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Maze v. Terrell

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

April 14, 2015

PAUL DAVID MAZE, Plaintiff,
v.
RENEA TERRELL, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO SUPPLEMENT (ECF No. 27) ORDER OF DISMISSAL ORDER CERTIFYING APPEAL NOT TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH ORDER DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL AND ORDER IMPOSING SANCTIONS UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g)

JAMES D. TODD, District Judge.

On July1, 2014, Plaintiff Paul David Maze, inmate number XXXXX-XXX, who is confined as an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Greeneville, Illinois, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § l983. (ECF No. 1.) On July 9, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking leavel to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 5.) On July 14, 2014, the Court granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessed the civil filing fee. (ECF No. 6.) The Clerk shall record the defendants as Nurse Practitioner Renea Terrell, Nurse Shelly McKnight, Officer Barbara Crowell, the Zoloft Company, and Obion County.[1]

On July 24, 2014, Plaintiff filed a supplement to his complaint. (ECF No. 15.) On August 7, 2014, Plaintiff filed a second supplement. (ECF No. 18.) On April 6, 2015, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to supplement the complaint with a third supplement. (ECF No. 27.) The motion for leave to supplement the complaint is GRANTED.

Plaintiff Maze was previously confined at the Obion County Jail. (ECF No. 1.) Because of the multiple supplements, it is necessary for the Court to summarize Plaintiff's allegations. Plaintiff alleges that, for nine to ten months during his incarceration at the Obion County Jail, Defendant Nurse Shelly McKnight treated him with a prescription for Zoloft. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Renea Terrell would not provide him with any information about the side effects of Zoloft. Plaintiff did his own research and found "all kinds of helpful information" that helped him to "identify certain symptoms" from which he suffered. (ECF No. 15 PageID 57.) Plaintiff then self-diagnosed himself with every possible side effect and possible allergic reaction. Plaintiff complained of these symptoms to Defendant Terrell, who advised him that "she was [his] doctor" and that he did not need to see another doctor because there was nothing wrong with him and he was not having an allergic reaction. (ECF No. 15 at PageID 60.) Defendant Terrell told Plaintiff his problems were due to his history of alcohol and drug abuse. (Id. ) Plaintiff believes that Defendant Obion County Jail Officer Barbara Crowell conspired with Defendants Terrell and McKnight to prevent him from receiving additional medical treatment. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) Plaintiff received a medical examination after he was transferred to the West Tennessee Detention Facility. (ECF No. 18-1 at PageID 83.) The doctor recommended a neurologic evaluation for spasticity of the lower extremities. (Id. ) Plaintiff's x-rays were interpreted as demonstrating early arthritic changes normal for his age. (Id. at PageID 85.) Plaintiff is now confined at the FCI Greeneville and, after medical evaluation, the Health Services Department denied Plaintiff's request for additional consultation and testing, stating that medical staff would monitor his situation through chronic care visits and sick call. (ECF No. 27-1 at PageID 107.) While Plaintiff has not been diagnosed with any side effect or allergic reaction due to Zoloft, he believes that the use of the drug "could cause severe life-threaten[ing] injuries to his body and health, both physically and internally." (ECF No. 1-1 at PageID 9.) He seeks compensatory damages.

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

(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 Atl. 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) (alteration in original). "[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. See Neitzke [ v. Williams ], 490 U.S. [319, ] 325, 109 S.Ct. at 1827 [(1989)]. Any complaint that is legally frivolous would ipso facto fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See id. at 328-29, 109 S.Ct. 1827." Hill, 630 F.3d at 470.

Whether a complaint is factually frivolous under §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) is a separate issue from whether it fails to state a claim for relief. Statutes allowing a complaint to be dismissed as frivolous give Ajudges not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint=s factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.@ Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327, 109 S.Ct. 1827 (interpreting 28 U.S.C. § 1915). Unlike a dismissal for failure to state a claim, where a judge must accept all factual allegations as true, Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50, a judge does not have to accept Afantastic or delusional@ factual allegations as true in prisoner complaints that are reviewed for frivolousness. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327-28, 109 S.Ct. 1827.

Id. at 471.

" Pro se complaints are to be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ' and should therefore be liberally construed." Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (quoting Martin v. Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)). Pro se litigants and prisoners are not exempt from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. As the Sixth Circuit has explained:

Before the recent onslaught of pro se prisoner suits, the Supreme Court suggested that pro se complaints are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972) (per curiam). Neither that Court nor other courts, however, have been willing to abrogate basic pleading essentials in pro se suits. See, e.g., id. at 521, 92 S.Ct. at 596 (holding petitioner to standards of Conley v. Gibson ); Merritt v. Faulkner, 697 F.2d 761 (7th Cir.) (duty to be less stringent with pro se complaint does not require court to conjure up unplead allegations), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 986, 104 S.Ct. 434, 78 L.Ed.2d 3366 (1983); McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16 (1st Cir.1979) (same); Jarrell v. Tisch, 656 F.Supp. 237 (D.D.C. 1987) ( pro se plaintiffs should plead with requisite specificity so as to give defendants notice); Holsey v. Collins, 90 F.R.D. 122 (D. Md. 1981) (even pro se litigants must meet some minimum standards).

Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989); see also Brown v. Matauszak, No. 09-2259, 2011 WL 285251, at *5 (6th Cir. Jan. 31, 2011) (affirming dismissal of pro se complaint for failure to comply with "unique pleading requirements" and stating "a court cannot create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading'") (quoting Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975)) (alteration in original); Payne v. Secretary of Treas., 73 F. App=x 836, 837 (6th Cir. 2003) (affirming sua sponte dismissal of complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) and stating, "[n]either this court nor the district court is required to ...


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