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Minion v. Lindsey

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

September 25, 2019

BRIAN MINION PLAINITFF
v.
RN LINDSEY et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOSEPH H. MCKINLEY JR., SENIOR JUDGE

         Plaintiff Brian Minion, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, initiated this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action by filing a complaint. This matter is before the Court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). For the following reasons, the complaint will be dismissed in part and allowed to continue in part.

         I. STATEMENT OF CLAIMS

         Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee at the Henderson County Detention Center (HCDC). He names as Defendants in their individual and official capacities the following: Dr. McCoy; Jailer Amy Brady; and RN Lindsey. He also names Southern Health Partners (SHP) as Defendant. He identifies SHP as the healthcare provider at HCDC.

         Plaintiff alleges that before he came to HCDC he suffered a blood clot in his right groin and was taking warfarin, with his blood levels being checked every week. He states that when he came to HCDC he only saw the nurse one time and that he told the nurse that he took a stool softener and warfarin. He states that he put in many requests about medicine for “not having a bile movement.” He alleges that he noticed blood in his urine upon awakening on the morning of September 27, 2018. He states that at the 8-9:00 a.m. “pill call” he told the nurse and a guard something was wrong, “then [he] got loud, ” and he was taken to a holding cell. While there, he urinated in a candy bag so that he could show a guard the blood in his urine, which resulted in the guard alerting Defendant Lindsey. Plaintiff states that forty-five minutes later he was taken to the nurse’s station where Defendant Lindsey “was on the phone with her boss” who told her to put Plaintiff in isolation and take blood. He states that his blood was drawn and sent to the lab on September 29, 2018. He states that Defendant Lindsey received a “red flag email” to send him to the hospital, which she did. He asserts that at the hospital on September 30, 2018, the doctor told him that he needed emergency surgery because he was suffering from a high dose of warfarin that was shutting down his kidneys. According to the complaint, the doctor told Plaintiff that he was lucky that his kidneys were not completely destroyed.

         Plaintiff alleges that all four Defendants were notified or saw his medical emergency and that he should not have been put in isolation instead of being provided emergency medical attention. Plaintiff states that he was in the hospital for four days. It appears from the complaint that at some point after returning to HCDC Plaintiff was put back on warfarin, and he again was not monitored and again began to urinate blood. In particular, he states that the doctor “at Methodist Hospital didn’t know I was back on warfarin and he stated in front of the federal coordinator to test my level once a week or once every other week. Lindsey stated that they suppose to check my blood level once a month taking 6.5 mg waffarain.” Plaintiff states that he now has a cyst on his kidney, as well as a lot of pain in his kidneys. He alleges that because of problems having a bowel movement he has requested a stool softener, but apparently has not received one, and that he still has lower back and groin pain.

         Plaintiff next alleges that “overcrowding and one shower, toilet took a toll on my mind state cause I already suffer mentally default cause of my renal failure at Henderson County Jail from inadequate medical service.” He states that he is not allowed outside and instead is stuck in the dorm with 14-16 people in a 10-person cell. He states that his cell receives diabetic meals because of an insulin-dependent inmate housed in that cell. According to Plaintiff, because of the diabetic diet he is “slightly starving.” He states that the diabetic food trays have no fruit and are mostly starch. He further states that because he is 6’4” tall he is forced to sleep on the floor because the bunks are not big enough.

         Plaintiff asks for monetary and punitive damages.

         II. ANALYSIS

         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 action, 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 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) and (2). 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 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. When determining whether a plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must construe the complaint in a light most favorable to Plaintiff and accept all of the factual allegations as true. Prater v. City of Burnside, Ky., 289 F.3d 417, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). While a reviewing court must liberally construe pro se pleadings, Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam), to avoid dismissal, a complaint must include “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

         A. Deliberate indifference to a serious medical need

         The Eighth Amendment provides a convicted inmate the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides the same protections to pretrial detainees. Richmond v. Huq, 885 F.3d 928, 937 (6th Cir. 2018) (citing Richko v. Wayne Cty., 819 F.3d 907, 915 (6th Cir. 2016)). The Sixth Circuit has “historically analyzed Fourteenth Amendment pretrial detainee claims and Eighth Amendment prisoner claims ‘under the same rubric.’” Id. (quoting Villegas v. Metro Gov’t of Nashville, 709 F.3d 563, 568 (6th Cir. 2013)).

         At this time, the Sixth Circuit has recognized only one explicit exception to the general rule that rights under the Eighth Amendment are analogous to rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. This exception applies only to excessive-force claims brought by pretrial detainees. Id. at 938 n.3 (noting that Kingsley v. Hendrickson, U.S., 135 S.Ct. 2466 (2015), abrogated the subjective-intent requirement for Fourteenth Amendment excessive-force claims and that the standard which governs claims by pretrial detainees may be shifting, but declining to apply the Kingsley standard to a claim of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need brought by a pretrial detainee); see also Walker v. Miller, No. 18-3209, 2018 WL 7575709, at *1 (6th Cir. Oct. 17, 2018) (continuing to apply the traditional standard to a deliberate-indifference-to-a-serious-medical-need claim brought by a pretrial detainee).[1] That is, for a 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). In other words, to state a cognizable claim, a prisoner must show that the official “acted or failed to act despite his knowledge of a substantial risk of serious harm” to the inmate. Terrance, 286 F.3d at 843 (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S. at 842).

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