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Taylor v. D.C.S.O.

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

June 19, 2018

SETH TAYLOR, #331874, Plaintiff,
D.C.S.O, et al., Defendants.



         Seth Taylor, 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 the D.C.S.O. (Davidson County Sheriff's Office), Sheriff Darren Hall, and Warden Harold Taylor, alleging violations of the Plaintiff's civil rights based on a recent outbreak of scabies at the facility. (Doc. No. 1). As relief, the Plaintiff seeks “to be compensated for pain and suffering, and mental damages sustained during [his] time of incarceration.” (Id. at 6).

         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 federal claims 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

         According to the complaint (Doc. No. 1) and the supplement to the complaint filed by the Plaintiff on October 25, 2017 (Doc. No. 3), the Plaintiff was exposed to scabies[1] while incarcerated at the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility in Nashville, Tennessee. The complaint alleges that, when the Plaintiff sought treatment for small bed rumps “inflamed with pus” in October of 2016, a nurse prescribed the Plaintiff a hydrocortisone cream and told him that he was experiencing an allergic reaction to wool, despite his insistence that he was suffering from scabies or bed bites. (Id. at 1). After using the prescribed cream for weeks and receiving no relief, the Plaintiff sought additional medical treatment for his worsened symptoms. The complaint alleges that the Plaintiff's condition had become so severe that he was “literally scratching [his] skin off . . . .” (Id. at 2). The Plaintiff filed several medical complaints because he could not sleep comfortably, and he experienced problems urinating due to the severe itching.

         In December of 2016, an outside physician visited the facility, examined the Plaintiff, and diagnosed him with scabies. He prescribed pills for the Plaintiff, who was then isolated from the other inmates. Over the course of the next four weeks, the Plaintiff was treated two or three additional times for scabies.

         IV. Analysis

         The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution imposes upon a county an obligation to provide its inmates with reasonably adequate food, clothing, shelter, sanitation, recreation, and medical care. See Grubbs v. Bradley, 552 F.Supp. 1052, 1119-24 (M.D. Tenn. 1982). The failure to provide such necessities is a violation of an inmate's right to be ...

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