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Dawson v. Corecivic, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

September 12, 2017

LEWIS Y. DAWSON, JR., # 153733, Plaintiff,
v.
CORECIVIC, INC., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Lewis Y. Dawson, Jr., an inmate of the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility in Nashville, Tennessee, filed this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against CoreCivic, Inc., and Warden Charlie Peterson, alleging violations of his civil rights. (Doc. No. 1). As relief, the Plaintiff seeks monetary and injunctive relief. (Id. at 9).

         The complaint is before the Court for an initial review pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

         I. PLRA Screening Standard

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss any portion of a civil complaint filed in forma pauperis that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, is frivolous, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Section 1915A similarly requires initial review of any “complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity, ” id. § 1915A(a), and summary dismissal of the complaint on the same grounds as those articulated in § 1915(e)(2)(B). Id. § 1915A(b).

         The Sixth Circuit has confirmed that the dismissal standard articulated by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), “governs dismissals for failure to state a claim under those statutes because the relevant statutory language tracks the language in Rule 12(b)(6).” Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). Thus, to survive scrutiny on initial review, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[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, 561F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted)).

         Although pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991), the courts' “duty to be ‘less stringent' with pro se complaints does not require us to conjure up [unpleaded] allegations.” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979) (citation omitted).

         II. Section 1983 Standard

         Plaintiff brings his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 creates a cause of action against any person who, acting under color of state law, abridges “rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws . . . .” To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege and show two elements: (1) that he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) that the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law. Tahfs v. Proctor, 316 F.3d 584, 590 (6th Cir. 2003); 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         III. Alleged Facts

         Plaintiff alleges that, on April 26, 2017, while an inmate of the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility, he slipped and fell due to standing water on the floor on his way from the dayroom area to his cell. He injured his left ankle, right knee, and right toe when he fell. According to the complaint, “CoreCivic's carelessness in the matter resulted in [the Plaintiff's] slip and fall.” (Doc. No. 1 at 5). After his fall, the Plaintiff requested medical attention and a transfer to a bottom bunk as he was having difficulty getting off and on to his top bunk.

         The following day, the Plaintiff was examined and treated by Nurse f/n/u Gleen who ordered x-rays of the Plaintiff's knee and ankle. She ordered the Plaintiff a knee brace and released him with a prescription for Naproxen 500 mg tablets. On April 28, 2017, the Plaintiff's knee and ankle were x-rayed. On May 9, 2017, the Plaintiff received additional Naproxen tablets. He requested his x-ray results and doctor's notes on June 15, 2017, but he was not provided with either; however, a “medical staff rep” told the Plaintiff that he had a “broken and fractured knee cap.” (Id. at 8). To date, he is experiencing severe pain and has not been transferred to a bottom bunk. He believes that he should have been prescribed stronger medication for pain. (Id.)

         IV. Analysis

         First, Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants' “carelessness” (Doc. No. 1 at 5) caused or contributed to his slip and fall and resulting injuries. He also alleges that he was denied timely and proper medical care for the injuries he sustained when he fell. The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution imposes an obligation to provide prisoners with reasonably adequate food, clothing, shelter, sanitation, recreation, and medical care. Grubbs v. Bradley, 552 F.Supp. 1052, 1119-1124 (M.D. Tenn. 1982). The failure to provide such necessities is a violation of an inmate's right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Bellamy v. Bradley, 729 F.2d 416 (6th Cir. 1984). To establish a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights, a plaintiff must show that prison officials acted with deliberate indifference in violating the plaintiff's constitutional or civil rights. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Brooks v. Celeste, 39 F.3d 125, 127 (6th Cir. 1994). The United States Supreme Court has held that deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain proscribed by the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). A claim of deliberate indifference under the Eighth Amendment has both an objective and subjective component. Rouster v. Cnty. of Saginaw, 749 F.3d 437, 446 (6th Cir. 2014). A plaintiff satisfies the objective component by alleging that the prisoner had a medical need that was “sufficiently serious.” Id. (quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511 ...


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