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Woods v. Obion County

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division

May 29, 2019

ANTHONY LEE WOODS, Plaintiff,
v.
OBION COUNTY, ET AL., Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, CERTIFYING AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND NOTIFYING PLAINTIFF OF APPELLATE FILING FEE

          JAMES D. TODD, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On February 12, 2018, Plaintiff Anthony Lee Woods, who at the time of filing was a federal pretrial detainee at the Obion County Jail (Jail) in Union City, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) On March 8, 2018, after Woods fully complied with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2), (ECF No. 6), the Court issued an order granting leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessing the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 7.) Woods also moved for the appointment of counsel, (ECF No. 8), which the Court denied. (ECF No. 11.) The Clerk shall record the Defendants as Obion County, Tennessee; Captain Darryl Davis; Jennifer Shirley, Medical Officer; and Kelsey Crockett.

         Woods alleges that he suffers from heart disease, specifically dilated cardiomyopathy. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) Using the Jail's kiosk system, he requested his medical records from Jackson Madison County General Hospital, but Officer Shirley allegedly told Woods the Hospital did not have his records and that there was nothing she could do for him. (Id.) Woods alleges that Shirley lied to him, and he grieved Shirley's response to Captain Davis, who scheduled Woods an appointment to see a doctor. (Id.) Woods's grievances show that Shirley eventually printed a medical release form for Woods to sign so his records would be sent to the Jail. (ECF No. 9 at PageID 33.) Woods claimed in that grievance that he believed he was “the victim of medical negligence.” (Id.)

         At his appointment with the doctor, Woods was prescribed medication, which he eventually stopped taking because it allegedly caused him to “lose consciousness.” (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) Woods also underwent an EKG and had blood drawn but never heard anything about the results of the tests. (Id. at PageID 3.) Since the appointment, Woods alleges he has “been in fear of the Medical treatment” at the Jail. (Id.) He states that he has a “deformed chest that is imparted into [his] internal organs” and causes him pain daily, but he has not been prescribed any pain medication. (Id.) He alleges that he also needs an MRI “to see the damage that is being done to my internal organs” from his heart condition, which requires reevaluating. (Id.) Woods alleges that, without his medical records, he is not receiving proper treatment. (Id.) He also alleges in a conclusory manner that “the staff members are attempting to cover this up.” (Id.)

         Woods also contends that he is being debited “medical fees” from his inmate trust account without his knowledge or consent. (Id.) Woods told Defendant Crockett that the fees were illegal and demanded to be reimbursed. (Id. at PageID 3-4.) Crockett allegedly responded that federal inmates must pay Obion County a medical fee. (Id. at PageID 4.) Woods agrees with the premise but only if notice and a consent form have first been given, and he alleges they were not. (Id.) Crockett also allegedly refused to give Woods a copy of his inmate trust fund account but said she would send it to the Court if it was requested specifically by the Court itself. (Id.) She also allegedly refused to give Woods copies of his grievance forms. (Id.) Woods further alleges Captain Davis told Woods that he “just need[s] to drop this” but does not specify to what Woods believes Captain Davis was referring. (Id.)

         Woods requests that the Court order Obion County to return the money taken from his inmate trust account, transfer him to another facility, and provide him copies of his grievances and trust fund account information. (Id. at PageID 5.)

The Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the complaint__
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         In assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the standards under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), as stated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009), and in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007), are applied. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). The Court accepts the complaint's “well-pleaded” factual allegations as true and then determines whether the allegations “plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.'” Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681). Conclusory allegations “are not entitled to the assumption of truth, ” and legal conclusions “must be supported by factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Although a complaint need only contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), Rule 8 nevertheless requires factual allegations to make a “‘showing,' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3.

         “Pro se complaints are to be held ‘to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,' and should therefore be liberally construed.” Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (quoting Martin v. Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)). 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); see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 Fed.Appx. 608, 612, 613 (6th Cir. Jan. 31, 2011) (affirming dismissal of pro se complaint for failure to comply with “unique pleading requirements” and stating “a court cannot ‘create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading'” (quoting Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975))).

         Woods filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer's judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was ...

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