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Douglas v. Gregory

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

February 6, 2015



JAMES D. TODD, District Judge.

On November 4, 2014, Plaintiff Jeffery G. Douglas, Tennessee Department of Correction ("TDOC") prisoner number 467106, an inmate at the Northwest Correctional Complex ("NWCX") in Tiptonville, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (ECF No. 1), accompanied by a motion seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 2), the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum (ECF No. 3) and a motion seeking the issuance of a writ of mandamus to compel the production of Plaintiff's medical records (ECF No. 4). In response to an order of the Court, Plaintiff submitted the documentation required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF Nos. 6, 7 & 11).[1] On November 26, 2014, the Court issued an order granting leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessing the civil filing fee pursuant to the PLRA. (ECF No. 12.)[2] The Clerk shall record the Defendants as Christi Gregory, Amanda Phillips, NWCX Warden Michael Parris, and the TDOC.[3]

Plaintiff has filed a motion seeking the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum compelling his attendance at all hearings in this matter. (ECF No. 3.) No hearing is necessary at this time; therefore, the motion is DENIED as unnecessary. If a hearing is required, the Court will issue a writ to secure Plaintiff's attendance without the filing of a motion.

Plaintiff also seeks the issuance of a writ of mandamus to compel the production of his medical records. (ECF No. 4.) Any discovery in this matter will be conducted in accordance with Rules 26 through 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Those Rules contemplate that the parties will cooperate in discovery and will seek the assistance of the Court only if a dispute arises that cannot be resolved. Plaintiff's request for his medical records is premature because the Court has not screened the complaint under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b) and has not ordered that any Defendant be served. The motion is DENIED.

Plaintiff's complaint, which consists of an eleven-page complaint and eleven exhibits, numbered A through K, is difficult to decipher because the factual allegations are not presented in a coherent manner. Instead, the text of the complaint presents the standards for evaluating an Eighth Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. The filing contains few factual allegations. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 6-7.) Prior to his incarceration in 2010, Plaintiff had experienced kidney failure. (ECF No. 8.) He avers that "Staff never said anything about until approximately Two (2) years into incarceration and again Two (2) years later being in August of 2014...." ( Id. ) According to an unsworn statement by Plaintiff, which is attached to the complaint as Exhibit I, "Northwest some time, around this time, or earlier, tested the same, Chronic Kidney Failure', in 2012. However, Northwest has Hence, ' Refused to Properly Medicate' for the diagnoses." (ECF No. 1-9 at PageID 33 (emphasis omitted).)[4] Also in that statement, Plaintiff asserts that, in August 2014, "[t]he allegedly Doctor" met with him to discuss treatment options. The doctor wanted to transfer Plaintiff to another facility for treatment. Although Plaintiff does not explicitly say so, it appears that he objected to a transfer. ( Id. ) Plaintiff asserts that

[t]he allegedly doctor had the inmate patient to sign an "AMA" (what ever that is) shifting the burden to the patient, "instead of treatment" for that failure.
Inmate Patient later, after the signing of that August 2014 "AMA" revoked that "AMA" because it is the responsibility of N.W.C.X. to properly treat a patient.

( Id. (emphasis omitted); see also ECF No. 8 (same).)[5]

Plaintiff's statement also says that his condition causes his breath to sometimes have an "uncontrollable order [sic], " which presumably means a bad odor. (ECF No. 1-9 at PageID 33.) As a result, Plaintiff has experienced harassment from some staff members and inmates. ( Id. ) Plaintiff was issued a write-up and lost his job in the prison kitchen. (ECF No. 8.)[6] On August 14, 2014, Plaintiff filed a grievance against Inmate Relations Coordinator Stacy Leake, who is not a party to this action, for allegedly behaving unprofessionally by placing her hand over her mouth and making a gagging gesture in response to Plaintiff's odor. (ECF No. 8; ECF No. 1 at PageID 7.) That grievance was resolved adversely to Plaintiff. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 7.) Plaintiff also complains that the NWCX serves drinks that use sodium saccharin as an artificial sweetener. ( Id. at PageID 6.) Plaintiff "believes that the named above products may be causing the hence condition along with the deliberate indifference to a prisoner's Serious Medical Needs being ignored by Medical Staff at N.W.C.X." ( Id. )

The prayer for relief does not specify the nature of the relief that Plaintiff seeks. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 11.) He aks for the "relief that is applicable and/or necessary to perform the mandatory duties of the Court, Local Constitution, State Constitution, United States Constitution and the laws thereof." ( Id. (emphasis omitted).)

Since the filing of his complaint, Plaintiff has submitted additional exhibits and other documents that presumably are intended as amendments to the complaint. Those exhibits are intended to supplement, rather than to supersede, the original complaint. On November 20, 2014, Plaintiff submitted a document, titled "Additional Pleading to Original Filing, " that addressed the legal standards for evaluating his claims. (ECF No. 9.) On November 25, 2014, Plaintiff submitted Exhibit L to his complaint, consisting of his affidavit that was sworn to on September 21, 2012. (ECF No. 10.)

On December 15, 2014, Plaintiff submitted Exhibits N, O and P to his complaint.[7] Exhibit N is another copy of Exhibit I, Plaintiff's unsworn statement dated August 30, 2014. (ECF No. 13.) Exhibit O, titled "AMA Notice by Christi Gregory, RN/DON, " is a notice to inmates who sign up for sick call and then decide they do not want to be seen. (ECF No. 13-1.) Exhibit P consists of documents pertaining to a write-up Plaintiff received on December 25, 2012, for arriving to work with a bad odor and in dirty clothing. (ECF No. 13-2.)[8] On January 30, 2015, Plaintiff filed Exhibits Q and R to his complaint. Exhibit Q consists of an information request, dated January 12, 2015, that received a response on January 15, 2015. (ECF No. 16.) Exhibit R consists of a letter to Plaintiff, dated January 6, 2015, from the Tennessee Department of Health in response to the letter to Mike Gaines. (ECF No. 16 at PageID 123-125.) The significance of Exhibits Q and R is not explained. On February 4, 2015, Plaintiff filed Exhibits I and J.[9] The new Exhibit I is a set of documents pertaining to a grievance Plaintiff filed in late 2014. (ECF No. 17.) The new Exhibit J is a collection of documents about a grievance another inmate filed pertaining to the alleged early closing of the medication line. (ECF No. 17-1.) The complaint contains no factual allegations about new Exhibits I and J.

The Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion ...

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