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Baker v. Jarden

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

December 7, 2018

ANTHONY HEATH BAKER Plaintiff
v.
MICHAEL JARDEN et al. Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Rebecca Grady Jennings, District Judge.

         This is a pro se civil rights action brought by a convicted prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is before the Court for screening of Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons set forth below, this action will be dismissed in part and allowed to continue in part.

         I. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff is incarcerated at Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR). He brings this action against four individual Defendants whom he indicates are employed at KSR - Michael Jarden, Medical Director; Tanya Young, psychologist; Dawn Patterson, Health Services Administrator; and Christy Jolly, administrative specialist. He sues these Defendants in both their official and individual capacities. Plaintiff also names as Defendants “all other unknown John, Mary Does.”

         In his complaint, Plaintiff claims that he is being denied “medical treatment for gender disorder by hormone treatment” in violation of the Eighth Amendment. He specifically alleges that Defendant Jarden “said I would get a appointment to see medical staff however this is incorrect there is no transgender committee here at KSR.” Plaintiff also states that although he was informed in response to one of his grievances that he would see his primary care provider on January 17, 2018, for “evaluation [of] the need [for] hormonal therapy those healthcare providers can't give me the proper hormone therapy and treatment for gender affirming care due to the fact that its beyond [their] educational training.” Plaintiff continues: “They are not psychology's or psychiatry's and it's not in the scope of training.” Plaintiff then writes: “They did set me up an appointment but I was never called to be evaluated for the transgender medical care . . . .” Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Dr. Young “saw me about 3 times and has not given me the proper psychological treatments nor has Dr. Shelton when I go and see them.”

         Plaintiff attaches several grievances to the complaint. Although Plaintiff does not make any specific allegations against Defendants Patterson or Jolly in the complaint, these attachments show that Defendants Patterson and Jolly were the members of the KSR Healthcare Grievance Committee which reviewed a grievance filed by Plaintiff on November 22, 2017. In this grievance, Plaintiff stated that he was “assigned transgender and to deny me necessary medical care is cruel and unusual punishment for my transgender issue.” In their Findings and Recommendations as members of the Healthcare Grievance Committee, dated February 2, 2018, Defendants Patterson and Jolly wrote as follows: “The Healthcare Grievance Committee has reviewed your complaint and your medical records. Concur with informal resolution. Your case will be discussed in a multidisciplinary team meeting and you will be scheduled to see the appropriate provider after that.”

         Plaintiff concludes this portion of his complaint as follows:

Medical staff has refuse to give me the proper treatment they tell me I will get appointment with a multidisciplinary team which there is not at KSR. . . . I never saw the appropriate provider as of this date. I have not had any treatment for transgender disorder.

         Plaintiff also claims that his constitutional rights were violated when KSR officials improperly rejected one of his grievances and did not allow him to appeal the “rejection.”

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as declaratory and injunctive relief.

         II. LEGAL 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 ...


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