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Owenby v. Corrections Corporation of America

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division

January 15, 2015



JAMES D. TODD, District Judge.

On September 18, 2014, Plaintiff, Clayton Carroll Owenby, Jr., Tennessee Department of Correction ("TDOC") prisoner number 124647, an inmate at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility ("HCCF") in Whiteville, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.)[1] After Plaintiff filed the necessary documentation (ECF No. 4), the Court issued an order on September 29, 2014, granting leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessing the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 5.) The Clerk shall record the Defendants as the Corrections Corporation of America ("CCA"), which operates the HCCF, [2] and the TDOC.

The complaint alleges that, since his arrest on January 23, 2013, Plaintiff has suffered from chronic pain from multiple slipped discs in his lower and middle back and in his neck. He allegedly has bone spurs on his spine, arthritis and shingles and has had fifteen surgeries on both ears. According to Plaintiff, he has lost more of his hearing due to medical neglect. He has vomited from severe pain and his legs have gone numb. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 4.) Plaintiff alleges that doctors and nurses at the HCCF have told him that there is nothing wrong with him or that there is nothing they can do for him. They have merely prescribed Tylenol and told Plaintiff to have a nice day. ( Id. ) The medical staff refuses to obtain Plaintiff's medical records. ( Id. )

When Plaintiff was arrested on January 23, 2013, an agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation took his walking cane. Plaintiff allegedly needs to use a cane because his legs go numb, causing him to fall. To date, he has not been provided with a cane. (ECF No. 1-1 at PageID 7.)[3]

After several months in federal custody, Plaintiff arrived at the HCCF on December 20, 2013. Since his arrival, Plaintiff allegedly has been in severe pain. He has filled out many sick call forms. Plaintiff was seen by nurses and, on two occasions, by a doctor. The medical staff allegedly have told him there is nothing they can do. Plaintiff has filed grievances about his back and his ear problems, but nothing has been done for him. ( Id. at PageID 9.)

Plaintiff has been held in protective custody since July 3, 2014, because gang members have extorted him for money that he does not have. While in segregation, Plaintiff must go up and down stairs in order to go to recreation and to take showers. Plaintiff told various sergeants and correctional officers, none of whom are parties to this action, about his difficulty climbing stairs. The medical department has issued an "AVO"[4] that Plaintiff be housed in a bottom bunk on a ground floor, but that AVO has not been honored. Plaintiff states that he needs pain medication and medication for his nerve damage, but is only being prescribed Tylenol. ( Id. at PageID 10.)

Plaintiff further alleges that his right of access to the courts has been infringed because he did not have legal assistance to prepare his complaint. Plaintiff was assisted by his cellmate, who is not an attorney. Plaintiff allegedly suffers from diminished capacity, bipolar disorder, personality disorder and depression. He also has a learning disorder. Plaintiff has learned to hide his disabilities and, consequently, many people do not know that he has these problems. Plaintiff has spoken to the mental health doctors and the medical doctors about these matters. ( Id. at PageID 12.)

Plaintiff seeks money damages and credit toward his state and federal sentences. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 5.)

The Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the complaint-

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

In assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the standards under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), as stated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009), and in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007), are applied. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). "Accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, the Court consider[s] the factual allegations in [the] complaint to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.'" Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681). "[P]leadings that... are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3 ("Rule 8(a)(2) still requires a showing, ' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief. Without some factual allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a claimant could satisfy the requirement of providing not only fair notice' of the nature of the claim, but also grounds' on which the claim rests.").

"A complaint can be frivolous either factually or legally." Hill, 630 F.3d at 470 (citing Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989)). "Any complaint that is legally frivolous would ipso facto fail to state a claim upon which ...

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