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Hill v. Funk

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

January 12, 2019




         This is a pro se civil rights action brought by a convicted prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court granted Plaintiff Clarence A. Hill, Jr., leave to proceed in forma pauperis. This matter is before the Court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss some claims but allow others to proceed for further development.


         Plaintiff is incarcerated at the Daviess County Detention Center (DCDC). He names five individuals as Defendants in this action - Head Nurse Angie Funk; Nurse Practitioner Matthew Johnson; DCDC Jail Commander Art Maglinger; DCDC Major Jack Jones; and DCDC Lt. Moore. He sues these Defendants in both their official and individual capacities.

         Plaintiff first alleges that after he was arrested on September 15, 2018, he informed DCDC medical staff on September 17, 2018, that he took certain prescription medications daily - “ 3 different blood pressure pills, 2 psychic different pills, and 1 pill for headaches due to trauma to my head over the years.” He states that he gave the medical staff permission to go to his property to get a piece of paper that had his prescriptions written down and also gave them his doctor's name and phone number so that they could get in contact with the doctor regarding his medications. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Funk and Johnson then told him that if he kept “coming to the door asking about my meds or trying to get my blood pressure checked out, that they would have me locked up.” Plaintiff alleges that he then told Defendants Moore and Jones about how he was being treated by “medical” but that they told him that they could not help him. Plaintiff alleges that he finally started receiving one blood pressure pill in the morning after “his lady” called and spoke with Defendants Moore and Jones.

         Plaintiff also states that he requested to be transferred to the jail in Paducah, Kentucky, because that is where his doctor's office is located.

         Plaintiff concludes his complaint as follows:

[T]hey have not gave me any of my medication beside some blood pressure pills for over 40 days as of right now . . . since it has been that long of a time without them [t]hey have cause me a lot of pain and suffering and a lot of uncomfortable state of mind. I am paranoid of a lot of people and I believe that they are out to get me and plotting against me. I have told [Defendants Moore and Jones] on numerous, numerous times, that I am on the verge of snapping and choking out over it. I even told them to move me in High Risk.
As relief, Plaintiff seek punitive damages.


         Because Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental entities, officers, and/or employees, this Court must review the instant action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 1915A, the trial 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, 544 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] 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] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). However, while liberal, this standard of review does require more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions. See Columbia Natural Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir. 1995). The Court's duty “does not require [it] to conjure up unpled allegations, ” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979), or to create a claim for a 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

         Section 1983 creates no substantive rights but merely provides remedies for deprivations of rights established elsewhere. Flint ex rel. Flint v. Ky. Dep't of Corr., 270 F.3d 340, 351 (6th Cir. 2001). Two elements are required to state a claim under § 1983. Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). “A plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 ...

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