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Pugliese v. Parker

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

June 12, 2019

TONY PARKER, ET AL., Defendants.



         On September 7, 2018, Plaintiff Daniel Pugliese, who is incarcerated at the Northwest Correctional Complex (NWCX) in Tiptonville, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. (ECF No. 1.) After Pugliese filed the required financial information, (ECF Nos. 4 & 5), U.S. District Judge William J. Campbell issued an order on September 27, 2018, granting leave to proceed in forma pauperis, assessing the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b), and transferring Pugliese's compliant to this district. (ECF No. 6.) On October 19, 2018, Pugliese filed an amended complaint, which appears to supplement, rather than supersede, his original complaint. (ECF No. 10.) The Clerk shall record the Defendants as Tony Parker, Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) Commissioner; Dr. First Name Unknown (FNU) Conway; Centurion Medical Corporation; Christi Gregory, Medical Director; and the NWCX.

         Pugliese alleges that Commissioner Parker has, on several occasions, refused his request to be housed at “DSNF hospital unit” for his “severe muscle loss, deformed knees, partial blindness, ” and other medical issues.[1] (ECF No. 1 at PageID 1.) He alleges that Defendant Parker “should have housed me at DSNF, long ago.” (Id. at PageID 1-2.) Pugliese asserts that he is instead still at the NWCX, where Defendant Gregory refuses him “medical help, ” including “[E]nsure for muscle loss, ” “a wheelchair, ” “vitamins, ” “help for muscle loss, ” and medication for his “anemic condition” and for glaucoma. (Id. at PageID 2.) Pugliese insists Defendant Gregory refuses him treatment and medication because Pugliese is a “mental patient” and “medical hates mental patients.” (Id.) Pugliese alleges that Centurion and Dr. Conway also “refuse to get me help for these issues, and they were notified many times[] about it.” (Id.)

         In his amended complaint, Pugliese names only the NWCX as a Defendant and alleges that on October 6, 2018, he made a medical complaint about pain in his left shoulder, right bicep, and right hip. (ECF No. 10 at PageID 6-7.) He alleges that “the medical staff” is inadequate and incorrectly told him nothing was wrong. (Id. at PageID 7.)

         Pugliese asserts his claims against the Defendants in their official and individual capacities. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) He seeks $10 million in damages and requests that the Defendants be fired from their positions. (Id. at PageID 3.)

         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))).

         Pugliese 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 . . . .

         To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) a deprivation of rights secured by the “Constitution and laws” of the United States (2) committed by a defendant acting under color of state ...

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