United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division
WILLIAM J. HAYNEX JR. Senior United States District Judge
Morris Rucker, an inmate at the South Central Correctional
Facility ("SCCF") filed this pro se action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against the Defendants: Cherry Lindamood,
f/n/u Frank, Jane Doe Nurses, "Centennial Med. Ctr
Employees, " Dr. Ron Wilson, and Corizon Medical
Services. Plaintiff asserts claims for deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs, racial
discrimination, and retaliation. Plaintiff requests
"immediate health care, " including
"appropriate/effective medications" as well as an
injunction from retaliation by SCCF officials. Plaintiff also
seeks money damages.
to his complaint, Plaintiff suffers from chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease ("COPD"). (Docket Entry No. 1,
Complaint, at 6). On May 5, 2016, Plaintiff alleges that he
was placed in SCCF's clinic for observation and
experienced difficulty breathing, shortness of breath,
wheezing, and coughing. Id. at 7. Plaintiff alleges
that he was given breathing treatment, but "did not have
the right inhaler." Id. On May 29, 2016,
Plaintiff alleges that he was again placed in the SCCF clinic
for observation and experienced difficulty breathing,
coughing, and wheezing. Id. at 8. Plaintiff alleges
that Defendant Frank, a nurse practitioner, ordered SCCF
Nurse Harville not to give Plaintiff a rescue inhaler, but he
was provided breathing treatment. Id. On June 1,
2016, Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Coble examined Plaintiff and
prescribed a rescue inhaler for Plaintiff. Id.
11, 2016, Plaintiff alleges that a pulmonary physician
specialist at Meharry Hospital Clinical Services examined
Plaintiff and recommended that Plaintiff "continue
spirva advir ventolin inhalers and breathing treatment
3x's per day as needed." Id. at 6.
Plaintiff alleges that the recommended treatment "worked
favorably" until My 16, 2016, when Plaintiffs inhaler
ran out. Id. Plaintiff alleges that he asked SCCF
Nurse Keeon when his inhaler would be refilled, and she
responded that "it could take up to 3 weeks because
Corporate Office had to approve it." Id. at
6-7. Plaintiff alleges that he was forced to use a less
effective breathing treatment while waiting for his inhaler
prescription to be refilled. Id. at 7.
17, 2016, Plaintiff alleges that he filed a "Title 6
Complaint" against SCCF Nurse McClain for being
disrespectful and referring to Plaintiff as "boy."
Id. at 7-8. Plaintiff alleges that this complaint
and another complaint against Nurse McClain are missing as a
retaliatory measure for Plaintiffs filing complaints.
Id. at 8.
22, 2016, Plaintiff alleges that all of his prescribed
medications expired and that Defendant Frank told SCCF Nurse
Robertson that Plaintiffs medications were intentionally not
renewed. Id. at 7. According to his complaint,
Plaintiff "took the statement to mean that [Defendant]
Frank was discriminating against [him] ."Id.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Frank made "derogatory
comments" about Plaintiff. Id.
27, 2016, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Frank "defied
Dr. Coble's orders and refused to renew [his] blood
pressure medications." Id. at 8.On My 28, 2016,
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Frank issued an order
directing the other nurses not to give Plaintiff breathing
treatment unless his oxygen "fell below 90."
Id. at 7. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
Frank's "directive [was] in direct contradiction to
what the specialist recommended, " because the
specialist recommended that all nurses check Plaintiffs vital
signs and listen to his lungs to determine if he were
wheezing. Id. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant
Frank told other nurses that Plaintiff was faking shortness
of breath and that Plaintiff was "using too must
medication in his nebulizer." Id. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant Frank's actions were
"negligent and discriminatory due to [Plaintiffs]
August 2, 2016, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Frank
refused to renew Plaintiffs "breathing med singler"
and placed Plaintiff on medications that caused Plaintiff
adverse gastrointestinal side-effects. Id. at 8.
alleges that he is "being denied access to the grievance
procedure" and is therefore "forced  to continue
to  seek medical service from inferior nurses who are
abusive, incompetent and neglectful." 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 the complaint is
facially frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or if it 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.3d461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009)). A pro se
pleading must be liberally construed and "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).
names Corizon Medical Services ("Corizon") as a
Defendant in this action. Defendant Corizon, a private
medical-care provider, may be subject to a § 1983 action
as an entity that provides medical care to individuals in
state custody. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 54
(1988) (holding that a private medical provider contracted to
provide medical care to state prisoners is a state actor for
purposes of § 1983). Yet, Defendant Corizon cannot be
liable solely on the basis of respondeat superior.
McQueen v. Beecher Cmty. Sch., 433 F.3d460, 470 (6th
Cir. 2006). To state a viable claim against Corizon,
Plaintiff must allege plausible facts that he suffered an
injury caused by an official policy or custom of Defendant
Corizon. Thomas v. Coble, 55 F.App'x 748, 749
(6th Cir. 2003) (citing Monell v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978)). Here, Plaintiff
alleges that as a result of an official Corizon policy or
custom on approving certain medications, Plaintiff did not
receive the treatment recommended by a physician. Thus, the
Court concludes that Plaintiff states a plausible claim
against Defendant Corizon.
Defendants Lindamood and Wilson, Plaintiff does not allege
specific facts about any of these Defendants' conduct or
omissions that is required to state a viable claim. Dunn
v. State of Tennessee, 697 F.2d 121, 128 (6th Cir.
1982). Thus, Plaintiffs claims against Defendants Lindamood
and Wilson should be dismissed.
Plaintiffs allegations of retaliation, Plaintiff alleges that
he submitted two complaints against Nurse McClain that were
later missing in retaliation for Plaintiffs filing his
complaints. Prisoners have a First Amendment right to
petition the state for redress of grievances, Noble v.
Schmitt87 F.3d 157, 162 (6th Cir. 1996) (citations
omitted), but a conclusory allegation of retaliation,
standing alone, is insufficient to state a claim.
LaFountain v. Harry, 716 F.3d 944, 949 (6th Cir.
2013) (citing Bishop v. Lucent Techs., Inc., 520