RN, Nurse Executive and Health Care Grievance Committee Member at CCS; (8) Dawn Patterson, RN, Health Service Administrator and Health Care Grievance Committee Member at CCS; (9) Christy L. Jolly, Administrative Specialist II and Health Care Grievance Committee Member at CCS; (10) Denise Burnett, APRN, Health Care Grievance Committee Member at CCS; (11) GRCC Capt. Angela Hampton; (12) GRCC “CUA II Grievance Coordinator” Darrell Wheeler; and (13) Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR) Medical Provider Jeff Ingram. Plaintiff sues Defendants Mitchell, Morrison, Thomas, Rickard, Basting, Dr. Younger, Hampton, and Wheeler in their individual capacities; sues Defendants Beehler, Patterson, Jolly, and Burnett in both their individual and official capacities; and sues Defendant Ingram in his official capacity.

         Plaintiff begins his statement of claims as follows:

Since the discovery in 2014 at Northpoint . . . that I snore with my mouth open. I realize I have some cronic breathing issues when I sleep from Asthma or some other form of nasal infection or disease etc. that is in the most extreme and severe state once I fall asleep. “This Condition has Cause me to be sodomized in my sleep at different institutions, ” on multiple occassions and not awaken while being touched. It is so extreme for a man to wake up in prison with a cronic medical condition or illness, be denied medical treatment because the officials have a dislike for the person complaining. . . . The most degradeing and emotional mind state a straight man can go through in prison. Wakeing up and finding his rectum disfigured and dischargeing with someone's bodily fluids. [] from a predator who intentionally forced himself on me in my sleep.

         Plaintiff describes events occurring at both KSP[1] and GRCC.[2] Plaintiff sues three KSP Defendants - Defendants Mitchell, Morrison, and Thomas. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Mitchell, a KSP PREA investigator, violated his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights during the investigation of several PREA claims by Plaintiff and subsequent disciplinary proceedings. He claims that Defendant “Mitchell is the original Kentucky Dept. of Corrections staff member who is responsible for starting a practice of violating statewide policy . . . . Then falsifing documents in the plaintiff file to Continue punishing him for filing lawsuits against other K.D.O.C. official at Northpoint Training Center.” Plaintiff alleges as follows:

While housed [at KSP], [he] was put in risk to being Raped on multiple occasion as punishment for filing lawsuits. Having a illness and knowing he will not awaken and when done place feces in his mouth while rolling him over on his back to let it roll down to the throat. “was a cruel and intentional act of Hate.”
[] The culprit then go outside the Cell, close the door then use something to reach plaintiff until he wakes up to swollow the feces (poop) choking until it goes down enough to breath again. Then the trapped substances causes the ears to ache and cause trouble swollowing.

         In attached Extraordinary Occurrence Reports and Disciplinary Reports, Plaintiff claims on several occasions that he was sexually assaulted (for instance, on one occasion, Plaintiff alleged that he “woke up with his rectum wet and the liquid smelling musky”) while he slept by either a guard or another inmate who he suspects must have been let into the cell. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Mitchell as the investigator lied about what he saw on the videotapes and falsified reports so that Plaintiff would be found guilty on disciplinary charges of lying. He also alleges that Defendant Mitchell lied to the Kentucky State Police and covered up a rape.

         As to Defendant Morrison, Plaintiff claims that he violated the Due Process Clause when he, as the Chairman/Adjustment Committee Officer over several disciplinary actions against Plaintiff, “imposed excessive punishment.” He claims that Defendant Morrison “made a Arbitrary decision to punish plaintiff with on one occassion forfeiture of fifteen (15) days of meritorious good time, and on another two fifteen (15) consecutive days in segregation.”

         According to Plaintiff, Defendant Thomas “was one of the top supervisors who conducted a review of the Disciplinary Action and the Extraordinary Occurrence Report . . . from P.R.E.A. reports being filed due to plaintiff's cell door being opened while he was sleep and him being raped.” Plaintiff claims that when he repeatedly reported that his cell door was being opened, Defendant Thomas did not “check the status of the plaintiff's reports to ensure his safety.” He also claims that “a liberty interest was created by the disciplinary action imposed on the plaintiff from Arbitrary abuse of power when [Defendant] Thomas authorized plaintiff be disciplined for lying to an employee after being raped on multiple occassions.”

         Although unclear from the complaint, it appears that Plaintiff was transferred from KSP to GRCC around the end of 2016 or beginning of 2017. The allegations that follow pertain to his detention at GRCC.

         Plaintiff claims that GRCC Defendant Dr. Younger was the medical provider that he was recommended to see “after being seen at U.K. Medical Center for an Endoscopy which revealed a fungus that was and has caused some medical issue still in existance.” Plaintiff claims that he has “Joint Pain, Chest Pain, Trouble Swollowing, Blary Vision, Back pain in the Kidney area, swelling and foot pain in the feet and ankles, snoring with mouth open, Trouble breathing while sleep and rectum itch.” He claims that after following sick call procedures, “[t]he only issue addressed was plaintiff feet that after doing exercises for Plantar fasciitis, the soreness still exist.” He continues, “Another visit produced no results when the plaintiff rectum itch was irritating in which Dr. Younger refused treatment for and plaintiff later discover after being sent out by K.S.P. officials on accident for assault (sexually) ‘Rape.' The sexual assault nurse examiner discovered a disease.” Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Dr. Younger “failed to have a sleep study conducted or to have an infectious disease examination conducted to the claims of sexual assault [] and the medical request to treat anual itching and discharge.” He claims that he requested a sleep study be reconducted due to the one he had at Northpoint Training Center “being a generic knock-off to such serious complaints.” While not specific to Dr. Younger, Plaintiff additionally claims that a GRCC “official continued the practice of denying medical treatment to see a E.N.T (Ear, Nose & Throat) specialist as well.”

         Next, Plaintiff alleges that GRCC Defendants Beehler, Patterson, Jolly, and Burnett, who were “Health Care Grievance Committee Members during Administrative Review of the medical care request to address [Plaintiff's] throat, ” denied his medical grievance(s).

         As to Defendant Rickard, Plaintiff claims that this GRCC PREA investigator failed to investigate his PREA claims but issued disciplinary reports against Plaintiff for lying instead. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Rickard “repeated the same statement [Defendant] Mitchell made when he issued his disciplinary report for lying” against KSP. He claims that she interfered with providing video evidence and failed to contact Kentucky State Police. He reports that one of the disciplinary actions against him was “later overturned” by GRCC Warden Hart.

         Defendant Basting, a GRCC Chairman/Adjustment Officer, heard the write up against Plaintiff that was issued for tampering with physical evidence/hindering an investigation and found Plaintiff guilty. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Hampton “failed to correct the error by imposing the Disciplinary while refusing to allow the plaintiff to call the camera as a witness” and “refuse to allow Ky. State Police to investigate.”

         Finally, Plaintiff claims that he filed grievances in compliance with Corrections Policies and Procedures (CPP) and that Defendant Wheeler, the GRCC grievance coordinator, denied “all grievance that involve preserveing Criminal Conduct.” He additionally claims that Defendant Wheeler denied grievances “to Cover up Rape and harrassment” in violation of PREA and that he violated the First Amendment “by denying a federally Protected Right to redress plaintiff's grievances with the Court and the Administrative body with the department of Corrections.” Review of grievances attached to Plaintiff's complaint reveals that Defendant Wheeler rejected Plaintiff's grievances for various reasons.

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks monetary and punitive damages and injunctive relief in the form of ordering “ENT Visit and Colonostomy” and “Release [] to get my own treatment.”

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Because Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental entities, officers, and/or employees, the Court must review the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under that statute, the Court must review the complaint and dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the Court determines that it 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).

         A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). The trial court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Id. at 327. 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)). “A pleading that ...


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