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Reeves v. Correctional Corporation of America

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

May 15, 2018




         The plaintiff Octavian D. Reeves, proceeding pro se, filed a civil complaint against defendants Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), Nurse Cynthia Pratt and Nurse Scott. (ECF No. 1.) Before the court are the plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF Nos. 2, 8) and his Motion to Appoint Counsel (ECF No. 5). In addition, his 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, and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e.


         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), a prisoner bringing a civil action may be permitted to file suit without prepaying the filing fee required by 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). Because it appears from the plaintiff's submissions that the plaintiff lacks sufficient financial resources from which to pay the full filing fee in advance, the application (ECF Nos. 2, 8) will be granted.

         However, under § 1915(b), the plaintiff nonetheless remains responsible for paying the full filing fee. The obligation to pay the fee accrues at the time the case is filed, but the PLRA provides prisoner-plaintiffs the opportunity to make a “down payment” of a partial filing fee and to pay the remainder in installments. Accordingly, the plaintiff will be assessed the full $350 filing fee, to be paid as directed in the accompanying order.


         A. Factual Allegations

         In his complaint, the plaintiff alleges that the defendants knowingly withheld psychotropic medication from him and as a result, he became unstable and violent, injuring himself and others. Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that on September 15, 2016, Scott Schuch gave him a 90 day prescription for Prozac for his depression. (ECF No. 1 at Page ID# 4.) On October 3, 4 and 5, 2016, defendants CCA and Pratt failed to give the plaintiff his Prozac. (Id.) On October 5, 2016, the plaintiff filled out an emergency sick call form because he was not receiving his medication, but he did not receive a response from the mental health department. (Id.) On October 11, 2016, defendant Scott came to the plaintiff's unit but she gave the plaintiff the wrong medicine. (Id.) On October 14, 2016, the plaintiff filled out another emergency sick call form because he was not given his Prozac on October 10 or 11, 2016. (Id.)[1] Again, he did not receive a response. (Id.) The plaintiff alleges that CCA, Pratt and Scott have repeatedly failed to ensure that Plaintiff is provided with his prescribed psychotropic medication on a daily basis despite knowing that he needs this medication due to his serious mental health issues. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that the defendants' abrupt discontinuation of his stabilizing medications has caused a “significant disruption” in the plaintiff's life and prevents him from functioning in the general population “without disturbing or endangering others or himself.” (Id.) As an example, the plaintiff alleges that on October 20, 2016, the plaintiff was depressed because he was not being given his medication and as a result, he climbed a razor wire fence and jumped over the fence. (Id.)

         The plaintiff alleges that on June 16 and 17, 2017, the defendants failed to ensure that he received his prescribed medication. (Id.) The plaintiff alleges that this has been an on-going problem since he arrived at TTCC. Additionally, he alleges that because of the defendants' conduct, his mood has been unstable, which has disrupted his daily functioning and prevented him for being housed in the general population. The plaintiff alleges that because he has routinely by denied his psychotropic medication, on October 23, 2017, the plaintiff punched another inmate multiple times on the right side of his head. The plaintiff alleges that he has never refused the daily dose of his psychiatric medication and that such medication is essential to his mental health care.

         As relief, the plaintiff seeks money damages, an injunction and a declaratory judgment.

         B. Standard of Review

         If an action is filed in forma pauperis, “the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action . . . fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). In assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the court applies the standards under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as construed by Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007). See Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding that “the dismissal standard articulated in Iqbal and Twombly governs dismissals for failure to state a claim under [§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)] because the relevant statutory language tracks the language in Rule 12(b)(6)”). “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.”).

         The court must construe a pro se plaintiff's complaint liberally, Boag v. McDaniel, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982), and accept the plaintiff's allegations as true unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992); see also Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (recognizing that “[p]ro se complaints are to be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, and should therefore be liberally construed.” (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).) Pro se litigants, however, are not exempt from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989). The court is not required to create a claim for the plaintiff. Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975); see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 Fed.Appx. 608, 613 (6th Cir. 2011) (“[A] court cannot create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); Payne v. Sec'y of Treas., 73 Fed.Appx. 836, 837 (6th Cir. 2003) (affirming sua sponte dismissal of complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) and stating, “[n]either this court nor the district court is required to create Payne's claim for her”).

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the federal Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009). Because ยง 1983 is a method for vindicating federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself, the first step in an action under ...

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