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Boldon v. Claiborne County Detention Center

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee

September 19, 2017




         Acting pro se, Scotty Boldon, a prisoner housed in the Claiborne County Detention Center (“CCDC”) in New Tazewell, Tennessee, brings this pro se civil rights complaint for monetary and declaratory relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [Doc. 2]. Defendants are the facility itself; Dr. Rose, a physician who treats CCDC inmates; Larry Martin, Jail Administrator; Wayne Lee Rhea; and Teresa Coffey, a CCDC nurse [Id.]. Plaintiff claims that Defendant officers and medical care providers at the CCDC have denied him necessary emergency medical services and treatment, causing him to suffer emotional and mental stress and deteriorating health [Id. pp. 3-6].

         Plaintiff has also filed a letter motion seeking appointed counsel [Doc. 6], in which he reiterates his prior contentions of medical mistreatment and contends that the mistreatment described in his complaint is continuing to occur.


         In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff must establish that he was deprived of a federal right by a person acting under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); see also Braley v. City of Pontiac, 906 F.2d 220, 223 (6th Cir. 1990) (“Section 1983 does not itself create any constitutional rights; it creates a right of action for the vindication of constitutional guarantees found elsewhere.'). As with all prisoners' complaints, the Court must review Plaintiff's pleading to determine whether it states a claim entitling him to relief, is frivolous or malicious, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A. If the Court concludes that Plaintiff's claims fall within one of these categories, this suit must be dismissed. In performing this task, the Court bears in mind the rule that pro se pleadings filed in civil rights cases must be liberally construed and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).

         Still, the complaint must be sufficient “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007), which simply means that the factual content pled by a plaintiff must permit a court “to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The Court does not determine whether Plaintiff ultimately will prevail, but instead whether the facts permit it to infer “more than the mere possibility of misconduct, ”-a type of “context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 679. The standard articulated in Twombly and Iqbal “governs dismissals for failure state a claim under [§§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)] 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).

         The Court examines the claims offered by Plaintiff under these guidelines.


         A. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff's pleading is redundant and seemingly contradictory in places, but the Court has interpreted the allegations therein as best as it can. Three claims and a sub-part of a fourth claim relate to Plaintiff's medical care at the CCDC and the remaining sup-part of the fourth claim concerns his living conditions in the holding cell [Doc. 2 pp. 3-6]. In the first claim, labeled as “Denial of Emergency Medical Services and Treatment, ” he maintains that unidentified guards told Jail Administrator Larry Martin and Wayne Lee Rhea not to give him medical attention [Id. at 3-4]. For nearly one month in May and June, in some unidentified year, Plaintiff was refused treatment when the bottom number on his blood pressure measurement would go over 110 [Id. at 4]. Plaintiff maintains that he, his wife, and either his or his wife's sister, who is an “Enidogist” and retired military physician, have documentation showing that the nurse, the doctor, and CCDC officials had notice of his blood pressure problems, but that they nonetheless “left [him] to die” [Id.].

         In his second claim, Plaintiff alleges that he sometimes was refused medications and, other times, was given medications that he was not supposed to take [Id.]. (Plaintiff does not say that, to his detriment, he ingested medications he was not supposed to take.) Plaintiff further alleges that some unidentified individual refused to comply with orders from the Emergency Room to send him to his kidney and liver doctor, that his appointments were cancelled, and that he thereby was denied medical care [Id.].

         In Plaintiff's third claim, he asserts that he was housed in a holding cell 24 hours a day that lacked a shower facility and, for days, that it lacked water [Id.]. Plaintiff also asserts that, on orders of the jail administrator and other officials, Dr. Rose and the nurse neglected his right to medical care [Id.].

         The fourth claim reiterates that Plaintiff is being denied medical treatment and adds these allegations: My “treatment and medical services as well as mental request [sic] are and have been neglected denied and refused” and “[n]ow “they won't even check my blood pressure” [Id. at 5]. Plaintiff asserts that his kidney function has dropped from 39% to 30% and that he has had no response when his blood pressure rises to critical levels, going as high as 168, when normally that number is 130 to 150 on the bottom [Id.].

         Plaintiff alleges that, after he exchanged correspondence with the American Civil Liberties Union, the Tennessee Department of Correction, and the United States Marshals Service, he was taken to the Emergency Room twice and that he was taken once to have a blood test performed to monitor his kidney function. However, Plaintiff maintains that this treatment was perfunctory and to “no avail” [Id.].

         Plaintiff contends that, because of the lack of medical treatment, his health is deteriorating and that he has passed out twice, once hitting his head and once breaking a tooth [Id.]. Plaintiff charges that Defendants gave him too little or too much medication and again iterates that they ignored, neglected, and refused him medical attention and services [Id.].

         Plaintiff's motion for appointed counsel [Doc. 6], filed some four months after his complaint, presents supplemental allegations involving his medical care. In the “allegations” part of the motion, Plaintiff asserts that his medical needs are still being ignored, that his medications are being given improperly, and that he has proof of negligence on the part of the jail administration, Dr. Rose, and the jail nurse, Teresa.

         Finally, Plaintiff requests that he be awarded compensatory and punitive damages; that criminal proceedings be initiated against Defendants, if such charges are warranted under the circumstances; and that Defendants admit that they were intentionally neglectful toward him [Doc. 2 at 7].

         B. ...

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