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Young v. Centurion

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

June 30, 2017

TIMOTHY YOUNG, Plaintiff,
v.
CENTURION; TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION; JASON WOODAL, Deputy Commissioner of Operation; JAMES HOLLOWAY, warden; STANLEY DICKERSON, AWO; NATALIE VOSS, nurse and health administrator; DR. WILLIAM CONWAY; DR. JORGE BENITEZ, director; ALISHA HURDLE, RN/ADON; JASON GILBERT, grievance chairperson; JOHN AND JANE DOE; Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING CLAIMS, CERTIFYING AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND NOTIFYING PLAINTIFF OF APPELLATE FILING FEE

          S. THOMAS ANDERSON, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On October 26, 2016, Plaintiff Timothy Young, who is currently incarcerated at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center in Hartsville, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, accompanied by a motion to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF Nos. 1 & 2). Plaintiff initiated his suit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, though his complaint concerns events alleged to have taken place at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary in Henning, Tennessee. In an order (ECF No. 4) issued November 1, 2016, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division, granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis, assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b), and transferred the case to this Court.

         The Clerk shall record the defendants as Centurion, Tennessee Department of Correction (“TDOC”), TDOC Deputy Commissioner of Operations Jason Woodall, Former WTSP Warden James Holloway, WTSP Former Assistant Warden Stanley Dickerson, Dr. William Conway, Dr. Jorge Benitez, Nurse Alisha Hurdle, Nurse Natalie Voss, [1] and Grievance Chairperson Jason Gilbert.[2]

         BACKGROUND

         Young alleges that on January 18, 2015, he got sick and was bedridden until January 23, 2015. At that time Young was taken to the infirmary. Dr. Benitez examined Young and diagnosed him with kidney stones. Dr. Benitez gave Young antibiotics and pain medication and sent him back to the pod to “pass the stone.” (Compl. at ¶¶ 11 & 12, see also Grievance No. 312565, ECF No. 2 at 5-12.) On January 26, 2015, Young again went to the infirmary and was kept overnight; however, he was not examined by medical staff. (Id. at ¶ 13.) On January 27, 2015, Nurse Chisolm, who is not a party to this complaint, performed tests on Young and sent him to the Lauderdale County Community Hospital. There, an ER doctor advised Young he was extremely sick and sent Young to the ICU unit at Mayberry Medical Hospital. (Id. at ¶ 14.) According to Young, a doctor at Mayberry told him his kidneys had shut down. (Id.) On February 28, 2015, Young was moved from ICU to the seventh floor of the hospital for observation and therapy, and on February 6, 2015 he was sent to Lois DeBerry Special Needs Facility and taken off all medications. (Id. at ¶¶ 15 & 16.) On February 7, 2015, Young was given over the counter Tylenol and Colace. On February 9, 2015, Young saw a nurse-practitioner who ordered bed rest and advised Young he would not change Plaintiff's medication or order a wheelchair. On February 11, 2015, a Dr. Nwozo, who is not a party to this action, ordered Tylenol with codeine for Young and cleared him to return to WTSP on February 20, 2015. (Id.at ¶¶ 18-20.) On February 24, 2015, Young saw Dr. Benitez who ordered Young a wheelchair, a walker, and a two-week supply of Ensure, though Young claims he was denied the Ensure. (Id. at ¶ 22.)

         On May 18, 2015, Young filed a grievance against Centurion, TDOC, and WTSP for deliberate indifference and alleged that Dr. Benitez had misdiagnosed him. Young specifically alleged Benitez knew or should have known Young's condition could worsen, potentially causing renal failure and ultimately placing Young's life at risk. (Id. at ¶ 23.)

         Young further alleges he was denied due process by Defendants Voss, Gilbert, Dickerson, and Woodall regarding their response to grievance number 312565. Specifically, Young alleges denial of his due process on three separate occasions: (1) on September 1, 2015, when Defendant Voss filed a fraudulent response to Young's grievous and stated that Young was seen and diagnosed as having possible kidney stones prior to a lab report being received (Id. at ¶ 24, see also Ex. L, ECF No. 2 at 15); (2) on September 10, 2015, when Defendant Gilbert deemed Young's grievance to be “inappropriate/medical [diagnosis] (see Ptf's Exhibit A)” and September 15, 2015, when Defendant Dickerson responded by agreeing with Defendant Gilbert's assessment, (Id. at ¶ 25, see also Ex. J., ECF No. 2 at 13); and (3) on October 21, 2016, when Defendant Woodall concurred with the Supervisor (Id. at ¶ 26, see also Ex. M., ECF No. 2 at 16), presumably Defendant Gilbert.

         Based on these factual allegations, Young seeks an injunction ordering regular laboratory testing and regular evaluation by a kidney specialist, with subsequent treatment as advised by the specialist, as well as compensatory and punitive damages against Defendants. (Id. at p. 4-5.)

         SCREENING 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 court applies standards under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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). 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 (citing Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325, 328-29 (1989)).

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 “judges 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 ...

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