United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division
JESSIE N. SHARP, Plaintiff,
MAURY COUNTY JAIL, et al., Defendants.
WILLIAM J. HAYNES JR., United States District Judge.
Jessie N. Sharp, an inmate at the Maury County Jail in
Columbia, Tennessee, filed this pro se action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against the Defendants: Maury County Jail, Debra
Wagonschutz, and Bucky Rowland. Plaintiff asserts a claim for
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs under
the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff requests that the jail pay
the cost of Hepatitis C medication and additional unspecified
money damages. Before the Court is Plaintiff s application to
proceed in forma pauperis. (Docket Entry No. 2).
Plaintiffs complaint (Docket Entry No. 1) is also before the
Court for an initial review pursuant to the Prison Litigation
Reform Act ("PLRA"), 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2) and 1915A, and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e.
to his complaint, in August 2015, Plaintiff tested positive
for Hepatitis C on a routine screening at the Maury County
Jail. (Docket Entry No. 1, Complaint, at 5). Plaintiff
alleges that he was taken to Maury Regional Hospital to visit
a doctor who told Plaintiff about a medication for Hepatitis
C that costs approximately $1, 000.00. Id. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant Wagonschutz told Plaintiff that the
Jail would not pay for the medication because the treatment
was "elective." Id. Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant Wagonschutz told Plaintiff that he would have to
pay for this medication in advance. Id. Plaintiff
alleges that the Defendants' refusal to provide
medication placed his life at risk. Id.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court must conduct an
initial review of any complaint filed in forma
pauperis, and dismiss the complaint if it is facially
frivolous or malicious, if the complaint fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. In
reviewing the complaint, "a district court must (1) view
the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff
and (2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as
true." Tackett v. M & G Polymers. USA. LLC.
561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v.
Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir, 2009)). A prose
pleading must be liberally construed and is "held to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus. 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (citing Estelle v. Gamble. 429 U.S. 97, 106
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff
"must set forth facts that, when construed favorably,
establish (1) the deprivation of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States (2) caused by a
person acting under the color of state law." Burley
v. Gagacki, 729 F.3d 610, 619 (6th Cir. 2013).
detainees and convicted prisoners have a right to adequate
medical care under the Fourteenth and Eighth Amendments.
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104. Deliberate indifference to
a prisoner's serious medical needs "constitutes the
'unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain'" to
violate the Eighth Amendment. Id. (quoting Gregg
v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 173 (1976)). A claim for a
jailor's failure to address a prisoner's serious
medical need has objective and subjective requirements.
McCarthy v. Place. 313 F.App'x 810, 813 (6th
Cir. 2008) (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511
U.S. 825, 833 (1994)). The objective component is a
"serious medical need" that is a condition
"that has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating
treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay person
would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's
attention." Villegas v. Metro. Gov't of
Nashville, 709 F.3d 563, 570 (6th Cir. 2013) (quoting
Harrison v. Ash, 539 F.3d 510, 518 (6th Cir. 2008)).
Defendant Wagonschutz, the mere existence of a Hepatitis C
infection is not necessarily a "serious medical
need" warranting treatment, such that the failure to
provide treatment automatically violates the Eighth
Amendment. See Hix v. Term. Dep't of Corr., 196
F.App'x 350, 357 n.l (6th Cir. 2006) ("[H]epatitis C
does not require treatment in all cases."). Plaintiffs
complaint does not allege that the Maury Regional Hospital
doctor prescribed or recommended this course of treatment.
the subjective component, deliberate indifference
"entails something more than mere negligence, " but
can be "satisfied by something less than acts or
omissions for the very purpose of causing harm or with
knowledge that harm will result." Farmer, 511
U.S. at 835. This standard requires proof that the defendant
knew that the inmate faced a substantial risk of serious harm
and disregarded that risk by failing to take reasonable
measures to abate it; "the official must both be aware
of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a
substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also
draw the inference." Id. at 834, 837. Plaintiff
does not allege plausible facts that the Defendants are aware
of a substantial risk to his life, if the physician or other
provider did not recommend this medication.
Defendant Maury County Jail, a jail is not a
"person" subject to an action under §1983.
See Watson v. Gill 40 F.App'x 88, 89 (6th Cir.
2002); Travis v. Clinton Cntv. Jail No.
1:10-cv-1276, 2011 WL 447000, at *2 (W.D. Mich. Feb. 4, 2011)
("The jail is a building, not an entity capable of being
sued in its own right."). As to Defendant Rowland,
Plaintiff does not allege any personal involvement in the
decision to deny his treatment. Supervisory capacity does not
make a defendant liable for an employee's actions under
§ 1983. Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312,
325 (1981) (requiring personal involvement in violation for
liability under § 1983). The Sixth Circuit has explained
that liability under § 1983 "must be based on more
than respondeat superior, or the right to control employees.
Thus, a supervisory official's failure to supervise,
control or train the offending individual is not actionable
unless the supervisor 'either encouraged the specific
incident of misconduct or in some other way directly
participated in ...