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Snow v. Kentucky State Reformatory

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

June 26, 2019

RONNIE SNOW PLAINTIFF
v.
KENTUCKY STATE REFORMATORY et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          CHARLES R. SIMPSON III, SENIOR JUDGE

         Plaintiff Ronnie Snow filed the instant pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action proceeding in forma pauperis. This matter is before the Court upon initial review of the second amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Plaintiff also filed an application to proceed without prepayment of fees along with his second amended complaint. Plaintiff having already been granted in forma pauperis status in this action, IT IS ORDERED that the application (DN 27) is DENIED as moot.

         Upon review of the complaint, for the reasons stated below, the Court will dismiss some of Plaintiff's claims and allow others to proceed for further development.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff is a convicted inmate who was formerly housed at the Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR). In the original complaint, Plaintiff stated that he had filed a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) with Correct Care Solutions.[1] Plaintiff asserted that on May 30, 2016, he had a medical emergency, and CPR was administered on him in violation of the DNR. He alleged that Defendants showed deliberate indifference to his medical needs in violating the DNR. Upon initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court dismissed some of Plaintiff's claims and allowed claims to proceed against Correct Care Solutions; Baptist Healthcare Systems, Inc. (Baptist); and RN Shannon Hardesty in her individual and official capacities.

         After the Court conducted initial review, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint. However, it was not filed on the Court's approved § 1983 form and did not identify in what capacity(ies) Plaintiff was suing the newly named Defendants. Therefore, the Court ordered Plaintiff to file a second amended complaint on this Court's approved § 1983 form. The Court instructed Plaintiff that the second amended complaint would supersede the amended complaint and that the Court would conduct initial review of the second amended complaint in accordance with § 1915A The Court will now undertake initial review of the second amended complaint.

         II. ALLEGATIONS IN SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

         In the second amended complaint, in both the case caption and in the section of the complaint form where Defendants are to be listed, Plaintiff names the following Defendants: Correction Care Solutions; Baptist; Dr. Subin Jain, identified as a heart surgeon at Baptist Hospital; Michael Verdi, a “prison officer” at KSR; Shannon Hardesty, a medical nurse at KSR; and Dr. Elton Amos, the Medical Director at KSR. Plaintiff indicates that he is suing Defendants in their individual and official capacities.

         In the body of his complaint, Plaintiff has a handwritten section entitled “Defendants.” Therein, he lists the following: James Erwin, identified as the “director/commissioner” of the Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC); Aaron Smith, the Warden of KSR; Correct Care Solutions; Baptist; “Oldham County EMS and/or Oldham County EMS personel that transported Snow from KSR to Baptist medical system hospital . . . ”; Sandy Hedges; Michael Verdi; Ronnie Whitaker; James Holcomb; Jeanette Sisco; Officer Kaelin; and Shannon Hardesty. He does not state in what capacity he is suing Defendants listed in in this section. For the purposes of this initial review, the Court will consider the individuals listed in this section as Defendants to this action. Because Plaintiff sues all other Defendants in their individual and official capacities and because he seeks punitive damages, the Court will construe the complaint as suing these Defendants in their individual and official capacities. See Moore v. City of Harriman, 272 F.3d 769, 773 (6th Cir. 2001) (en banc) (“When a § 1983 plaintiff fails to affirmatively plead capacity in the complaint, we then look to the course of proceedings” to ascertain whether the defendant has been notified of the potential for personal liability.).

         Under a heading labeled “Count One, ” Plaintiff states that he “signed into effect a ‘do not resuscitate order'” with Correct Care Solutions on July 23, 2014. He asserts that on May 30, 2016, [2] he had a medical alert after he fell out of his wheelchair to which Hardesty and Verdi responded and “started performing CPR upon arriving . . . without verifying if Snow had in effect any DNR order or other medical alerts.” Plaintiff states that Hardesty contacted Sisco and advised her that an ambulance was needed immediately and that CPR was being performed on Plaintiff. He states, “At no time did the defendants verify or check to see if Snow had any DNR order in his medical file.”

         Plaintiff further states that Sisco contacted Hedges to advise her that an ambulance was needed and Hedges responded that she would be driving the ambulance with a crew of inmate personnel. He asserts that Whitaker contacted an unnamed Defendant to advise her “that medical was requesting for Oldham County EMS to respond to KSR and to transport Snow to Baptist Healthcare in Louisville, Ky to the emergency room.” Plaintiff maintains, “At no time during these medical alerts did any of the defendants verify what, if any medical issues Snow had and/or if there were any medical DNR orders in effect all in violation of Snow's rights.”

         Plaintiff continues that after Oldham County EMS arrived at KSR they “took over performing medical CPR and started the process of transporting Snow to the hospital for medical treatment.” He states that when he arrived at Baptist Hospital “Dr. Subin Jain took over the care and treatment of Snow. At no time did Dr. Subin and/or Baptist Healthcare verify and/or check to see if Snow had any alerts or other medical conditions with the defendants CCS in violation of Snow's rights as stated herein.”

         Plaintiff further states that following:

The [KDOC] policy and procedure (CPP 13.11) and an interpretation of the policy was a moving force behind the rights of Snow being violated due to the language in the policy not insuring that the inmate population who sign into effect any DNR under order has in their possession verification that they have in fact signed a DNR order.

         He maintains, “The policy only states that a notation will be placed in an inmate's file that a DNR order has been issued. This policy is in violation of Snow's rights to proper medical care due to not meeting the standards that will allow him the medical treatment he is entitled to.” Plaintiff asserts that Defendants did not issue him “any medical alert tag [and]/or medical id card and/or bracelet that would show that he had a DNR order in effect and due to this act and admission of the Defendant Snow's rights to proper medical care has been violated.”

         Plaintiff maintains that “the named Defendants collectively have conspired together to hide the event that transpired concerning May 30th medical emergency with plaintiff which is one more reason it took defendant an extended amount of time to file his complaint.”

         Under the heading “Count Two, ” Plaintiff states that “the defendants are violating his rights, due to them refusing to provide him with an appropriate wheelchair that can accommodate his needs.” Plaintiff asserts that he has “one arm that was amputated in his youth, combined with heart condition Plaintiff is required to wheel himself in a wheelchair with one arm which has caused plaintiff further health problems and chest pain, due to over exerting himself.” Plaintiff reports that he requested Correct Care Solutions personnel to allow him to use his electric wheelchair. He states that six other inmates use electric wheelchairs. He asserts that on June 27, 2017, he “requested and received permission from Brenda Johnson assistant healthcare administrator for the use of his electric wheelchair. But Dr. Amos refused Plaintiff stating that Plaintiff did not need anything other than what he was given.” He maintains that his rights “are being violated by Dr. Amos for refusing Plaintiff the ability to be able to get around without pain or discomfort.” He states that as a result he is having “major chest pains and other complications and discomfort of his arm due to over exerting himself.” He states that as a result he has had to miss meals and sometimes has to stop his wheelchair outside in cold weather.

         Under the heading “Count Three, ” Plaintiff alleges violations of the Rehabilitation Act (RA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He states that he is disabled and that “Defendants have failed and refused to reasonably accomodate the handicapps and disabilities of Plaintiff so as . . . to exclude him from participation in, or deny him the benefits of, the state/federally funded services, ...


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