United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division
KEN D. PARRISH, Plaintiff,
ARVIL CHAPMAN, et al., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. CLIFTON KNOWLES, Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the Court upon two Motions to Dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6): the first, filed by Defendants Derrick Schofield, Jason Woodall,  and Brandon Maloney (collectively referred to as "TDOC Defendants")(Docket No. 36); and the second, filed by Defendants Avril Chapman, Danny Dodd, Daniel Pritchard, Gene Maples, Clarence Potts, Michael Parrish, Rhonda Staggs, Jessica McElroy, and Leigh Staggs (collectively referred to as "SCCF Defendants")(Docket No. 38). Both Motions are supported by accompanying Memoranda of Law. Docket Nos. 36-1, 39.
Plaintiff has not responded to either Motion.
Plaintiff filed this pro se, in forma pauperis action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that all Defendants violated his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Docket No. 1. Plaintiff sues the following people in their individual and official capacities: (1) Arvil Chapman, Warden of South Central Correctional Facility ("SCCF"); (2) Derrick Schofield, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction ("TDOC"); (3) Jason Woodall, Commissioner of Operations; (4) Brandon Maloney, TDOC Director of Classification; (5) Danny Dodd, Assistant Warden of SCCF; (6) Daniel Pritchard, Assistant Warden of SCCF; (7) Gene Maples, Classification Coordinator at SCCF; (8) Clarence Pott, Chief of Unit Management at SCCF; (9) Michael Parrish, SCCF Unit Manager; (10) Rhonda Staggs, Case Manager at SCCF; (11) Jessica McElroy, Senior Correctional Officer/Assistant Grievance Chairperson at SCCF; and (12) Leigh Staggs, Senior Correctional Officer/Grievance Chairperson at SCCF. Id. Plaintiff avers essentially that he is being held involuntarily in protective custody at SCCF in violation of numerous TDOC policies and his constitutional rights, and that, to no avail, he has reported to each Defendant that he is not in fear of his life, that he wants to be housed in the general population, and that he wants to participate in Jail programs, work, and earn good time credit. Id. He argues that "the involuntary placement in protective custody without due process under conditions indistinguishable from punitive segregation and excessive use of confinement violated [his] rights and constituted cruel and unusual punishment and due process violation under the 8th and 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution." Id.
Plaintiff avers that although he repeatedly reported his desire to be housed in the general population, none of the Defendants helped him, and he contends that Defendants used any excuse they could to deny his grievances or simply failed to respond to his letters. Id. Plaintiff further avers that there were "many day[s]" that he was "denied showers and recreation and cleaning supples [ sic ], mainly do to short of staff." Id. He additionally avers that he suffers from back aches, severe neck pain, and muscle spasms "from lack of exercise, " and that he has requested medical care "through-out his confinement" but has "received no treatment for his physical injuries." Id. Finally, Plaintiff avers:
Plaintiff is mentally and emotionally distress for being confined against his will involuntary on protective custody and being treated as a punitive segregated inmate. The Plaintiff suffers from depression, anxiety, and sleep impairment. Plaintiff has occasional had thoughts of suidied [ sic ] from being stuck in a cell for over six month with no way out but end up crying himself to sleep from being so depressed. Plaintiff has made numberous [ sic ] request to speak with someone from mental health about his mental health needs but has got no response. Plaintiff have not seen a mental health doctor in over 5 months.
Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief and injunctive relief; compensatory damages and punitive damages; costs; that he be released from protective custody and placed in general population and/or be transferred; that he be permitted to participate in programs, work and earn inmate pay, and earn good time credit; that TDOC policies be enforced; any other relief the Court deems just, proper, and appropriate; and "involuntary on protective custody without due process under conditions indistinguishable from punitive segregation, excessive confinement, physical injuries and mental and emotional distress, against each' defendant." Id. (Underlining original.)
As an initial matter, during the Court's frivolity review, Judge Haynes dismissed Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment Due Process claims and Eighth Amendment claims arising from his placement in protective custody and from the conditions of his confinement in protective custody. Docket Nos. 4, 5. Plaintiff's only remaining claims, therefore, are his Eighth Amendment claims for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Id.
Additionally, the undersigned notes that, although Plaintiff's claims relate solely to events that allegedly occurred during his confinement at SCCF, Plaintiff is no longer housed at SCCF; he was transferred to the Morgan County Correctional Complex on August 20, 2014. Docket No. 3. Because Plaintiff is no longer housed at SCCF, Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief should be DENIED as MOOT. See, e.g., Kensu v. Haigh, 87 F.3d 172, 175 (6th Cir.1996).
With regard to the Motions now before the Court, the TDOC Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claims against them should be dismissed because Plaintiff does not allege that they were personally involved in any alleged violations of Plaintiff's constitutional rights or were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Docket No. 36-1. Specifically, the TDOC Defendants note that the only mentions of them in Plaintiff's Complaint are that Defendant Maloney, as the TDOC Director of Classification, sent Plaintiff to SCCF, and that Plaintiff wrote letters to Defendants Schofield and Woodall as part of a grievance seeking his removal from protective custody. Id. The TDOC Defendants argue that, absent allegations of their personal involvement, Plaintiff cannot sustain his Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claims against them. Id. The TDOC Defendants also note that Plaintiff cannot impose liability upon them because of their supervisory positions within the TDOC, as respondeat superior is not a basis for imposing liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Id. The TDOC Defendants additionally argue that Plaintiff's claims against them must be dismissed because such claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Id. With regard to the official capacity claims against them, the TDOC Defendants argue that these claims must be dismissed because they are not "persons" under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Id.
The SCCF Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claims against them should be dismissed because Plaintiff's Complaint fails to allege that: (1) any SCCF Defendant actively participated or was personally involved in the alleged deliberate indifference to his medical needs; and (2) to the extent that the Court may construe Plaintiff's allegations to be a complaint against the medical grievance procedures, such claim does not fall within the purview of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Docket No. 39.
For the reasons discussed below, the undersigned recommends that Defendants' Motions to Dismiss be GRANTED, and that this action be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
II. Allegations of Plaintiff's Complaint Pertaining to Each Specific Defendant and to His Alleged Denial of Medical Care
The allegations of Plaintiff's Complaint pertaining to each specific Defendant, and his alleged denial of medical care, in their entirety, are as follows:
A. Defendant Chapman, SCCF Warden
Plaintiff sent Defendant Chapman a letter on June 26, 2014, but Defendant Chapman did not respond to Plaintiff's concerns.
B. Defendant Schofield, TDOC Commissioner
Plaintiff sent Defendant Schofield letters on June 26, 2014, July 28, 2014, but Defendant Schofield did not respond to Plaintiff's letters.
C. Defendant Woodall, Commissioner of Operations
Plaintiff sent Defendant Woodall a letter on July 28, 2014.
D. Defendant Maloney, TDOC Director of Classification
Defendant Maloney sent Plaintiff to SCCF. Plaintiff sent Defendant Maloney a ...