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Horton v. Hamblen County Jail Medical Staff

January 18, 2007

JASON HORTON
v.
HAMBLEN COUNTY JAIL MEDICAL STAFF; ROOKIE INMAN, JAIL ADM'R; AND LINDA L/N/U, HEAD NURSE



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Ronnie Greer United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

Jason Horton, a prisoner in the Hamblen County Jail, brings this pro se civil rights complaint for injunctive relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Hamblen County Jail Medical Staff; Rookie Inman, the Jail Administrator, and the Head Nurse, identified only as "Linda."

A federal court which is presented with a prisoner's civil action first must determine whether the plaintiff has exhausted his administrative remedies by offering the correctional authorities an opportunity to address his complaints. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e; Brown v. Toombs, 139 F.3d. 1102, 1103-04 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 833 (1998). The plaintiff asserts, in paragraph II of his complaint, that the Hamblen County Jail has a grievance procedure and that he filled out the grievance form; passed it to the officer; but never heard anything from the Jail Administrator. The Court concludes that the plaintiff has exhausted his administrative remedies, see Boyd v. Corrections Corp. of America, 380 F.3d 989, 996-97 (6th Cir. 2004),*fn1 subject to contrary proof by the defendants.

As an initial matter, there is a problem with one of the defendants named by the plaintiff. The defendant Hamblen County Jail Medical Staff is a non-suable entity under § 1983. See Sullivan v. Hamilton County Jail Staff, 2006 WL 1582418, * 3 n.1 (E.D. Tenn. June 5, 2006) (noting that the jail's medical staff is a subdivision of the sheriff's department and not a legal entity subject to being sued) (citing to Fischer v. Cahill, 474 F.2d 991, 992 (3rd Cir. 1973) for its holding that a state prison medical department is not a "person" under §1983)). This defendant, therefore, is DISMISSED from this action.

In his complaint, the plaintiff alleges that he is imprisoned under conditions that violate his civil rights. More specifically the plaintiff claims: 1) that, though he is an insulin-dependent diabetic, the jail nurse will not allow the guards to check his blood sugar or give him insulin; 2) that "Linda," the head nurse, will not give him his prescribed medication; and 3) that he has a history of colon cancer, including undergoing surgery to remove the tumors, and is now having problems related to the surgery, but that neither "Linda" nor defendant Rookie Inman will discuss the matter with him. [Compl., ¶ 4].

The Court infers, from the plaintiff's contentions against the remaining defendants, that he is alleging a claim for the denial of medical care under the Eighth Amendment. See Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976) (Prison authorities who are deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of prisoners violate the Eighth Amendment).

Accordingly, the Clerk is DIRECTED to send the plaintiff a service packet for defendant Rookie Inman.*fn2 [The service packet contains a blank summons and U.S.M. 285 form.] The plaintiff is ORDERED to complete the service packet and to return it to the Clerk's office within twenty (20) days of the date of entry of this Order. The plaintiff is forewarned that failure to return the completed service packet within the time required could jeopardize his prosecution of this action.

When the completed service packet is received by the Clerk, the summons will be signed and sealed by the Clerk and forwarded to the U.S. Marshal for service upon the defendant. Fed. R. Civ. P. 4. The defendant is ORDERED to respond to the complaint within twenty (20) days of receipt of service. The plaintiff is ORDERED to inform the Court of any address change within ten (10) days following such change. If he fails to do so, this action will be dismissed for failure to prosecute.

Under the 1996 amendments to the federal pauper statutes, a prisoner who files a complaint in federal court and applies to proceed in forma pauperis, must submit a certified copy of his inmate trust account statement for the six months preceding the filing of the complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) and (b). Furthermore, courts are required to assess and when funds exist collect the full filing fee from such a prisoner. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). In this case, though the trust account statement is missing, it does not appear that plaintiff has an inmate trust account.*fn3 Accordingly, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), the plaintiff is hereby ASSESSED the filing fee of three hundred, fifty dollars ($350).

Finally, the Court is in receipt of two ex parte letters from the plaintiff, in which he makes new allegations-some concerning medical care and others relating to incidents, treatment or conditions distinct from the claims offered in his complaint. [Docs. 4, 5]. The plaintiff has not indicated that these letters are intended to be amendments to the complaint and they will not be treated as such.*fn4 If he intends to file an amendment to his complaint, he should file a motion to amend and clearly ...


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