United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville
GEORGE M. COOK, Plaintiff,
SOUTHERN HEALTH PARTNERS, FRANCHESKA SHOWN, DEXTER LUNCEFORD, and ERIC TRIVETT, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RONNIE GREER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff's pro se amended complaint for
violation of civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
[Doc. 5]. On November 15, 2017, the Court screened
Plaintiff's original complaint and found that “the
Court [was] unable to properly screen Plaintiff's
complaint in compliance with the PLRA [Prison Litigation
Reform Act], because the precise nature of his claims [were]
unclear.” [Doc. 4 at 4]. The Court then granted
Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint
“specifying a full description of his claim, the
personal involvement of each Defendant, and the grounds for
relief” [Id.]. Plaintiff then filed an amended
complaint on December 29, 2017 [Doc. 5].
amended complaint must also be screened to determine whether
it states a claim entitling Plaintiff to relief, or 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. For the reasons discussed below,
Defendants Dexter Lunceford (“Lunceford”) and
Eric Trivett (“Trivett”) will be
DISMISSED. Accordingly, this action will
proceed only as to Plaintiff's claims of medical
deliberate indifference under the Eighth Amendment against
Defendants Francheska Shown (“Shown”) and
Southern Health Partners (“SHP”).
amended complaint, Plaintiff brings suit against Defendants
SHP, Shown, Lunceford, and Trivett [Doc. 5 at 1]. Plaintiff
asserts that he is not being treated for his mental health
issues, as medical staff at the Carter County Jail, including
Defendant Shown, have stated that they cannot treat Plaintiff
until they obtain copies of his medical records [Id.
at 4]. However, Plaintiff claims that medical staff at the
jail have stated that they are unable to obtain his medical
records [Id.]. Plaintiff alleges that he has wrote
to SHP complaining about his lack of medical treatment, and
has filed several sick calls with the medical staff at the
jail, including Defendant Shown [Id.]. Additionally,
Plaintiff claims that he filed several grievances with
Defendant Trivett, the Carter County Jail administrator, and
appealed the denial of these grievances to Defendant
also claims that Defendants Trivett and Lunceford violated
his constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment by placing Plaintiff in lock down for thirty days,
and taking his “sheet bleak-matt for 12 and a half
hours a day” [Id. at 5]. Plaintiff requests
damages for his pain and suffering, for the Court to issue an
order requiring SHP and Defendant Shown to provide him with
mental health medication, as well as for the Court to appoint
him an attorney [Id.].
the PLRA, district courts must screen prisoner complaints and
sua sponte dismiss those that are frivolous or
malicious, fail to state a claim for relief or are against a
defendant who is immune. See Benson v. O'Brian,
179 F.3d 1014, 1015-16 (6th Cir. 1999) (“Congress
directed the federal courts to review or ‘screen'
certain complaints sua sponte and to dismiss those
that failed to state a claim upon which relief could be
granted [or] . . . sought monetary relief from a defendant
immune from such relief.”). The dismissal standard
articulated by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and in Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554 (2007) “governs
dismissals for failure to state a claim under [28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A] 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 an initial review
under the PLRA, 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). However, “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, 561
F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v.
Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations
§ 1983 Standard
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
establish that he was deprived of a federal right by a person
acting under color of state law. Black v. Barberton
Citizens Hospital, 134 F.3d 1265, 1267 (6th Cir. 1998);
O'Brien v. City of Grand Rapids, 23 F.3d 990,
995 (6th Cir. 1994); Russo v. City of Cincinnati,
953 F.2d 1036, 1042 (6th Cir. 1992); 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."). In other
words, a plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show: (1)
the deprivation of a right, privilege, or immunity secured to
him by the United States Constitution or other federal law;
and (2) that the individual responsible for such deprivation
was acting under color of state law. Gregory v. Shelby
Cty., 220 F.3d 433, 441 (6th Cir. 2000).
Mental Health Treatment
alleges that he was denied mental health treatment, in that
Defendants Shown and SHP failed to provide him with his
mental health medication [Doc. 5 at 4]. Failure to provide
medical care, including care for mental health conditions,
may give rise to a violation of a prisoner's rights under
the Eighth Amendment. See Comstock v. McCrary, 273
F.3d 693, 703 (6th Cir. 2001). An Eighth Amendment claim is
composed of two parts: an objective component, which requires
a plaintiff to show a “sufficiently serious”
deprivation, and a subjective component, which requires him
to show a sufficiently culpable state of mind-one of
“deliberate indifference.” Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). However, a prisoner
whose claims are based on a theory of medical negligence has
not stated a claim under § 1983 because medical
malpractice is not a constitutional violation. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-06 (1976). Additionally, no
claim is stated where some medical treatment is provided, and
the dispute is over the adequacy of such treatment. See
Westlake v. Lucas, 537 F.2d 857, 860 n.5 (6th Cir.
1976). For example, “[w]hen a prison doctor provides
treatment, albeit carelessly or inefficaciously to a
prisoner, he has not displayed a deliberate indifference to
the prisoner's needs, but merely a degree of incompetence
which does not rise to the level of a constitutional
violation.” Comstock, 273 F.3d at 703.
inmate “who suffers pain needlessly when relief is
readily available has a cause of action against those whose
deliberate indifference is the cause of his suffering.”
Berryman v. Rieger, 150 F.3d 561, 566 (6th Cir.
1998) (citing Boretti v. Wiscomb, 930 F.2d 1150,
1154-55 (6th Cir. 1991)); see also Estelle, 429 U.S.
at 103 (holding the “denial of medical care may result
in pain and suffering which no one suggests would serve any
penological purpose”). “When prison officials are
aware of a prisoner's obvious and serious need for
medical treatment and delay medical treatment of that