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Hamby v. Benitez

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

March 23, 2017

DR. BENITEZ, ET AL., Defendants.



         On May 6, 2016, Plaintiff William Davidson Hamby, Jr. (“Hamby”), an inmate who is currently incarcerated at the Morgan County Correctional Complex (“MCCX”), in Wartburg, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. (ECF No. 1.) The original complaint concerns Hamby's previous incarcerations at the Deberry Special Needs Facility (“DSNF”) in Nashville, Tennessee and the West Tennessee State Penitentiary (“WTSP”) in Henning, Tennessee. On May 23, 2016, U.S. District Judge Richard G. Andrews transferred the case to this district. (ECF No. 4.) After Hamby filed the necessary documentation, the Court granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 14.)

         In the original complaint, Hamby sued WTSP physician Dr. Benitez;[1] DSNF physician Dr. Molly O'Toole; WTSP Nurse Sanders; Corizon Health, Inc. (“Corizon”);[2]and the unknown Chief Medical Officer at the WTSP. (ECF No. 1 at 2.) However, on June 3, 2016, Hamby filed a motion to amend to remove Defendants Sanders and Benitez from this action. (ECF No. 5.) On March 21, 2017, the Court granted that motion. (ECF No. 61 at 2.) The March 21 order also addressed Hamby's numerous other pending motions (id. at 2-6), severed the claims concerning his incarceration at the DSNF and transferred them to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee (id. at 6-7), and also severed the claims concerning Hamby's incarceration at the MCCX, transferring them to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee (id. at 7-8). Thus, the only remaining claims in this case are any claims against Defendant Corizon Health arising from Hamby's incarceration at the WTSP.[3]

         I. The Complaint

         In the original complaint, Hamby alleged that after he was transferred from the DSNF to the WTSP his health deteriorated because Defendant Corizon's employees acted with racial bias and neglect in the provision of medical services, resulting in him receiving no doctor's help and no medication. (ECF No. 1 at 1.) Specifically, Hamby alleges he was denied treatment for hepatitis C and coccidioidomycosis (“Valley Fever”) and was denied medications for neuropathy and high cholesterol. (Id. at 2.) Hamby further alleges that he suffers from stage 3 hepatitis C, neuropathy, and has had multiple documented injuries and surgeries. (Id.) He contends that the lack of medical care at the WTSP caused him pain and suffering which constituted cruel and unusual punishment, yet white inmates were assisted. (Id. at 3.)

         Hamby seeks both monetary compensation and injunctive relief. (Id.)

         II. Analysis

         A. Screening and Standard

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

(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 Atlantic 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. Any complaint that is legally frivolous would ipso facto fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Hill, 630 F.3d at 470 ...

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